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.
My writing bestie Heather had been raving about this book for months,
Well, I say that like I don't know why I was passing over it. I know exactly why. It's because I knew it was about a hate crime committed against a gay teen, and I wasn't sure I could handle that. Quite a few years ago I was in a local production of The Laramie Project, a play written about the murder of gay teen Matthew Shepard. Matthew's story broke my heart prior to my involvement in that production, but living and breathing the aftermath of his killing through rehearsals and performing that show, well, it became even more personal and meaningful for me. (If you have never seen a production of The Laramie Project, I encourage you to do so. Or watch the movie. It has an amazing cast.)
Anyway, I wanted to read this book. I did. But I was afraid of it. I was afraid it was going to upset me too much.
Finally I picked it up and I'm happy to say that, while the subject of a hate crime against a gay teen is obviously disturbing, the book itself isn't disturbing. It doesn't focus so much on the hate crime itself, but more the reaction of one girl, the victim's former best friend, to the crime. It is a mystery, and Cat tracks down the clues to solve it. She's also dealing with some of her own heavy issues, the issues that caused her friendships to fizzle out. She does all this in a setting that is almost like a character itself, the rural south.
I know many people have only heard of this book because of the National Book Award drama that surrounded it. I'm glad that such a powerful and moving book got attention, though I wish it was because it actually was nominated, because this book deserves praise and recognition! Fantastic, slow-building mystery, foreboding setting, and gorgeous, gorgeous writing. I hate that I waited so long to read it.
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