She certainly does. Shine. It’s the new book by Candy Gourlay. This time I was even more worried in case I wouldn’t like it. Shine is not the same as Tall Story, and all the better for having a mould of its own. But it has the same ‘love and laughter’ feel as Candy’s first novel.
Set in – I presume – the Philippines, with a nod to life in London, it might feel alien to me, but is what Candy knows, and that is always the best thing.
13-year-old Rosa has the Calm. This is something which prevents her from speaking, and she has some ugly marks on her throat. The Calm is also something that the people of Mirasol, where she lives, are so superstitious about that they will attack on sight.
So she stays in the house, where she is home educated by Yaya, and she can only go out at night, if she is careful. Rosa’s dead mother Kara also had the Calm, but her twin sister did not. Shine is a story told on two levels; Rosa’s current life, and Kara’s story of how she and her sister grew up.
There are ghosts. Or at least Yaya thinks so.
Rosa is lonely, and seeks companionship online, despite having been warned about the dangers of this. She meets a boy there. Is he going to be OK with what she’s like?
At this point the book took a completely new and very interesting turn. It has you laughing and crying at the same time. You despair at people’s prejudice. But then there are people who make you believe in humanity again.
I can’t tell you what style Shine is written in. You just don’t notice. It just feels perfect.