To be published May 2011.
One of the benefits of attending ALA Annual and Midwinter is that I get to meet a lot of authors and get their autograph. Even though my daughter is only 8, she has an entire shelf of young adult books autographed to her. The cool authors personalize the books, like Lauren Myracle did here.
I've met Lauren a few times and she's hilarious. But I never liked her books. I thought Kissing Kate was okay and thought the best thing about Rhymes with Witches was the cover. I know her ttyl books were popular, but I just couldn't attack the text-speak. I read, but wasn't thrilled with How To Be Bad by Myracle, Lockhart, and Mlynowski. I really, really wanted to like Lauren Myracle's books, but just couldn't. They were popular and made me grit my teeth.
Until now. Shine is her winner. She's created a modern-day version of To Kill a Mockingbird, complete with gay injustice and meth. It's amazing. I was sucked into the life of sixteen-year-old Cat investigating the beating of her old friend Patrick. The two of them grew apart when Cat distanced herself from ALL her friends, and that story is pretty darn interesting, too. This book treats Appalachian country like the inner city hood, and the result isn't pretty. People are poor, desperate, and turning to meth and moonshine. Patrick happens to be gay in a town where that "ain't Christian." And even Cat's brother Christian isn't acting like his namesake either.
All in all, I'm just glad this doesn't read like a typical Myracle novel. I feel like I've read her first novel--it's gripping, a thriller, and multi-faceted. It rocks, and I'll remember Cat for a long, long time.