Tag Archives: small towns

Shine by Lauren Myracle


This was an extraordinary and haunting book. Cat and Patrick had been best friends all their lives, growing up in a tiny town in the hills of North Carolina. When Cat is 13, she suffers a sexual assault, and withdraws from everyone in her life, including Patrick. Therefore, she watches from the sidelines as he enters high school and is tormented daily for being gay.

Three years later, Patrick is attacked and left for dead at a gas station. Cat is furious that the local police are not making much effort to solve the hate crime. So, as Patrick lies in a coma, Cat sets off to investigate on her own, and starts to come to terms with her own assault and it’s aftermath. She starts talking to people again, trying to get to the bottom of the crime, and also getting to know her town and classmates again. Things start getting tense and dangerous as she gets closer to the real attacker, and Cat realizes she might need allies after all.

This was such an amazing book – an important book. I read it all in one sitting yesterday, and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I’m even going out of order in my reviews to write about it sooner! The characters are stunningly real – flawed and scared and good and wonderful all at once.

I read a negative review of this book today that said the author forgave too much. I respectfully disagree – there was a lot of forgiveness in this book, but that was the lesson, the whole message. There had been so much violence and upheaval in that town already, and I really felt like the characters reached a peace that could not have been achieved had there been a horrible witch hunt. I respect them for being able to forgive, when there was so MUCH to forgive.

This is a big book – a book that should be taught in schools, read with families, talked about with friends. It made me realize exactly how much hate and pure ignorance still exists, even in our modern times. That people are just plain clueless about what it is to be gay, and are afraid of what they don’t understand.

I know that’s not news, but it shocks me, still. That is why this book is so important – so these conversations can happen, and bring some light to the ignorance.

Go get this book – talk about it with young people, talk about it with older people – think about it’s messages.