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,

 

Deanna

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!

Review: The Bermudez Triangle / On the Count of Three by Maureen Johnson

This is the same book that for some reason was renamed. The copy I have is called The Bermudez Triangle, so that’s what I will call it, but it is currently titled On The Count of Three

The Details:

 

270363       17165219

The Details:

Publisher: Razorbill
Published: October 6, 2015
Genres: Romance, Young Adult, LGBT+
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Goodreads Blurb:

What happens when your two best friends fall in love…with each other?

“Their friendship went so far back, it bordered on the Biblical — in the beginning, there was Nina and Avery and Mel.” So says high school senior Nina Bermudez about herself and her two best friends, nicknamed “The Bermudez Triangle” by a jealous wannabe back on Nina’s eleventh birthday. But the threesome faces their first separation when Nina goes away the summer before their senior year. And in ten short weeks, everything changes.

Nina returns home bursting with stories about Steve, the quirky yet adorable eco-warrior she fell for hard while away. But when she asks her best friends about their summer romances, an awkward silence follows.

Nina soon learns the shocking truth when she sees Mel and Avery…kissing. Their friendship is rocked by what feels like the ultimate challenge. But it’s only the beginning of a sometimes painful, sometimes funny, always gripping journey as three girls discover who they are and what they really want.

My Review:

Being honest, I haven’t read a lot of books with queer characters. I haven’t actively avoided them or anything, I just haven’t read them. From what I understand, there is a lack of LGBT+ books, especially in YA. However, this book is good and also happens to have a story that centers around sexual identity and accepting yourself. There are some things that 12 years later read much more problematic than it did in 2005, but I still think it captures figuring out who you are when you are 17.

A great deal of the story is about the friendship between the three girls. Can it survive, firstly, a huge secret as Mel and Avery hide their relationship that started over the summer while Nina was at smart camp and, also, the break-up?

Each girl goes through a complete transformation through the story, which I think is a brilliant part of the book. I could have been very easy to focus just on Avery’s journey as I think her’s is the biggest, but Johnson chose to write a rotating narrative that highlights each of the girls.

Reading Mel’s discovery of her sexuality was powerful, hers is a story of self-discovery and acceptance of herself.

Nina’s is a story of learning to see people, especially people close to her differently than she had before. She needs to accept chance and learn that even though people seem different, they are fundamentally the same.

Avery, oh Avery,  her story is so complex, and it’s with hers that some of the now problematic storylines lay. She doesn’t want to label herself, which I loved, but I can see how some could find it problematic. Johnson talked about this a little in a Twitter conversation years ago, and I couldn’t find it. Mostly because it was in, like, 2010 and if you don’t follow Maureen on Twitter,  you don’t understand the sheer volume of tweets she has.

This book also does a deep dive into female friendships. Out of all of Johnson’s books, I think this one does the best at exploring how girls relate to each other. Female friendships are complex and hard to quantify. I thin that she does an amazing job showing the different sides of those kinds of relationships.

Overall, I loved this book. I found it just really compelling and a quick read overall. Most of Maureen Johnson’s books are quick fun reads, this one is rather deep for her line of work. I recommend highly.

Maureen Johnson is my favorite author, I’ll be writing more about her on Thursday if you want to know more about that.

Until next time Internet,

Deanna