School Library Journal
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Gr 10 Up-Cat, 16, has isolated herself over the past three years, retreating from her friends and life after being violated by a boy she knew. But after a gay-bashing incident involving her former best friend at the local convenience store where he works leaves him in a coma, she is determined to enter the world again and investigate the crime to make up for all the years she abandoned him. The sheriff suspects his attackers are most likely out-of-towners angry with Patrick because he refused to sell them alcohol. Cat assumes the perpetrators are closer to home since the "redneck posse" that Patrick hung around with never fully accepted him and must know something since they partied with him earlier in the night. In a week's time, Cat pays visits to her old friends and slowly learns about the hidden relationships in the meth-addled underbelly of her hill-country Southern town. Most of the teens in this novel have either dropped out of high school, come from broken families, or been abused. It's a bleak story leavened a little by the things Cat learns about herself in the course of her investigation. Myracle captures well the regret that many feel for things in their past about which they are ashamed. Cat's reflections on these moments are spot-on.-Shawna Sherman, Hayward Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Cat has been distant from childhood best friend Patrick for three years (she began to "ignore the whole world" after an older friend of her brother's molested her). Even so, when a horrific and possible hate crime leaves openly gay Patrick comatose, she decides to "look straight into the ugliness and find out who hurt him." She grows suspicious of her brother's friends, "the redneck posse," who were with Patrick the night of his attack-especially as she learns they are keeping dangerous secrets, including dealing and using meth. Myracle (Bliss) paints the desperate poverty and bitter divisions within Cat's mountain community well, with memorable details like a friend coloring the duct tape patches on her couch to match the fabric or a meth cooker's bathtub filled with funnels and coffee filters. These details and the thick mystery that Cat unfurls will keep readers engaged-and suspecting several characters, as Cat does. The final faceoff strains believability and the conclusion is a tad neat, but readers will find themselves thinking about Cat's complicated rural community long after the mystery has been solved. Ages 14-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Patrick Truman has been beaten and left for dead at the convenience store where he works. His attackers left a gas nozzle stuffed in his mouth, meant to reference his sexual preference. Cat used to be his best friend, and the shame she feels for having dropped him propels her to find out just what happened and who among those in her closed, North Carolina backwoods community is responsible. Myracle treads carefully to avoid stereotypes: Patrick is not reviled by the other guys (he is something of a mascot), and the young suspects who readers will initially target as perpetrators are more dimensional than they seem. Cat, too, grows throughout the story, as she must face both her prejudices and her fears. But even with her eye on character, Myracle doesn't forget her story, and this is a rip-roaring mystery that will have readers turning pages. The rushed ending is something of a fairy tale. Still, this provides a lot to think about, and teens who are experimenting with their own places in the world will find someone in the book whose problems match their own.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist