Sunday, November 13, 2011


By Lauren Myracle

Two Things I Liked About Shine:
1. I don’t know I just didn’t…
2. …want to give it only one star.

This book caused a lot of hullaballoo. A few weeks ago, the National Book Award Committee made the 2011 nominee announcements. First Shine was a nominee. Then it wasn’t. Then it was. Then it wasn’t. The explanation? The NBA people messed up. They nominated the wrong book (meaning to nominate a book called Chime instead, which isn’t even that similar), then asked Lauren Myracle to step down and relinquish her nomination - as if it were her fault. Come on, NBA. Get your act together. You’re making the whole industry look bad. And that is not something it needs right now. Anyway, one good thing came out of all the negative coverage - this book is now on everyone’s radar. Well, everyone in the YA community, that is.

The thing is - and I hate to say this, after all the NBA nonsense - I can’t say the NBA made a mistake in not nominating Shine for the National Book Award. They made mistakes and then some in how they handled the situation, sure, but in their essential judgment of the book’s merit? I can’t argue.

With her one-time best friend Patrick comatose as a result of a brutally violent hate crime and not trusting the sleuthing or determination of local law enforcement in her tiny backwoods southern town, Cat takes it upon herself to track down his assailant(s) and bring them to justice.

This book is supposed to be really relevant and controversial for taking on the issue of LGBTQ (did I forget any letters?) discrimination and bullying, but I felt like it really just ended up enforcing the stereotype of bigoted small town minds - especially southern ones - being the intolerant antagonists in the situation. And the proliferation of meth addicts and high school dropouts in the book did nothing to help. I can’t help but feel like it would have been so much more progressive or innovative to have had this story set in a scenario that was more universally real life and less a caricature of itself.

Books Read This Year: 86
Top 100 Progress: 46/100*

*New Goal: Make it to 50 by January 1, 2012!

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