Family movie night? There's an app for that
Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Could open up some discussions about hate crimes, discrimation, meth, and poverty in rural America. See this review's "Talk to Your Kids" section to get ideas for starting conversations.
Cat hasn't always been a good friend to Patrick, but now that he's in a coma, she wants to solve the hate crime against him, even if that means putting herself in awkward or dangerous situations.
Positive Role Models
Cat is a brave and smart girl who wants to do what Mama Sweetie advises: "Shake off the darkness and shine again."
Violence & Scariness
At the center of Shine is a violent crime against an openly gay teen boy, which is described in harrowing detail. Cat also recounts a sexual assualt and is threatened with a cow tongue on her pillow when she starts investigating Patrick's beating. Later, there's a shooting that leads to another teen's death.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teen characters are in relationships. Though not described, there are references to kissing, a teen who got pregnant, and another character who trades sex for drugs.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Lots of rough speech, including "f--k," "bitch," "slut," and hate words such as "fag" and the "N" word.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Some mention of products, such as Monster Energy Drinks, Pringles, and Crystal Light.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teen characters drink alcohol, including at a bar where Cat goes to investigate Patrick's beating. Also, a 10-year-old boy is described as suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome. But the biggest drug discussion is about meth, and there are characters who use it, sell it, and even exchange drugs and sex. Characters who are involved with meth are judged negatively, and the author paints it as destructive force in their lives.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Shine is about a girl trying to solve a crime: An openly gay teen has been severely beaten (leaving him in a coma), and a slur was written on his chest in blood. Characters in the poor mountain community face other difficulties: The protagonist describes being sexually assaulted by an older boy, and when she continues her investigation into the beating, she's threatened with a cow tongue on her pillow. There are also descriptions of the community's intense poverty, where there's also plenty of meth dealing. Expect mature language throughout the book, including hate speech. At least one character is secretly gay.
Is It Any Good?
The author of SHINE vividly captures the details of Cat's impoverished community. It's there in the dialogue, but also in the cigarette burns on the carpet, the colored-in duct tape on the couch, and the junk food the characters eat, even when suffering from diabetes. Readers might find the cinematic conclusion a bit overdone, but they'll appreciate the mystery's many turns -- and root for the loyal Cat, who wants justice for her brave friend. The details of Patrick's beating, gritty language, and other mature details make this a better fit for older teens who will get the most out of this important story. There's plenty to discuss here about tolerance, poverty in America, drug abuse, and more.
Shine made the 2102 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults list compiled by the the Young Adult Library Services Association (a division of the American Library Association).
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.