You can read the Goodreads summary here.
This is a serious YA book dealing with some serious issues. Most notably, the book tackles hate crimes against gays as well as homophobia in general. This book also tackles issues of drug use and, to a lesser extent, molestation. I would not recommend this book for young teens because these issues are sometimes presented graphically.
After a traumatizing event when she was thirteen years old, Cat has drawn away from her friends and the outside world. When her best friend Patrick is found the victim of a hate crime (left tied to a gas pump with the nozzle in his mouth) and remains in a coma, Cat makes it her personal mission to find out who did this to him.
I really enjoyed this novel. The plot, though depressing, was good and told a valuable lesson. I particularly enjoyed the setting. Shine takes place in a small town unlike anything I have ever lived in or probably even driven through. That setting leads way to a cast of rich characters, from the gossiping holier-than-thou church ladies all the way down to Cat's former friends who like to party too much. All of the characters were well written; even Cat as the protagonist was a believably flawed character. It was great to watch her grow and come out of her shell as the novel progressed.
I give Shine four stars. Yes, it's a bit depressing to read, but it's absolutely worth it because it has hope.