[review] Shine by Lauren Myracle

For sixteen year old Cat, poverty, sexism, and homophobia are front and center in her life. When her childhood best friend is put in the hospital from a hate crime, Cat knows that the town’s police won’t be willing to look where they need to. In order to find her friend’s attacker she’s going to have to face the darkness in her town and in herself.


Shine isn’t one of those books that you can’t put down because of cliff hanger endings to chapters or other tricks of the trade. Shine is the kind of book that you don’t want to put down because you care about what happens next. You care about the characters and you care about the town and you care about whether or not there is a happy ending because somehow you find yourself believing that if there can be a happy ending here then maybe a happy ending isn’t so far off for the world.

Contemporary is probably my least explored genre. Generally, what I have read I’ve enjoyed, but so much in the contemporary genre depends on the writing and the characters. Yes, plot and pacing are still important, but I find that contemporary novels seem to focus quite a bit on the interior journey of the character and a bit less on the exterior journey. Normally, the exterior journey is more enthralling to me: I like the wizard going up against a Hungarian Horntail and the group of children fighting and killing for their lives because it’s exciting. But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a well-written internal journey, especially when it touches on some really important modern themes.

Cat’s journey was more important to me than figuring out who had attacked her best friend. Her interaction with other characters had me glued to the pages. Her struggle with what had happened to her and those who had witnessed it and done nothing. It was raw and it was real. It’s a really difficult book to talk about for this reason. Even though it’s been a week or so since I read it, I still feel like I’m digesting it. It’s definitely the kind of book that lingers in your mind.

Books with similar aspects

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

recommended to those who enjoy themes to do with sex, gender, and social justice.

not recommended to those who can’t handle violent or emotionally charged scenes.

Don’t just take my word for it!

“I wish this could be required reading for our school. What an excellent, thought-provoking, anger-inducing novel.” Kyle @ A Reader’s Pensieve

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About megtao

Student. Writer. Nerdfighter. Fights for love, justice, and awesome.
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9 Responses to [review] Shine by Lauren Myracle

  1. I like books that pertain to social justice. I also totally had Shine out from the library once upon a time but never got to it. Which is SAD.


    Glad you liked it though. Contemporary can certainly be hit or miss, so yay for finding a hit.

  2. Shine was one of the best books that I read last year and I’m positive it will remain on my life long top ten forever. I’ve been pushing it on my coworkers and students since then because I think it’s so important to read, especially for young people in a small town (what a coincidence that I teach in one). I’m glad you liked it!

  3. I need to read this… someday. When I catch up with life. Great review for what sounds like a great book! 🙂

  4. I really need to read this book. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it and I think books like this are so important. I’m a little worried though because I am a total crier and I can see myself bawling when I read this book.

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