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Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud

Shine -  Lauren Myracle Rating: 2.5* of fiveThe Book Report: Cat's friend Patrick is a faggot. Everybody knows it in their little Southern town, and the usual crew of fucking redneck assholes make Patrick's life a hell of taunts and pranks. Cat does what she can, but she's a girl, and nobody helps her.Then one day, Patrick gets beat almost to death. Oh dear say the police the town faggot's been beat up tsk now who did that? Then they go eat donuts.Cat sets out to solve the hate crime. She has her ideas about who did it. She bases them on the past behaviors of all the tormentors, and she bikes around town collecting clues, and she gets her brother to beat some richly deserving asswipes up, and she falls in love with the only decent boy in the state.When the crime is solved, it's not a *huge surprise to the experienced reader, but it's still satisfying. Myracle doesn't let one single person off the hook, but by the same token, she demonizes no one and ridicules no one.My Review: I have a hard time being as critical of this book as I feel honesty requires. I approve of its message, I like the whole set-up of a girl deciding that NO she WON'T sit down and stop rocking the boat, friendship means something in this world or we're well and truly lost.The design is beautiful, from jacket to chapter-open art, to text design. The book looks handsome and important. The message is good. Why then is Krampus the Kristmas Kobold pooping on it with a 2.5-star rating?They might be deployed in service of a plot that wins my hearty approval, but the elements of the story are stereotypical, wooden, and not freshly observed, described, or conceived. The dialogue is cutesy-folksy, or simply tin-eared, veering occasionally into wince-inducingly condescending. The positive portrayal of Jesus freakishness and regretting your sins equalling an obligation on the part of your victims to forgive you makes me boiling mad.It's just not a good book. It IS a good story. But, oh how mean it feels to say this, but here goes: But Myracle's either a lazy writer relying on a bag of tricks that's served others a little too often before they get their latest airing, tatty and stringy and musty, here, or else is just not a very good writer at all.