Shine by Candy Gourlay

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Shine by Candy Gourlay

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Sad and beautiful story with ghosts-that-aren't-really-ghosts and monsters-that-aren't-really-monsters and a central character you'll fall in love with. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: September 2013
Publisher: David Fickling
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 0385619200

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This is not a ghost story even though there are plenty of ghosts in it. And it's not a horror story though some people might be horrified. It's not a monster story either, even though there is a monster in it and that monster happens to be me.

Thirteen-year-old Rosa doesn't get out much. She lives with her father, a doctor, and their housekeeper-come-governess in the remote island community of Mirasol. It's always raining on Mirasol. And it's a superstitious place. People believe that if the rain stops, evil will come. And they also believe that monsters can stop the rain. Monsters like Rosa. But Rosa isn't a monster at all. She has the calm, an illness that twists and deforms the throat, leaving sufferers unable to speak. Fearful of the shunning of the islanders, Rosa's father keeps her shut away in the house and her condition a closely guarded secret.

It's a lonely life. Rosa has no friends. Her mother died when she was just a baby. So it's just Father and Yaya... and the internet. When Rosa meets Ansel95 online, when she finally makes a friend, her hopes for the future and dreams of the past explode. She's determined to seize a life for herself. But Rosa also discovers that she's not the only one keeping secrets...

Oh. Shine was just utterly, utterly lovely. I don't want to say too much more about what happens because it would be so easy to spoil it. There are ghosts in this story, but whether they're imagined or real, I'll leave you to discover for yourself. And there is a monster. But it isn't Rosa. The monster in Shine is the monster that is created when you mix fear and prejudice. It has an ugly head to rear.

This is a story of hopes and dreams and a refusal to accept a life limited by others. It's about past mistakes threatening the present and the future. It's about the power of myths. The fear of ghosts. It's about loneliness and grief and prejudice. But it's more than that. Shine is a story of the redeeming power of love. It's about growing up. It's about setting yourself - and other people - free. It's about the right to choose your own path. And this makes it utterly life-affirming.

We love Candy Gourlay in these here parts. And we love Shine too.

If you're new to Candy Gourlay, you shouldn't miss the fabulous Tall Story. And the truth about the past is also a vital part of Heart-shaped by Siobhan Parkinson. We think you'll also like Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay.

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Buy Shine by Candy Gourlay at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Shine by Candy Gourlay at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Shine by Candy Gourlay at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Shine by Candy Gourlay at


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