Lauren Myracle’s Shine starts off with a bang. The first few pages are of a newspaper article focusing on the brutal beating of Patrick, a gay high school student. After reading the “article” I couldn’t help but be taken back several years to the headlines surrounding the beating of Matthew Shepard, and I immediately found myself drawn into the story.
Sixteen-year-old Cat used to be best friends with Patrick. One day, three years ago, Cat withdrew from her friends after an unfortunate run-in with one of her brothers friends. Now that Patrick is lying in a coma, Cat decides she needs to do the right thing, and feels she owes it to Patrick to find out who did this to him.
Patrick & Cat live in a very small town in the mountains of North Carolina. The people are poor, white trash, “clannish”, some of them drug dealers and meth heads, and most of them quite backwards in their ways of thinking. The local sheriff doesn’t want to believe that someone from the town would do this, but Cat thinks differently. During her investigation into what happened, Cat is forced to reconnect with old friends (and enemies) to find out who would do such a thing to Patrick, and most importantly, find out why.
The author paints each character with depth and precision. Having grown up in a small town, it wasn’t hard for me to buy into the characters or the situations presented in the novel at all. This book kept me up late as I raced to finish it, and left me thinking about it long afterward. The copy I read was an advance copy from NetGalley, but I will definitely be going out to buy the hardcover version as soon as it is released. This one deserves a spot on my shelf.