Monday, June 13, 2011

SHINE by Lauren Myracle

Cat and Patrick were inseparable friends until a few years ago.  Things happened in Cat's life that resulted in her withdrawal from most of her friends and even some family members.  She's been living in self-imposed isolation with secrets she isn't willing to share.

When Patrick is attacked and beaten outside the Come 'n' Go convenience store where he works, Cat is drawn back into his life.  The attack is not due to your average robbery or smash and grab, but rather a malicious hate crime.  His attacker left him tied to a gas pump with the gas nozzle shoved into his mouth.  Everyone is speculating the attack was a reaction to Patrick being gay.

Cat's guilt threatens to consume her.  If she had still been friends with Patrick, could she have protected him?  She always acted as his protector in elementary and middle school, and then she simply left him alone.  Her guilt and her continued feelings of friendship have her determined to find Patrick's attacker.

With her own secrets adding strength to her determination, Cat begins snooping around.  She questions everyone from fellow classmates and neighbors to the local meth dealer.  As she digs to find out the truth, she finds much more than she bargained for in Patrick's case, and at the same time she also begins to face some of her own demons.

Lauren Myracle's latest novel takes a somber look at a hate crime that grips a tiny community.  She examines the varied reactions from those who demand justice to those who would prefer to sweep this sort of tragedy under the rug and move on.  Readers will champion Cat and her insistence that Patrick deserves the same justice as everyone else.

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