By: Lauren Myracle
When her best guy friend falls victim to a vicious hate crime, sixteen-year-old Cat sets out to discover who in her small town did it. Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery mines the secrets of a tightly knit Southern community and examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone you know in the name of justice.
Against a backdrop of poverty, clannishness, drugs, and intolerance, Myracle has crafted a harrowing coming-of-age tale couched in a deeply intelligent mystery. Smart, fearless, and compassionate, this is an unforgettable work from a beloved author. (from goodreads.com)
This book was a bit of a departure for me, I've been reading a lot of Fantasy and Paranormal books lately (some veering firmly into Sci-Fi) so changing gears and going with a Realistic Fiction book was a really nice change of pace. I'll be honest in why I grabbed the book. The cover. It's beautiful. The one flower about to bloom, the desolate landscape in the background. I didn't even read the jacket before checking it out. The book definitely lived up to the cover.
This book centers on a young girl named Cat growing up in a painfully small town where everyone is in your business and there is no room for anyone who is different. Everyone has secrets. Cat's secret has pulled her away from her friends and family and turned her into a shell of who she used to be. When her former best friend is brutally assaulted her world is shaken and she emerges with a mission. She has to find out who would hurt Patrick and why, and in doing so she takes a hard look at her town, her friends and herself.
This book is really beautifully written. The story jumps around some. As it moves forward, we also see the events that led to Cat's withdrawal from her friends and family, and how her life changed after. We also catch glimpses of Patrick's life as well as Cat's bother and friends. In the end we get a very clear picture of not only who these people are, but how they got there. Everyone knows people like this. The big brother who struggles with protecting his siblings while still maintaining his reputation. The big man on campus who thinks he can take whatever he wants no matter the consequences. The kid who is so comfortable in his own skin that he doesn't care what others think. The one who is so ashamed of who he is that he spends his whole life fighting it. The broken girl who just needs a chance to find her way again. The small town where it's so hard to stay, but where you can't imagine leaving either. This book is a slice of life, a specific story in a specific place and time, but it could be anywhere and that's what makes it powerful.
Sure I had suspicions as to who had assaulted Patrick before the big reveal, but there was enough doubt that it's didn't spoil it. So, I won't give anything away here either. It's worth reading and discovering for yourself.