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Monday, March 7, 2011

Shine - Lauren Myracle

Released May 2011

Lauren Myracle's Shine is an amazing piece of fiction. It's not horribly fast-paced, yet it moves along nicely. You really have time to understand the characters and the situation. However, I will warn that this is not an easy read. It's extremely emotional. Perhaps more so if teens read the newspaper or watch the news. The fact is that the story told in Shine could happen in any town at any time. It's scarily realistic.

Cat's sixteen and sadly has experienced a little too much in life. When her best friend is found badly beaten and tied to a gas pump with the gas nozzle stuck down his throat, Cat is horrified. It's a terrifying hate crime that police are not solving fast enough. As a result, Cat decides to do some sleuthing. Her investigations worry her brother, especially when the town's meth problem comes to light. No one wants to talk and someone definitely wants Cat to stop snooping. Cat's determined to learn the truth, but at what cost?

This is certainly a tearjerker. Because I know hate crimes of this nature really do happen, I found myself immersed in Cat's investigation. Like Cat, I was outraged and felt the truth needed to come out. Her investigative skills may need some work, but her determination rings true from start to finish. She's a tough cookie and one that doesn't back down easily.

With bullying at the forefront of many teenager's minds, and hate crimes filling the headlines, events in Shine will seem like they've come straight out the news. The book is a very real look at everything that's wrong in today's society. I highly urge teens and parents to read and discuss the book together.

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