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Shine Shine Shine

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  5,689 ratings  ·  1,172 reviews
A debut unlike any other, Shine, Shine, Shine is a shocking, searing, breathless love story, a gripping portrait of modern family, and a stunning exploration of love, death and what it means to be human.

Sunny Mann has masterminded a life for herself and her family in a quiet Virginia town. Her house and her friends are picture-perfect. Even her genius husband, Maxon, has b
Hardcover, 309 pages
Published July 17th 2012 by St. Martin's Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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Best Book Couples
10th out of 202 books — 181 voters
Shine Shine Shine by Lydia NetzerClotho's Loom by Shawn StJeanThe Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel HawthorneThe Joy Luck Club by Amy TanRoom by Emma Donoghue
Novels about Motherhood
1st out of 123 books — 100 voters

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Community Reviews

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Robots in Space: A Love Story

“Shine Shine Shine” deftly explores the dichotomy between fulfilling your own destiny vs. living to please others. It also explores the nature of illness. What constitutes individuality vs. the pressure of conformity and the need to be part of the group? When does uniqueness spill into mental illness?

As I read I kept trying to define the tone of this book. Quirky? Somewhat but the tone is beyond that. Whimsical? Yes it is that but not in a childlike way. Fanciful? A
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alison Law
This novel is reminiscent of one of my favorite books of all time, John Irving's World According to Garp. I fell in love with the flawed and vibrant characters of Sonny, Maxon, Emma and Bubber, whose everyday lives are tinged with heartache and whimsy. I read once that we are our most beautiful selves when we are most who we are. That is one of the big takeaways from this book for me. However, I think each person will discover something poignant and resonant in Shine Shine Shine.
I wasn't sure about this in the beginning, but I ended up really enjoying this book.

Born totally hairless in Burma, Sunny spends her married life in wigs, false eyelashes, and eyebrows. Her husband, Maxon, a genius working for NASA with few natural social skills, is the only person in Sunny's life besides her mother, Emma, and son, Bubber, who know. Through a series of flashbacks, we see how Sunny lost her father, fled Burma to come to Pennsylvania, grew up, and fell in love.

Now pregnant for t
Tsilla Shamir
Netzer has a strange clipped style which lures you into assuming it's very precise and terse, yet the more I read the more disappointing it is: it actually hardly ever hits the mark, always just a bit off till you're not really sure what she's saying. Her imagery is similarly often more weird than clear; more often than not you're not at all sure what that imagery is supposed to mean. To my mind there is enough ambiguity in the world without the author adding to it .
More importantly,I can stoma
Christian Kiefer
A beautiful story of love, loss, space, the mind, childhood, marriage, birth, and the American dream. A pre-utopia that ends on a beautiful note, thrusting us all at once far into the future. Is it all in the mind or is it what really happens? Lydia Netzer is too good a writer to let us know. Instead, the whole thing hovers like a constellation. Gorgeous. All of it.
Kelly Hager
This is such a strange book. It's incredibly ambitious, one that has been well-reviewed and one that I didn't connect with at all.

I love the idea behind it, the way that everyone is trying their best to be normal, even though they all have their very obvious impediments against normalcy. Maxon and Bubber are both autistic (although Maxon wasn't diagnosed) and Sunny is bald. From the moment Sunny and Maxon decided to have a baby, Sunny begins a huge campaign for normalcy. She starts wearing a wig
"This is the story of an astronaut who was lost in space, and the wife he left behind. Or this is the story of a brave man who survived the wreck of the first rocket sent into space with the intent to colonize the moon... This is the story of a bulge, a bud, the way the human race tried to subdivide, the bud it formed outside the universe, and what happened to that bud, and what happened to the Earth, too, the mother Earth, after the bud was burst." page 2

And with this introduction, Lydia Netzer
Rose Ann
Won a copy from Shelf Awareness on NetGalley.

Cannot decide between 3 and 4 stars. 3.5

Such a creative and unique storyline. Different than anything else I've ever read.
I kept asking myself, as I was this romance? sci-fi? general fiction?
It was a little taste of each.

I admired Sunny's strength.
Coming out with her baldness, after the accident,
doing her best for Bubby, her son, who is autistic,
her dying mother,
being very pregnant and
having her husband's rocket have an accident while
Shine, Shine, Shine started off good... got really good... had me tweeting the author to ask if Maxom lives GREAT! Loved the whole book! The ending was a little weird for me... I wanted less of the neighbors and more of the husband. But I'm ultimately happy to have discovered Lydia Netzer (Thanks to Joshlyn Jackson)! I can't wait to see what Ms Netzer comes up with next!
Sonja Yoerg
You've probably heard by now that the main characters, Sunny, Maxon and their son, Bubber, are eccentric, in the sense of being smart and weird simultaneously. But this story is more about the normal part of eccentricity, how people with unusual backgrounds or super-charged minds are nevertheless beautifully and painfully human. Sunny, Maxon and Bubber are not larger than life; their emotions and desires are the same size as those of the rest of us.

And yet their story is a special one, made spec
Melissa Crytzer Fry
I’m not sure, but I think serendipitous forces were at work as I read Lydia Netzer’s debut. It’s no secret that robots play a huge role in this novel – and it just so happened that as I was wrapping up SHINE SHINE SHINE, I also was wrapping up the last story in a freelance writing project that involved an interview with an engineer who … yes … is researching human-robot teaming.

Which leads me to one of the most outstanding things about this book: the mathematical metaphors. Netzer convinces the
Rebecca Smith
Shine Shine Shine is not a book that can be easily tucked into a neat category. In fact, when my husband asked, "What's it about?", I told him that my description would fall short and also sound slightly crazy. But that is exactly what makes this book remarkable, and unforgettable.
It is a story of marriage, of motherhood, of self-image and selfishness, but also a tale of humor, family and loss. I'm not even going to bother to write the plot synopsis, other to say again that it fails mere works
What a great surprise. The first 50 pages in I really wasn't feeling this book. I was confused to why there were robots in it and why everything was in the 3rd person. 150 pages in I was hooked and didn't want to put it down. This book is a love story, a bizarre, twisted love story about how to love others but most importantly yourself. While that may sound ridiculously cheesy in execution it really wasn't.

The mechanical husband Maxom is going to the moon with robots to help prepare for human co
Amy Rutten
I am a fast reader the way other people are fast eaters: if it’s good, I read it as fast as possible. Thankfully, I found myself slowing down and savoring Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer. I not only didn’t want to finish it, I wanted to hold it in my mouth for as long as I could – every word, every sentence. And when I was finished, I felt full. Satisfied.

Shine Shine Shine is the story of a husband and wife, Maxon and Sunny, who are both notably ‘different’; Sunny because she is (and always h
Sunny is your typical suburban housewife: perfect home, perfect neighbors, toddler Bubber with a new baby girl on the way... But the cracks in that "perfect" world Sunny has constructed for herself quickly make themselves apparent in Shine Shine Shine, from Bubber's autism (and Sunny's internal struggle with whether his medicine and treatments are actually helping him) to Maxon, Sunny's brilliant but incredibly odd husband, to Sunny's own secrets that she's so desperate to hide from all of her f ...more
Nicola Mansfield
Reason for Reading: I was attracted to this book because of the autistic son. Both my own son and myself are autistic (me: Asperger's) so I am often drawn to books that depict these characters. The book also sounded like it would be "quirky", something I really enjoy.

All I can really say about this book is "WOW"! What a beautiful story. Sunny and Maxon share the ultimate love story. This book is about love, the pure and simple kind and how complicated we can make it out to be. What is experience
Jul 27, 2013 Robyn rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: ebook
I am not sure what to make of this novel. While the author has some interesting ideas and the story is quite unique, I found it to be a tad odd (in the unique way) and there was also a lot of unnecessary rambling and unnecessary descriptions (a bit too much in some cases) which made me drop my rating of this novel. The uniqueness of it is what kept me drawn to finishing the entire book. Written in 3rd person, it's the story of Sunny, a bald woman who is married to Maxon, a robotical type man (ev ...more
Aug 03, 2012 Katy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: most people
Recommended to Katy by: NetGalley
Book Info: Genre: Literary Science Fiction Reading Level: Adult

Disclosure: I received a free eBook galley from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: Sunny Mann has masterminded a life for herself and her family in a quiet Virginia town. Her house and her friends are picture-perfect. Even her genius husband, Maxon, has been trained to pass for normal. But when a fender bender on an average day sends her coiffed blonde wig sailing out the window, her secret is exposed. Not only is
One of those you can't keep from taking a highlighter to--the sentences are that beautiful, the thoughts that sublime. Maxon is a mathematical mind to the millionth degree, he has a formula for everything. He thinks humans are binary--you either are or you aren't something, there's nothing in between. But he loves Sunny and she loves him, and in that sense this is the best romance I've read in years. Once Maxon realizes he loves Sunny, that his binary switch is flipped to YES, “it never turned o ...more
Elizabeth Moeller
When I started thinking about how to review Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer I was sort of stumped because in many ways, it defies description. This is a love story about a woman whose husband goes into space. But it is also a story about unlikely childhood friends who develop a love based on the fact that they are the only one the other could imagine letting into their difficult lives. It is also the story of the differences between the expectations that mothers have of what will make their ch ...more
Mindy McGinnis
SHINE SHINE SHINE is the kind of love story that can get under the skin of even an ultra-cynic like myself.

Sunny is the ultimate suburban housewife, well-coifed, drives a mini-van, consoles her friends, leads neighborhood craft shows, and always makes sure that her autistic son is wearing his helmet and gets his medicine on time. Her genius husband Maxon makes the $18,000 dollar rug in the dining room a possibility, even if his job is destined to take him out of their sphere - literally.

Ashley Arthur
I got this book from the library because Joshilyn Jackson (author of “A Grown Up Kind of Pretty”) recommended it highly on her website. After hearing so many good things about it, I really wanted to like this book. In the end, I thought it was ok, but I’m glad I borrowed a copy instead of shelling out my money for the hardback version.

The main character of the book is Sunny. At the start of the story, Sunny is pregnant with her second child, and her big secret is that she was born with a conditi
Debbie Shoulders
This is a quirky piece that makes one wonder is the world just a series of electronic impulses or do humans have something else? Sunny was born hairless but raised to believe she was destined for great things. Maxon was born an Asperger savant to an illiterate family in rural Pennsylvania. The two meet as children and despite warnings to the contrary marry and have an autistic son.

Maxon is on his way to the moon to colonize it with his robots. Again pregnant, Sunny is left to tend to their child
Melissa Rochelle
What a GREAT READ! The characters are unique, the writing is fantastic, and the story is beautiful. I laughed, I cried, I related (I mean, we all have those moments where we just want to FIT IN!). I loved the structure of the story, the author kept it moving forward, but also went back to fill in the gaps. Not only that, I would wonder about a piece of Maxon and Sunny's story and the next segment would answer the question beautifully. I just loved it!

And for some reason, I keep thinking of The T
Wonderfully unusual characters. Contemporary fiction. Autism. Love. Acceptance of self and others. Family issues. Astronauts. One of my favorites this year.
I tried for a mighty 80 pages but could not get into this book.
Lyndsay Faye
Utterly phenomenal. Read it immediately if not sooner.

This random library selection was a dubious pick...I almost put back on the shelf after seeing two jacket endorsements from authors I'm not especially fond of (sorry to my friends who like them:). Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants) and Joshilyn Jackson (Gods in Alabama). The only thing that made me give it a shot were the random calculus equations I encountered while flipping through it...

I'm glad I gave it a shot. Shine Shine Shine is a very promising debut for Lydia Netzer, easily one of the bes
Julie Kibler
I received an early review copy of SHINE SHINE SHINE from NetGalley, though I've since purchased the book. Weeks after turning the last page, I'm still thinking about the characters and situations in this remarkable debut from Lydia Netzer. I wondered how I would eventually feel about Sunny and Maxon as they began telling their stories in their oddly detached voices, but by the end of the book, I found myself genuinely emotional and desperate to know whether they would be okay, as individuals an ...more
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Lydia Netzer lives in Virginia with her two children and husband.

Her first novel, Shine Shine Shine, was published by St. Martin's Press. It's an IndieNext Pick, a SIBA Okra Pick, a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize, Amazon's Spotlight Book in Best Books of July 2012, a People's Pick in People Magazine, and a NYT Notable Book.

Her new novel, How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky, will be publi
More about Lydia Netzer...
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“There are three things that robots cannot do," wrote Maxon. Then beneath that on the page he wrote three dots, indented. Beside the first dot he wrote "Show preference without reason (LOVE)" and then "Doubt rational decisions (REGRET)" and finally "Trust data from a previously unreliable source (FORGIVE).” 10 likes
“When you are sitting on a three-legged stool and you've kicked out all three legs, but you're still sitting upright, must you assume that you're so good, you levitate? Or must you assume that you were sitting on the ground all along?” 7 likes
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