SHINE

Patrick is a victim of a gay bashing hate crime. He was beaten tied to a gas pump with the nozzle taped into his mouth, suck on this was written in his own blood on his chest and then left to die. Now he is in a coma, and sixteen-year-old Cat, his former best friend, is investigating what really happened. The police are incompetent and want to believe that it was out of town boys who came looking for trouble and who can never be found. It sounds pretty clear-cut, but it’s more complicated than that. There’s all sorts of relationship dynamics between the inhabitants of this small town, and, of course, there’s the small-town mentality that Cat needs to overcome, especially considering that Patrick was supposedly attacked because he’s a homosexual.

Cat is threatened when she asks too many questions, but the threats only make her angrier and more determined to find the answers. In the process of digging up information about Patrick’s attack, Cat also has to dig up her own past and the emotions she buried a long time ago.

This is the town that Cat grew up in; these are people that she knows and have relationships with. Some of them she’s had bad experiences with; some were her former best friends. There  is a lot of emotional depth in the young adult novel. Ironically the novel is essentially about a gay youth but he is barely in the book.

Well worth the read.

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