Monday, June 6, 2016

Down with the shine by Kate Karyus Quinn

Nearly six months ago Lennie's best friend Dylan went to a biker bar to meet a guy and never came home.  At first it looked as though Dylan had just gone away for a few days, shaking off authority like the wild child she is, but then her body is found in pieces and Lennie is considered a suspect in her death.  Fast forward to the now and Lennie is about to crash the ultimate high school party, her only hope of not being evicted as the social outcast she is are the jars of her uncles famous moonshine.  Her uncles are legends for their shine and Lennie has learned the rituals and words that make drinking the shine worthwhile - "May all your wishes come true, or at least just this one".  

What Lennie never realised is that the words aren't just words, they seal the bargain between the wisher ad the person granting the wish.  Her uncles always encouraged people to make small wishes, and the next morning Lennie realises exactly why that is.  Her wild wishes from the night before have all been granted - with some rather alarming and serious consequences.  Discovering you have supernatural abilities is never an easy thing - discovering that you have some serious mojo is seriously scary.  People Lennie loves are in danger and need her help, and one of those friends is the one she wished back from the dead.  They say you should be careful what you wish for - and now Lennie knows why.

I wasn't expecting much when I picked up Down with the shine, I expected to read a few chapters and then discard it - but instead I read it almost in one sitting as I just couldn't put it down.  Lennie was so down to earth and grounded, nothing seemed to phase her and she just got on with things rather than sulking or throwing her hands up in despair.  In some ways the book reminds me of the movie version of Practical magic - when the witch sisters bring someone back to life and both hilarity and spookiness ensue.  There are subtle strands to the story that make it more than just a teen romance, more than a coming of age story, more than a mean high school story, and more than just another supernatural read.  

This is a book with substance and class, and was far from the cliche I was expecting - so much so that I have requested other books by the author to see if this was a fluke or if she really is this talented about creating a world that is believable and unbelievable at the same time - with characters that you really care about.  Loads of fun to read and hopefully not a one off.

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Reviewed by Brilla

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