Review: Shine by Lauren Myracle

The Details

Publisher: Amulet Books
Published:  May 1st, 2011
Genres:  YA, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, LGBT+, Mystery
My Rating: 5 Stars

8928054GoodReads Blub

When her best guy friend falls victim to a vicious hate crime, sixteen-year-old Cat sets out to discover who in her small town did it. Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery mines the secrets of a tightly knit Southern community and examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone you know in the name of justice.

Against a backdrop of poverty, clannishness, drugs, and intolerance, Myracle has crafted a harrowing coming-of-age tale couched in a deeply intelligent mystery. Smart, fearless, and compassionate, this is an unforgettable work from a beloved author.

My Review

This is a book about being “different” in a small town. It’s a story about what being gay in a small town with deep-seated bigotry is like. This book is raw and heartbreaking. What happens to Patrick, the best friend of the main character is terrible, and it’s doubly terrible because it doesn’t take place now, and we still see things like what happened to  Patrick happening. I’m a little older than the average YA reader (well, the intended audience of a YA reader), so I remember seeing what happened to Matthew Sheppard on the news and watching those Dateline stories. What happened to Patrick is very close to what happened there, and it’s terrifying to think that things like that still happen.

Shine doesn’t glamourize southern-ness if that makes sense. It doesn’t paint a picture of the whitewashed, clean, version I think comes to mind when people think of the south. It’s not big houses and old ladies sitting on porch swings drinking sweet tea. It’s dirty and shows that there are terrible things happening.

This book was hard to read because of how raw and emotional it was as Cat tries so hard to figure out how and why this happened to Patrick since it seems like no one else cares. In order for her to do that, she has to go into herself and learn to be honest with herself and speak up for herself in ways she never thought she could. There are a lot of things that could trigger people within it.

Cat is something. Cat is a great character. The importance of being true to yourself and speaking the truth even when it’s hard or scary or has consequences is developed throughout the whole book.

I found this book amazing, and I highly recommend it. I would recommend that anyone looking to read it, look into the trigger warnings, there is sexual assault, homophobia, and a bunch of other topics that I know make some things extremely hard, or impossible to read. However, this book is great. Myracle did something wonderful with this book and her characters. I have never read a book like it, and I doubt I ever will again.


Until next time Internet,



Personal note: I know I’ve been lacking a little with my blogging. Late May and Early June are difficult times for me, which if you’ve been following my posts I’m sure you caught. I will be falling back into my regular blogging schedule this week.  Thank you for following my blog and liking and commenting. Happy Reading!

2 thoughts on “Review: Shine by Lauren Myracle

  1. I’d forgotten about this book, it’s been so long since I read it. I remember being devastated and feeling lonely as I was reading it. I’m working on The Miseducation of Cameron Post right now, and I’m having some of the same feelings I did when I read Shine.

    Can you think of any books where being gay in a small town isn’t a terrible thing? Just curious.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately, no. I hate to say it but I haven’t been the most diverse reader– I’m working to change that, but it’s true. I’m sure there are good books about being gay in a small town, but I haven’t found one yet.

      Liked by 1 person

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