Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{April 29, 2011}   {Review} Shine by Lauren Myracle

From Goodreads:  When her best guy friend falls victim to a vicious hate crime, sixteen-year-old Cat sets out to discover who in her small town did it.  Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery mines the secrets of a tightly knit Southern community and examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone you know in the name of justice. Against a backdrop of poverty, clannishness, drugs, and intolerance, Myracle has crafted a harrowing coming-of-age tale couched in a deeply intelligent mystery.  Smart, fearless, and compassionate, this is an unforgettable work from a beloved author.


Abrams Books and their imprint Amulet Books have been so gracious as to allow me review an ARC of this novel, through Netgalley, prior to its official release on May 1st, and WOW—this is just a phenomenal novel, and I highly recommend reading it!  I was pulled in by the very first page, in which a news article describes the hate crime committed against Patrick, a young homosexual male, living in a small, poverty struck town hell bent against homosexuality.  Using the news article as a starting point, Myracle is able to drop the reader directly into the story, creating a sense of suspense and foreboding from the very first page.  I was so enamored by the story that I read all 376 pages in one sitting, losing track of time and all else around me as I was engulfed by the plot—a testament to Myracle’s wonderful writing ability.

All the characters are extremely real, and Myracle has done a magnificent job creating a story of mystery and suspense, in which everyone is a suspect.  I highly enjoyed following Cat as she acquires knowledge that slowly sets her closer to finding out the truth, though it may cost her her life.  Cat is a wonderful protagonist, and I love how developed she is.  The constant flux between past and present, as Cat explains her life and inklings through her investigation, feeds the reader small bits of information, which in turn helps spur the novel on.  It’s a riveting tale, especially as, like everyone else in town, Cat has secrets of her own.  Yet, her secrets have caused her to pull away from everyone she knows and loves, creating a rift between herself and the community.  It is only through the atrocity of the hate crime against Patrick that Cat is able to rouse from her solidarity and become a modern sleuth, attempting to do that which the police will not: find the offender.

This is a real gem of a story, with great themes about love, forgiveness, and healing, and it’s one I plan to read again and again.  As my first taste of Myracle’s writing style, I must say I was not disappointed, and am excited to read her other work.  Five stars.

5 stars


Lynossa says:

I’m going to read this book today, and your review makes me wanting it more :D

Ashley says:

Thank you! Just entered for both. :)

Ashley says:

It seems as if I’m suffering from a common problem, I can’t remember if I filled in the form or not either. xD

I just looked and didn’t see your name or email on the form. Sign up, and don’t forget to enter to win Death Whipers too! It’s also a really good novel!

Aleetha says: got this one from netgalley..I must have missed it. The character who feel so real are one thing that makes reader get the bond with the book.
I hope I can get the chance to read it

thanks for the giveaway :)

Ana Lucía says:

Hi! I can’t remember if I already fill the form? I think I did but I’m not sure.

Yes, you are entered to win! :)

Phanee says:


I think you had published this google form on twitter a couple of days ago and I probably ended up filling it in! Just wanted to know if you have my entry or I am supposed to fill the form in again!

Thanks! :)

I do have your entry! Thanks! :D

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