In her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott says, “For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”

My hope is that this is what books become to you—as important as almost anything else on earth. This blog is about helping you find the miracle in these small, flat, rigid squares of paper while you are in middle school and beyond. Once you read alongside me, you are forever a member of my tribe of readers. No matter how you old you are, when you need to be reminded of the power of a good story, you will find me here, waiting to place one in your hands.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

SHINE by Lauren Myracle

copyright date: May 2011
primarily marketed for: young adults (high school)

Shine by Lauren Myracle is one of those books I felt an itch to talk about as soon as I finished reading.  The story is that powerful, the craft that stunning, the characters that compelling.  It is a book that will surely linger in my mind for days to come.

Ever since I took a summer literature class in Southern American Fiction, I have been in love with stories set in the South.  So, I am sure that element drew me further into what is already a captivating story.  Shine begins with a fictitious, yet chilling, newspaper article reporting the brutal beating of sixteen-year-old Patrick Truman, apparently driven by his homosexuality.  From that point on, while Patrick lies comatose in a hospital, the story becomes Cat’s.  Cat used to be one of Patrick’s closest friends, before a traumatic event in her own life caused her to quietly withdraw from all social activity.  It is the attack on Patrick that prompts Cat to end her period of withdrawal and reengage with the world around her. 

However, reengaging with the world means looking in the face of both its beauty and brutality.  So, Cat’s quest to uncover secrets and dangerously break through the small town code of silence forces her to grow up quickly. 

Shine is a coming-of-age story filled with poetic language, deep thoughts, and no easy answers. Although it is rife with harsh language and mature situations, they are handled with just the right balance of shock and grace to tell this story and leave it lingering in your heart and mind.

Lauren Myracle signing my copy of Shine

some of my favorite lines…

“The approach of twilight, along with the insect sounds that heralded it, made me feel alone in a way of separating me from all things human.”
from Shine by Lauren Myracle, page 143 (paperback)

“Dark flecks messed with my vision, because turned out I wasn’t so good with heights.  I didn’t know it till then.  Wasn’t that odd?  All the stuff that went into mind and body and soul, and so much of it left buried unless the right situation came along to unearth it.”
from Shine by Lauren Myracle, page 157 (paperback)

“I hid in the shadows, but hiding had the power to hurt, too.”
from Shine by Lauren Myracle, page 291 (paperback)


  1. Wasn't this a wonderful book? It stayed with me for a long time.

  2. I loved this book, Christy. How great that you got to meet Lauren Myracle. Thanks for reminding about the story.

  3. So, I need to get this book, Christy! I love meeting authors - something so very cool about having a few words, and getting that signature.