Tuesday, November 29, 2011


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.

Description:  Lauren Myracle really knows how to place the reader in the scene.  Her use of description adds an emotional element that I think many attempt  and few achieve.  I mean, the entire opening is description.  Most of the time, that's an immediate turn off for me.  But with Shine, I was drawn in to each beautiful word and found myself yearning for more.  There were times I did feel a little bogged down, but overall, I learned a lot about description with this book. (Score: 9/10)

Narrative:  A lot of Shine happens inside the main character Cat's head.  This made for an emotional read, but sometimes I found myself a little lost in flashbacks.  For the most part, Lauren Myracle, really made the transitions easy but there were a few blips on my radar, especially toward the end.  I am a fast reader and details sometimes escape me, but I really think in this situation it was the style that threw me off.  I can say that I learned about narrative from reading Shine and enjoyed it more often than not. (Score: 8/10)

Dialogue:  Shine is set in the south, so Lauren Myracle really has to depend on dialect.  She does it really well. I found myself lost in the language and even desiring to speak in the drawl of the the characters. (It made my family crazy! LOL) Dialogue is an area of Shine that was very easy to read and enjoyable. I'm not from the south-so maybe I'm not a good judge-but to me,  the conversations felt real and authentic. (Score: 10/10)

Characterization: Cat, the main character, was very well developed as well as Patrick-a sort of absent but still important character.  I really felt I knew them.  The other, secondary characters, sometimes felt vague, contrived and/or predictable.  THAT said-I think it's important to note Shine is written in first person.  That person is troubled with an altered vision of those around her.  She's unreliable.  So, as a novice writer, I'm left to wonder if what I'm feeling toward the secondary characters is what Lauren Myracle intended. Considering how well the book was written, I'm betting this was the case. (Score: 10/10)

Resolution: I didn't like the ending of Shine.  I wanted to like it, but, well, nope, it didn't happen.  I loved the book right up to the "matchbook" clue. (I use this term to avoid a spoiler for those who haven't read it.) At that point, things quickly escalated to outlandish.  All the typical tasks were performed, all loose ends wrapped up, but it didn't feel as authentic as the beginning. (Score: 8/10)

I devoured shine.  I sucked in the words quickly and with tears in my eyes.  So, I really hate to say this, but I was disappointed in the ending.  I believe in love and that it saves all, but in this case it just didn't develop that way.  I also believe in forgiveness, seeing the story from the other person's perspective, however, in Shine I almost got the sense that bad behavior was justified.  I felt sad and let down.  There was tons of action, that's for sure, but I found it distracting and a little disturbing.  Maybe others feel differently or maybe that's what the author intended.  If so...well, good. I appreciate other view points and think they should be shared. So, I'd recommend this book to teen both teen boys and girls, because both of the important topics need to be discussed.  I rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.     

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