Lauren Myracle’s Shine is a departure from much of her other writing. Starting off with a news article about a hate crime in which a gay teen is beaten, tied up, and left with a gas hose shoved down his throat, this book wastes no time in getting to the heart of matters.While the teen is in a coma, his former friend Cat turns Nancy Drew and takes it upon herself to find out who hurt Patrick.
Set in a small, conservative, religious Appalachian town, Shine‘s setting is a character unto itself, packed with poverty, substance abuse, and small-minded hatred that fill this book with darkness. At times, the sheer intensity makes reading slow as molasses, but at other times the beauty truly shines through and it’s hard to put the book down. Shine is a character-driven, internal book, much of it involving Cat recollecting her friendships and experiences in her small town, so if you read this after Divergent (like I did) don’t expect the same kind of fast-moving plot.
Myracle’s newest book made me ache from the very beginning, and while it was tough for me to read, I’m glad I saw it through to its resolution.