Isobel Ramsden's Reviews > Shine
'Shine' is about a girl, Rosa, who lives on an island where it always rains and superstitions swirl like mist in the minds of the islanders. Rosa is mute and has strange marks around her neck. This makes her feared by the other islanders because of a terrible legend about a girl with the same condition, known as the Calm. To protect her from the other islanders, Rosa's dad makes her live indoors. Home schooled and with only her father and Yaya, the housekeeper, for company, Rosa's only friends are the ones she makes online. Every night she lights a candle for her mother, who disappeared when she was very young, hoping that this will summon her ghost. Then, one day, she meets Ansel95 online. They get on really well. But when he suggests that they meet up, she doesn't know whether she wants to meet him in person. Can she trust him? And will they like each other in person as much as they like each other online?
Alongside Rosa's story, the book also tells the story of Rosa's mother, Kara, who has the Calm, and her twin-sister, Kat, who does not have the Calm.
This book explores the themes of superstition, folk tales, ghosts, mutism, exile, exclusion, friendship and identity. I really liked the ambitious themes, vivid use of language, different moods and interweaving of different stories. There is also a great twist at the end. At times the attempts to tie characters' stories together feels a bit laboured.