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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Future Classic from Candy Gourlay, 15 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Shine (Hardcover)
Ever since I read Tall Story I've been itching for Gourlay's next book and Shine doesn't disappoint.

It's different - darker - and yet Gourlay's distinctive voice rings out on every page. Part mystery, part tender love story, part thriller, part coming of age story and all set against the back drop of dual worlds in England and the Philipines - it feels like Candy Gourlay is creating her very own genre.

Gourlay's books linger, they haunt. I can't help but think she's writing future classics - there is nothing throw away about Gourlay's writing. Her books are treasures.

Recommended for 12- 112.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, moving and gripping, 28 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Shine (Hardcover)
Very different from Candy Gourlay's brilliant debut book 'Tall Story' is this second book from Candy.
Quite dark, with twists and turns, spookiness and fear and all with such amazing description.
The story of twin Rosa with her profound medical problem - some light relief from the humorous banter with online Danny with whom she sets up a friendship - with a twist!
Even Rosa's loving, protective father has a surprise in store.
The sort of book that is hard to put down even when your eyes are in need of matches to hold them open! Would make an excellent film.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book, 25 April 2014
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This review is from: Shine (Hardcover)
Shine is set on the island Mirasol, an island where it always rains. The main character is 13-year-old Rosa. She lives with her father, her mother died when Rosa was five. Rosa has the medical condition The Calm. The Calm has left marks around Rosa’s neck and has left her unable to speak. Those that live on Mirasol, are very superstitious about The Calm. They believe that suffers are monsters. Rosa sticks to the house to avoid these people and uses the internet to make friends. Rosa makes friends with a boy called Ansel95 who she becomes close to. She’s worried that when she finally meets up with this boy, she’ll have to reveal the truth of her condition. However, there are many more secrets in her family that she never knew about. And they’re starting to unfold.

I thought Shine was a particularly moving, unique book. It felt magical to read. Rosa was an incredible, believable character. I thought she was easy to love. Her relationships with her father and her housekeeper Yaya, were so well developed. I loved Rosa’s relationship with Yaya. I thought Yaya was a great, quirky character. It’s clear to see how much Yaya cared for Rosa. I thought it was lovely that she had such strong relationships with her father and Yaya, as she was so isolated from the rest of the world.

The story is split between Rosa’s story and chapters from another character’s perspective. They take the form of letters to a person called Kat. I won’t reveal who Kat is, or who the author of the letters is, as I think it really adds to the story, when it all unravels. I have to admit, it did confuse me at first, but once I realised what was happening, I thought it was a really unique way to slowly feed the reader with more background information.

I think one of the things I loved most about the story, is that I really believed in Rosa. I understood how insecure she must have felt, suffering from a condition that everyone considered monstrous. I completely understood why she felt like she had to hide away from society. I could imagine how lonely Rosa must have felt, so she did turn to the internet for socialisation. She was nervous about developing a friendship with Ansel95, because she was scared he would judge her like so many others had. I also totally believed in Rosa’s anger at discovering some deep family secrets.

Whilst this wasn’t a perfect read for me, it came pretty close. It reads almost like a fairy-tale. A fairy-tale well worth checking out.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Unpredictable & engaging, 10 Mar. 2014
This review is from: Shine (Hardcover)
Review by Oskar - Year 7

This is an eerie, horror story with a spiritual background and a bit of ghostly atmospheric feeling. It is set in a peculiar city where the relentless rain never stops, and all locals are highly superstitious, worrying at the slightest twinge of unusual occurrences. As a thirteen year old, Rosa must seize the freedom to be who she really is, and, after meeting the mysterious Ansel95 online, as well as seeing ghostly images of her mother, her life is completely changed.

At the beginning, I was a little perplexed, thinking this book was a bit too far out of the ordinary, but as the compelling storyline continued, I realised that only a minority of the customs of this superstitious community were unique, and different to nowadays. The pace of the story is relatively moderate, with flashbacks from the past occurring every couple of chapters, increasing the complexity and texture of the plot set in the near future. Also this aids in filling in part of the background story to the overall plot.

The author has the uncanny ability to turn the varying degree of fairly random characters into likable, friendly individuals. Even the so-called villains in the story are not acting completely according to their own will, but are briefly controlled by spells of madness. This story is made engaging due the variety of different events that happen throughout the course of the book, as well as the fact that it is highly unpredictable, and the reader is constantly striving to find out what occurs next.

If there is anything that I, personally would add to this novel is perhaps some more background information on the characters linking off of the main character, such as her friends, and maybe even a more detailed concentration on the background of Rosa’s rather unknown father.

Despite this, I personally enjoyed the overall novel and would possibly consider reading more of this writers work to see what other interesting and enjoyable stories of this calibre have been created.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and compelling story for children aged 9+, 15 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Shine (Hardcover)
13-year-old Rosa lives on Mirasol, an island where it always rains with her father (her mother died when she was five). Rosa suffers from The Calm, a medical condition that's left marks around her neck and left her unable to speak. Mirasol's inhabitants are superstitious about The Calm - deeming sufferers to be "monsters" - so Rosa tends to keep to the house but she uses the internet to make friends, including Ansel95, a boy who shares incredible photos, including those of Mirasol.

As Rosa and Ansel's friendship grows, Rosa worries that she'll have to reveal the truth about her condition. But it soon becomes apparent that there are other secrets within her house, secrets that Rosa was never intended to discover ...

Candy Gourlay's second novel is a moving middle grade tale that's part coming of age story, part ghost story and which revolves around a compelling main character. I completely believed in Rosa, her insecurities and her struggle to come to terms with her mother's death and I loved the relationship between her, her father, her fussy housekeeper Yaya. Rosa's story is mixed with chapters from her mother's point of view, which slowly provide background to the secrets being kept from her. I was thoroughly enjoying all of this until a key revelation in the final fifth, which had a melodramatic feel out of kilter with the subtler storytelling in the rest of the book. This is a shame because there are some beautiful moments in the book and Gourlay's one of the most interesting voices in children's fiction right now.

I really believed in the loss Rosa feels for her mother, her insecurities about her condition and the effect it has on others and her need for friendship. I liked the nervousness of her developing friendship with Anselm and the way they bond over photography. Clucky housekeeper Yaya with her superstitions and genuine love for Rosa is sweetly depicted and I believed in Rosa's grief and anger as she discovers things about her parents. I similarly really enjoyed the parallel storyline narrated by Rosa's mother with its slow building revelations but the pay-off had a distinct FATAL ATTRACTION feel to it, which just didn't fit for me with the rest of the book.

Ultimately, this isn't a perfect book but it's an interesting mix of mythology and character and I will definitely check out Gourlay's next book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Talking allegorically, 18 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Shine (Hardcover)
Mirasol town feels tropical and contemporary but Rosa is isolated by a strange mark and the loss of her voice: the Calm. She must hide from superstitious islanders or she may be killed. Twins divide, double up, exchange places. An indigenous helper, Yaya spreads salt to keep the spirits at bay. Rosa finds the solace following a chance encounter with fellow sufferer Danny.
A well written page-turning allegory exploring identity and shame. A promising tale from an original talent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful, haunting book, 15 Mar. 2014
This review is from: Shine (Hardcover)
This is a stunning book. If you've read Candy Gourlay's first novel, the wonderful, moving, heartwarming Tall Story (and if you haven't, do, it's a fabulous) then, like me, you're in for a big surprise. As in Tall Story, Candy Goulay takes you right into her characters' world and sweeps you into an unputdownable story, but what a different world this is. The rain-swept island of Mirasol, Rosa's life in her 'tower' and the parallel story of twins and their destructive relationship is fantastically atmospheric, completely original and has a genuinely terrifying villain. I dreamt about the book the night I finished it and I can't remember when that last happened. Shine is a terrific read and a haunting, thought-provoking story that will stay with you long after you have finished the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!, 25 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Shine (Hardcover)
Candy Gourlay's writing is superb. The words draw you in to the story in such a way you really can't put the book down - I couldn't, anyway! At times humorous, at times thrilling, the story of twin Rosa and her profound illness (the Calm) is mesmerising and believable. Stuck in her house on the island of Mirasol, because superstitious inhabitants are likely to kill her due to the marks left by the Calm, Rosa strikes up an unlikely online friendship with a boy. I don't want to include any spoilers, but the twist in the end of the tale is wonderful. This book will be loved by anyone 11 upwards.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful voice, 28 May 2014
By 
Janette Carr (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shine (Kindle Edition)
I loved this story because I love Candy Gourlay's voice - beautiful, lyrical, humorous and warm story-telling. It's a believable voice that I can hear; I forget that I'm reading - decoding words on a page. I was hooked by Shine immediately and read into the night until I'd finished.
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5.0 out of 5 stars gripping and moving, 21 April 2014
By 
L. Crawford (U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shine (Kindle Edition)
Beautifully written, varied in its pace and mood and a great story to boot. My 9 year old, 12 year old and I loved it equally.
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Shine
Shine by Candy Gourlay (Hardcover - 5 Sept. 2013)
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