Shine - Lauren Myracle
A word of caution to the squeamish reader: the first few pages are extremely graphic. But if you can get through those, or skim through those, the rest of the book does not follow suit. Since the book opens with such a bang, I expected the full story to be thrilling moment after thrilling moment as Cat searches for the individual(s) responsible for a brutal hate attack against her former best friend. Instead, after the initial opening sequence, the book slows right down and really gets inside Cat's head, as we learn why she is no longer friends with Jason, the victim of the aforementioned crime, and what she's been through over the past few years. After a traumatic event of her own, Cat distanced herself from all of her former friends and, through her investigation of Jason's attack, she forces herself to reconnect with each one while asking tough questions about things that no one really wants to talk about.
I'll be honest and say that there were several points in the book where I found the story to be lagging and I wanted to tell the writer to just hurry up and get on with the story already. But, at the same time, I was enjoying the book so much that I realized that this isn't the kind of story that you can hurry up and just tell us who dunnit already. It's the kind of story that is less about who did it, and more about the characters. It's the kind of story that you have to savour and let it soak into you, word by word. Once I realized that, the rest of the book became much more enjoyable. Like a good bar of dark chocolate, some of the scenes in this book have to just melt in your mouth while you savour them, wipe away a few tears and then keep reading.
Reading this book also caused me to think a little about my approach to reading lately. Once I started this blog and realized how many amazing YA literature there is out there, I started to become a little more impatient with my reading. Even while I'm reading a book, there's always stacks of books that are yet to be read, compounded with a lengthy hold list at the library. In some ways, I feel that I'm forgetting what it means to just read for fun, rather than working on finishing one book in order to get through to the next. That's not to say that I'm not enjoying the book that I read, since I have read some truly amazing books this year. But reading Shine just reminded me that part of the joy of reading can be found in savouring each word, rather than reading quickly (and I am a very fast reader -- so fast sometimes that I feel like I miss things while I'm reading). So thank you, Ms. Myracle, for providing such an enjoyable read, a book that made me think, made me cry and reminded me all over again why I love to read so much.