“When Tuttle pulled up to the store’s single pump at seven thirty, he found Truman slumped on the pavement, bound to the guardrail of the fuel dispenser. The gasoline nozzle protruded from his mouth, held in place with duct tape. Across the teen’s bare chest, scrawled in blood were the words Suck this, faggot.”
Cat lost her friends three years ago. After a terrifying encounter with her brother’s friend she hid herself away in books and stopped talking to everyone, including her best friend Patrick. But she never stopped loving him; he would always be her best friend. So when Patrick is brutally attacked, Cat is convinced that that the attacker is from their tiny middle of nowhere town and she takes it upon herself to find out who it was before the sheriff blames it on out of town-ers.
While Cat uncovers the truth about Patricks attack she realises exactly what she’s been missing out on over the past 3 years, including truth about the people she thought she knew and how nothing is as it seems.
Shine gives us an amazing storyline; we are introduced to events through a newspaper cutting at the beginning of the book, explaining what had happened to Patrick before we meet Cat. We then start getting Cat’s perspective of who Patrick was and what their town is like, with little teasing bits of Cat’s life thrown in. It’s pretty obvious that Cat’s town is one where everything is smoothed over, events are talked about but if anyone so much as suggests that the other people in town aren’t nice, clean citizens then it’s brushed away as idle gossip. The religious elements of the town really threw me, the way that everyone was asking God to watch over Patrick then saying that the attack was as much his fault as anyone’s because of his sexuality! That really didn’t flow well with my beliefs but it kind of drew me more into the story.
I’m not going to lie, there were a few elements of Shine that I didn’t like. It was a bit slow for me to get into at first, I couldn’t understand why what was being said was relevant, but obviously this came through towards the end and I really got into it around about the time Jason came into the book. I liked Jason, he seemed like a genuine and lovely guy even though he didn’t come across this way at first! Once Jason came into it and Cat started talking to people more like they were on her level I really got into it and I couldn’t seem to put the second half of the book down!
Another element was that I really didn’t take well to Cat’s detective side, I liked her at first but then when she started snooping I kinda couldn’t make the two sides of Cat match up, you are introduced to a quiet girl who doesn’t want any trouble, just wants to be buried into her books and forget her past, then all of a sudden she’s going round town like shes a cop. I just didn’t get why people didn’t just tell her to mind her own business! It was only in the parts of the book where she was outwardly asking questions like a detective would that I thought this though, the rest of the time she was a really interesting character, battling with her own past to bring herself out into the present.
I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and all that but the copy I had (ebook from publisher) was beautiful and the theme on the front carried on throughout, splitting the book into parts, marking the days with an image of the kind of landscape Black Creak would have and also the branch images on each chapter really added to the feel of the book. I really liked that it was split into the days; it really made you focus on exactly how much time had passed since Patrick’s accident and intensified the need to find his attacker.
I’d only read one of Lauren Myracle’s books before – Kissing Kate – and I was expecting something very similar to that, but Shine wasn’t at all similar, it worked really well once I got into it and the storyline, as I said, was really gripping and exciting. I was even gasping out loud in the really exciting places and usually I’m quite quiet when reading, no matter how much I’m loving it!
I would really recommend this book to anyone who has a thing for detective stories, you really are just thinking “was it him? Or her? Or maybe even them?!” pretty much all the way through and it does keep you guessing!
Shine is due for a release in May, I’d like to thank the publishers, Amulet Books, for allowing me to read, and provide an honest review, of this title.