I’m going to say it right out: I loved this book. I’ve never read anything by Myracle but after finishing Shine, I want to run out and buy every single work of hers ever. I think the thing I loved the most, or the character I loved the most, was Cat. She’s a strong, wonderful lead heroine; she’s flawed and still struggling to cope with something that happened to her three years prior to the start of the novel, but she’s determined to set things right, starting with Patrick. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about her journey as she grows and learns to cope with what’s happened as she uncovers the mystery of what happened to her friend. Cat’s actually probably one of my new favorite heroines in a novel. She’s a fully realized person, not just a character; she has her flaws and her strengths and weaknesses, and they all come about beautifully in Myracle’s writing. All of her characters are well written, but I think Cat was the best, as she should be. Myracle’s writing is smooth and her descriptions are lush and vibrant. She never strays into purple prose territory, though it could be easy at times. She uses so little words in order to get her message across, and it works. All of her characters are believable and sympathetic, each voice sounding authentic and real, like it could belong to an actual person. I liked how Myracle showed that there are Christians who hate gay people, and then there are Christians who love them; there’s no stereotypical Christian villain in this book. While the characters who do disapprove of Patrick’s sexuality are viewed by Cat as being wrong, Myracle’s message never comes across as overly preachy. Myracle gives us different people and shades of grey, and it really is a nice realistic touch. The portrayal of bigotry is well done, from the things like using a derogatory word or ridiculing someone, even if they’re your friend, to the things like actively teaching others to hate them even if you yourself never use any derogatory terms or attack them. The mystery was very well written, and I didn’t catch on to who attacked Patrick until sentences before it was actually revealed in the story. Myracle really did write it well, introducing plenty of characters so that we wouldn’t be able to guess easily, and when it’s revealed it certainly is a shock. At times the pacing was a little off, going from fast to slow, and the ending especially seemed a bit awkward. Plotting was a little loose at times, too, but due to the strength of the writing and the story and everything else, I can easily overlook that. I never completely bought Cat’s romantic relationship with another character in the book; at the time it felt very random, and I was more interested in the mystery than I was them. Myracle does show us why they work, but I still never really warmed up to them together. It was a weak part in the characterization, but again, the strength of everything else makes me easily overlook that.Shine is a heartbreaking but thoroughly engrossing novel about a girl trying to do right by her friend and finding her own way at the same time. The characters are wonderfully written, the messages sent are badly needed and well done, and all in all it’s just a brilliant book. I heavily reccommend it to anyone interested in this kind of story.