Pages: 350 (hardcover)
Published: May 2011 by Amulet Books
Recommended for: everyone who doesn't mind sensitive topics-- highly recommended
Shine is an unforgettable novel indeed. The story unfolds in Black Creek, a clandestine and drug-ridden small town in the mountains of North Carolina-- very close to home for me. Cat has slowly retreated from her community... even from her best friend since before she could walk-- Patrick. Patrick who, like Cat, was determined to be a survivor of the hopeless void of their hometown. Patrick who was found beaten and strung to a gas station pump with homophobic words of hate carved into his chest.
Now Patrick is in a coma, and doctors wonder if he will ever emerge from it the way he once was. Cat returns from her long self-imposed exile to hunt down the perpetrator-- because though the local sheriff thinks out-of-towners are responsible for the vicious gay-hate crime, Cat doesn't believe it for a second. She searches the ranks of her one-time friends, digging deep into the darkness of the crooked little town for clues as to who did this to Patrick and why. What she finds I doubt anyone could predict ahead of time.
Though this book is a mystery, it's a subtle one. Myracle masterfully focuses in on all the gritty secrets and details of Cat's town-- its more unsavory inhabitants as well as its more admirable ones-- and still she manages to show us the brightness shining through everything, even the horrible events which unfolded prior to the story's opening. I'd never heard the quote at the beginning of the book before: 'You are the light of the world.' But I think it fits the novel perfectly, as does the cover with its intriguing mixture of light and darkness. This is one you will be likely be thinking of long after you turn the final page. A highly atmospheric chiaroscuro of small and epic proportions alike, I highly recommend Shine.
Plot: 5/5Overall Rating: 5/5