Publisher: Amulet Books
Format: Online Galley Copy
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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.
My Summary: Cat is a girl who is better than her circumstances. Born in a backwoods town in the middle of nowhere, Cat has been surrounded by poverty and hardship her entire life: her mother died when she was just two years old, and the only people left to care for her were her aunt and her alcoholic, out of work father.
But Cat has someone else looking out for her as well: her friend Patrick, with whom she's been friends with since before either of them could remember. Patrick and Cat are kindled spirits in their tiny backwoods town, and they know they'll be best friends forever.
After an incident when they're both 13, Cat pulls away from everyone she loves - including Patrick, who recently shocked the town by coming out.
Three years later, Cat and Patrick are no longer friends; but when she finds out that Patrick has been the victim of a cruel hate crime, Cat knows it's her duty to investigate and bring Patrick's attacker to justice.
My Thoughts: I loved it! I've never been a fan of southern stories, but this one had everything - cover-ups, mysteries, romance...
Cat was a great character. We find out about Cat through her own stories - not what people say about her, and she's got a lot of heart. I found her thoughts to be really age-appropriate, and her reaction to what happened to her when she was younger was totally heartbreaking. I was cheering for Cat (and Patrick!) the entire time.
The back-drop of the story is Black Creek, a town built around an abandoned paper mill. After a tornado wipes out the mill, the citizens of Black Creek are left to fend for themselves - as a result, the place had been overrun with drugs, alcohol, and poverty. Cat's family lives on her Aunt Tildy's measly pay-cheque, and they're struggling to make ends meet. Add to that the fact that Cat's dad is an alcoholic, and you really understand the hopelessness of the situation in Black Creek.
Amid all the poverty and corruption, Cat is trying to uncover the truth about what happened to her friend Patrick. She's managed to convince herself of one thing: if she can figure out who did it, Patrick will wake up.
But there are lies everywhere, and Cat has been living under a metaphorical rock for the past few years. She has no idea what has been going on in her town, instead choosing to live inside the worlds of her books. Cat is smart, though, and she uncovers some clues that will eventually lead her to Patrick's attacker.
The question is this: does she want to know who in her small town was capable of such a brutal, senseless crime? Or is ignorance bliss?
Final Thoughts: I really liked this one, and I definitely think it's worth checking out (it'll be released on May 1st, 2011). The writing was smooth, clear, and easy to follow, and I really liked the flashback style utilized by the author. Do yourselves a favour and put it on your To Be Read list!