RayaAlso joining our review team is Raya Carrillo! Raya is a fourteen-year-old kitty lover who dreams to fulfil her bucket list which includes travelling around Europe by train and one day publish her own book. She was part of the PDI’s Junior Inquirer and has since been writing stories online.

For her first post, she lays out what she thinks of Candy Gourlay’s young adult novel, Shine (David Fickling Books, 2013). She read the Philippine edition published by Anvil Publishing House (2014).


Who wouldn’t want the cool weather, the smell of wet plants, and the sound of the rain pouring? Those moments you allow yourself to put on some sentimental music and look out the window pretending you’re in a music video. This is rain for some of us.

But for Rosa, the rain is an everlasting shower that clouds her strange island called Mirasol into darkness. The sun almost never shines in her town. To make things worse, Rosa has a rare condition called “The Calm.” She has never uttered a word in her life, an effect of an ugly scar on her throat.

Things begin to brighten up when she starts chatting with Ansel95, a marvellous photographer who might just become her first ever real life friend, and when her dead mother suddenly appears on their front door.

This is Shine, written by the award-winning author, Candy Gourlay.





Shine is one of the few books I just could not put down. Every moment after I started reading it, my mind was lingering with thoughts about the story. My fingers were itching to start turning pages and find out what was going on that I finished the book in less than a day. Well, eight hours to be exact.

Every time I would turn a page, the story just gets better and better. Maybe it was the mysteries the story has yet to unfold, like who is the person behind Ansel95.  Maybe it was the horror stories so well told by Rosas’ yaya that I had to check my back at night. Or maybe it was the excitement of finding out more about the characters and how it would all end up.

This book is definitely going on my shelf of all-time-favourites.





Though the writing style is unusual, it actually makes Shine interesting. There are a few chapters that are written in a different font, which signals the shift in point-of-view. Every page I turn makes me understand the unknown point-of-view even more. This style adds to the already compelling mystery of the book.

If there is one thing I loathed about the book is that 217 pages of it was not enough. I found myself hoping a bonus page was hidden behind the dedications but sadly there was none. I now find myself regretting my decision of letting my curiosity take over and finish the book quickly. But I still am happy that every word seeped through me beautifully and that the story didn’t disappoint one inch of my mind.


Pictures of the UK and Philippine editions of Shine are from Candy Gourlay’s site.