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.
Cat lives in a small town in North Carolina, where the poverty level is high and the options are low. The story opens up a week after Cat’s childhood best friend - and kindred spirit - Patrick, was attacked at the Come ‘n’ Go, where he worked.
The story unfolds slowly, and Lauren Myracle takes that time to build the relationships and explain Cat’s past while also developing the characters that Cat interact with throughout the novel. Cat had an experience three years prior that caused her to turn away from her friends, Patrick included. However, she feels compelled to find out what happened to Patrick, who was the victim of a hate crime and by doing so it opens doors that she closed three years before.
Lauren handled the telling of the crime and its resolution well. As I am not from a small town I don’t fully understand what that experience might be, however, Lauren details her story in such a way that I feel as though I’m living right next door to Cat. I was concerned that there might be religious bashing or that the story might turn out to be judgmental, however, this was not the case. While she did not candy-coat the emotions, or the effects of the crimes throughout the story, she approached it realistically and somewhat journalistically, allowing the reader to form their opinions about each character. I did not see the end coming until it was unfolding, but I do see now how it was a great ending.
There are a lot of points that could be discussed in this book. Prejudices, self hating and narrow-mindedness to name a few. I highly recommend reading this book! Then, perhaps discussing it with a friend over tea.
[review of arc via netgalley]