When Cat hears that her former best friend was attacked in a hate crime, with the words "Suck this, faggot" written on his chest, she is determined to get to the bottom of it. It was no secret to anyone that Patrick, her friend, was gay and that homophobia may have had a big part in the act. As Cat asks questions to try to figure out what happened, she learns how to confront her past and become a stronger person.
People in this world are so cruel. It made me sick when I read the things that the characters said, because I know that some people are like that. I like to think of myself as an advocate for gay rights, and this harsh reality of a southern town was hard to read. Hate and intolerance are ugly things, and I hope that hate crimes and harsh words like the ones spoken in the book will eventually cease to exist. Shine touched me on so many levels and had me feeling angry at some times and heartbroken at others.
I liked how the characters were presented in this book, like there aren't any "good" or "bad" ones. They are all very human with their flaws. Even Cat isn't perfect, because she's quick to assume and not very assertive at first.
The plot was drawn out nicely, giving little details and clues to what truly happened. The story becomes even darker when the prominent aspect of meth is introduced. I think there's a lot more to this book than it seems.
The only objection I have to Shine is the romance aspect. I think it seemed a little convenient and the story would have been fine without it. Also, the ending. I like justice, and I guess in a way it was justice, but it was more like karma justice than law justice.
Another thing I'd like to add is how beautiful the cover of this book is. I love the dark shack and bare tree and ominous sky, and then that one beautiful burst of color, which is the flower. I think it really portrays the book perfectly.
Shine is a heartbreaking story with a lovely heroine and a sad mystery. I recommend this one if the plot sounds interesting to you. 5 out of 5 stars.