Lauren Myracle’s Shine drew attention after the National Book Award fiasco back in the fall, and while the situation was unfortunate at best, it drew lots of attention to a well-deserving book. Shine is a gem of a young adult novel, compelling in its ability to wrestle with difficult issues while entertaining. Myracle’s rural Southern mountain village and its inhabitants are well-drawn, with plenty of dimension. She doles out backstory carefully, hinting and giving us just enough to entice without annoying. When Cat’s secret is finally revealed, we have a good sense of what generally happened, and then the details start to make other elements of the story fit together.
Watching Cat learn how events, people and relationships she assumed she understood differ from reality sets the stage for the final revelation of the book, and Myracle’s storytelling skill gives us a cohesive, compelling tale filled with interesting characters. This book will stay with you long after you turn the last page.