When Cat’s best friend
Patrick gets beat with a baseball bat, duck taped to a gas hose, and left for
dead, Cat sets out to solve the mystery of who perpetrated this hate crime. She
has to. She owes it to Patrick for how she treated him ever since they started
high school; plus Patrick’s coma means he can’t speak for himself. Cat’s
backwoods community is small enough to have everybody in everybody’s business.
Sure, there’s lots of gossip and there’s lots of negative talk against Patrick’s
choice to be open about being gays, but could one of their own have actually done
this to Patrick? That’s what Cat wants to figure out in this YA mystery, SHINE (Abrams) by Lauren Myracle.
Myracle is a genius of craft. She perfectly paced the story along, and kept
me guessing, speculating, and riveted on each page turn. Her characters are
interesting, diverse, and real.
If I were in Cat’s
small town, I’d probably gossip about what happened with Myracle and the
National Book Awards. I’d tell you that when the National Book Awards were
announced, the committee accidentally named Shine
on the list of nominees for the award in Young People’s Literature. Myracle
graciously removed her name from the list as soon as the error was revealed. I imagine
she must have realized one of the worst possible nightmares an author can
experience…and she came out Shine-y. Good things can come out of nightmares, and
it did when it comes to Shine’s sales figures. Whenever I see Chime (the
actual nominee) listed in Amazon or Barnes and Noble, I notice statistics show that
those who purchased Chime also purchased Shine. It’s human nature to want to
judge if the committee got it right, or if they should have stuck with Shine. I’m
not going to do that here. But I will say that Shine was an
amazing read, and had the error not occurred, it probably wouldn’t have registered
on my book radar. I guess the saying is true: all press is good press.
“Oh, it felt good! To hell with that--it felt frickin'
glorious. This book, Shine, this book that my beloved editor and I had
bled our souls into, had been declared--to the world--one of the best of the
And then, two hours later, came a
concerned email from a journalist friend. "So what do you think of the Chime/Shine mix-up?" she asked.
"The..." My gut clenched.
"Excuse me, what?"
"Oh dear," she wrote back.
"Perhaps you should do some Googling. And Lauren? I am so sorry."
In the New
York Times it was written that: “At Ms. Myracle’s
urging, the National Book Foundation will make a $5,000 donation to the
Matthew Shepard Foundation, which advocates for gay youth,
promoting dignity and acceptance.”
Unwithdrawn Praise for Shine
eventually uncovers the truth in a cliffhanging climax in which she confronts
fear, discovers that love is stronger than hate and truly ‘shines.’ Raw,
realistic and compelling.” –Kirkus Reviews
“The page-turning mystery
and Cat’s inspiring trajectory of self-realization will draw readers in and
give them plenty to ponder.” –The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s
“Dramatic in both content and presentation.” –Los Angeles Times
“Myracle captures well the regret that many feel for things in their past about
which they are ashamed. Cat’s reflections on these moments are spot-on.” –School
Harry N. Abrams, 04/01/2011
Recommended Reading Level
Minimum Age: 14
Minimum Grade Level:
Maximum Grade Level: Up