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Shine -  Lauren Myracle I rate this book 5 stars.

Close your eyes. Imagine yourself alone, bloodied, the still night surrounding you. There's only the flickering of a small, lone light bulb right above you, but there's no one there - you are completely, utterly alone, beaten and bloodied, strapped to a gas pump with the words Suck this, faggot scratched across your chest. There's a gas nozzle stuck in your mouth, making you swallow the oil because there's nothing else you can do, and the fumes are making you lightheaded, fusing into your mouth and through your body.

This is how seventeen-year-old Patrick Truman is left for the sole reason that he is gay.

Now, while Patrick lies in a coma in the hospital, his ex-best friend Cat decides to step up and find out who the culprit is. Along the way she discovers the truth of her seemingly small, innocent town, and struggles to come to the light of who did the crime: a person she never, ever expected.

When I first picked up this book, I was more into mystery than anything else. I realized I hadn't read a nice, believable murder mystery in a long time so I found this one, hoping it would help assuage my desires.

But it did so much more than that.

While I was engaged into the story, I also realized the messages this book was trying to convey to me. I took a whole new approach to the issues of gay rights and how homosexuality is treated not just in America, but everywhere, even in small, inconspicuous towns around the world. There are lots of people who vouch for gay rights, and then those who don't, and then there are those who are neutral - that side on neither side. I didn't get a "side" from Lauren Myracle - while it was obvious she was maybe standing up gay rights, she was definitely defending the right not to make fun or treat someone different just because of their sexual orientation. And this, obviously, can extend to different things about a person.

It was enlightening, this book. The plot was always suspenseful, suspecting one person and then finding out it was null before going to the other and finding it was null also. I had no idea who the culprit would be, but then when I found out, I could go back and see the signs. The ending wasn't happy - more bittersweet than anything else. While Cat made it her job to find out who did it, she also discovered things about herself along the way: not to hide herself underneath her exterior shell, for example, or not to close herself off from her friends because of an accident she never chose to heal from.

As a book, I can definitely rate this five stars.