After being shortlisted for the National Book Award, she was told that SHINE wasn't really supposed to be on the shortlist after all - it had been mixed up with the book at was actually supposed to be there - then asked to withdraw her book altogether.
Yeah. Not cool.
(If you want to read all the sordid details, click here, here, or here. The first link is my favorite.)
So, here's where the knife really digs in on this situation for me. Have you heard what SHINE is about? I hadn't either, until yesterday. Here's an excerpt from the LA Times Review of the book:
SHINE follow[s] a 16-year-old girl as she attempts to solve an antigay hate crime in a small North Carolina town where methamphetamine use is rampant and illiteracy and unemployment rates run even higher.
Before Chapter 1 has even begun, that subject is revealed with a newspaper clipping. Seventeen-year-old Patrick Truman has been beaten and bound to a guardrail outside a convenience store with an antigay slur written in blood across his chest. Patrick was well known in his hometown of 743 residents for being "light in his loafers" or "swishy," as some of the townspeople called him. The question at the center of "Shine" is, who would beat him bloody with a baseball bat and leave him for dead?This book NEEDS to be recognized. It NEEDS to be bought, and promoted, and lauded, and shouted from the rooftops about. As a member of the human race, as a clergyperson, as a mother, and as a young adult writer, I believe that from the bottom of my heart.
Want to know something that makes Lauren Myracle even more awesome? I mean, moreso than just authoring the darn book makes her?
Instead of throwing a fit when she was asked to withdraw her book from the shortlist, she suggested that, to make up for their mistake, the NBA make a $5000 donation to the Matthew Shepard Foundation, a charity focused on respecting human dignity among young people. And they agreed.
So, even though Ms. Myracle already classed up this whole disaster a lot more than anyone would have expected her to, I'd like to do my part to class it up just a little bit more.
I'm giving away a copy of SHINE to one commenter on this post. Extra entry for tweeting about it with the hashtag #isupportshine. (Just leave a separate comment with the link to your tweet.)
You don't have to follow this blog, because that's not what this is about. It's about getting at least one more copy of this book out into the hands of readers, and passing the word on about what an incredible example Lauren Myracle, her classiness, her talent, and her bravery is to all of us.
(I'll also make a donation to the Matthew Shepard Foundation proportional to the number of commenters on this post. I was going to say $1/person, but if I freakishly got like 1000 commenters that's really not in the budget. You get it.)