My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Book Source: e-ARC from publisher via NetGalley.com, by request
Maybe God was a giant eyeball in the hazy June sky, only there was a burn mark on His pupil in the exact spot of Black Creek, North Carolina, and that was why He didn’t see me.
For the last three years, 16-year-old Cat has been keeping to herself. Something bad happened, and after it did, she stopped talking to just about anyone, even her best friend, Patrick. But when Patrick is found unconscious outside the gas station, left for dead, the victim of an apparent homophobic hate crime, she takes it upon herself to uncover his attacker.
The book opens with a newspaper account of the attack on Patrick and a description of the hard times the town of Black Creek, NC, had recently faced, complete with quotes from townspeople that make certain prejudices clear from the start. The rest of the novel is told from Cat’s first-person point-of-view. She questions everyone from her own brother to the local meth distributor, forcing buried secrets out into the open once and for all. Poverty and addiction have taken their toll on quite a few residents of Black Creek, and Cat’s suspicion that the local law enforcement won’t work too hard on solving the case is easy to believe.
Myracle weaves a gripping story, creating strong characters and providing just enough misdirection to keep the mystery intriguing. Squeamish readers be warned: there is strong language and some violence in this book, but none of it feels gratuitous. Drugs and guns are plentiful in Black Creek, and some ugly slurs come all-too-easily from characters’ mouths. Cat’s struggle to deal with her own past and her determination to find Patrick’s attacker build up to a satisfying conclusion. I was up until 1 in the morning finishing the last few chapters; I just couldn’t put it down.
Shine is scheduled for publication in May of 2011.