Author: Lauren Myracle
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: 5.1.2011
Genre: Contemporary; Mystery
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
Mark my words, in a few years (might take a decade) this will be a book added to public school curriculums nationwide. Lauren Myracle has woven a tale tragically stunning and achingly beautiful; it smashed my heart to pieces and then stitched it back together all in the span of 376 pages. It’s been years since I read a book that brought me to tears one page and the next had me clenching the pages to keep from hurling it against a wall in fury. I love these characters as if they were my own friends; I cried with Cat and I raged with her.
Set in a lush Southern backdrop, I was immediately transported to the Southern days of my youth. She captured every scene with sharp alacrity: the lazy drawls of speech, the tight-knit community that seemed to know everything and anything about every single citizen, the small-mindedness that would make or break you, and the eternal bonds of friendship. This book hurtles towards the end at breakneck speed, but Myracle is in control at all times.
Myracle doesn’t just address issues of prejudice, hate, abuse, and loss. She drags these issues out of the shadows and shines a spotlight on them, stripping them bare without flinching. She writes in such a fearless way that you can’t help but admire her. I’ve read books that amused me, thrilled me, entertained me, and annoyed me. This book goes in that extremely rare category of books that have changed me.