“‘Are you listening, Rosa?’ I stared at Yaya. Her eyebrows were knitted on her yellow forehead and her face was suddenly smaller, her eyes hard and buring like black coals. ‘Listen, listen. This is important.’ The seriousness of her voice and the smallness of her face made me feel suddenly scared. I climbed onto her lap.”
There is a place where it rains consistently throughout the year. It rarely stops. Yet in this place when the rain does stop it’s not so much a celebration, no. When the rain stops the locals believe that monsters come, monsters bad enough to claim their children’s lives. The Calm is a symptom of these monsters and for 14 year old Rosa, The Calm is something she has to live with forever. Mirasol is not the place for anyone with The Calm so Rosa is forced to stay home and not go out without her father or her nanny Yaya. However when Rosa starts chatting to someone online, she soon realises there is more to life than her house and she is not the only one with something to hide.
I adored this book, its so unique in its style and its voice and blends a second, strong narrative voice in so seamlessly that I cannot understand why anyone wouldn’t feel the same way.
The story is incredible. The main character Rosa is living with a condition that has rendered her mute, with harsh scars on her neck as if she’s been strangled by a rope. Because of this condition her life is incredibly sheltered and she only has the two adults in her life, and her online profiles. I loved that she was so worried about talking to people online and it wasn’t only just because of the stranger danger stuff that was forced upon her, she was wary for herself as well. There was a lot to this book with the loss of her mother, the intertwining of myths and legends and the ghost story element which I also adored as it worked so well tied into everything else.
Setting is so important and I honestly don’t think this book would have worked anywhere other than an island like Mirasol. I think Mirasol is a fictional island but I can image there are a few like it around the world and I could just imagine what it would be like there. With everyone having myths and ghost stories prominent in their minds constantly its no wonder Rosa had to hide away as much as she did. I loved the description of Mirasol too and could picture it so vividly.
When it comes to characters in the book I loved how deep it went. There are elements of a more adult story running through the one involving Rosa directly and I found these so interesting. I was convinced whilst reading that Shine was going to be an out and out ghost story but I was suitably impressed with what I got and the story belonging to Rosa’s father and others. I loved how much of an impression some of the characters had on me and I thought that two in particular were so special, but I won’t go into details due to the risk of spoilers!
I will say that it took me a little while to get into the book and I got very confused at the first narrative switchover, however once I realised that there were two voices I was even more into the book and was desperate for more from the second, not as heard voice.Other than that Shine ticks all the boxes and I was so happy to read it.
Shine was published on September 5th by David Fickling Books. My copy was sent to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
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