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Review GPA: SHINE SHINE SHINE by Lydia Netzer

In Review GPA, we translate reviews of notable new books into letter grades and determine a grade point average.

Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer

Publication Date: July 27, 2012

Genre: Literary Fiction

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publisher’s Synopsis:

When Maxon met Sunny, he was seven years, four months, and eighteen-days old. Or, he was 2693 rotations of the earth old. Maxon was different. Sunny was different. They were different together.

Now, twenty years later, they are married, and Sunny wants, more than anything, to be “normal.” She’s got the housewife thing down perfectly, but Maxon, a genius engineer, is on a NASA mission to the moon, programming robots for a new colony. Once they were two outcasts who found unlikely love in each other: a wondrous, strange relationship formed from urgent desire for connection. But now they’re parents to an autistic son. And Sunny is pregnant again. And her mother is dying in the hospital. Their marriage is on the brink of imploding, and they’re at each other’s throats with blame and fear. What exactly has gone wrong?

Sunny wishes Maxon would turn the rocket around and come straight-the-hell home. When an accident in space puts the mission in peril, everything Sunny and Maxon have built hangs in the balance. Dark secrets, long-forgotten murders, and a blond wig all come tumbling to the light. And nothing will ever be the same.…

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Janet Maslin, in The New York Times:

Gold Star:

Ms. Netzer’s very first book gives chick lit a metaphysical spin. Like Sunny herself, it is a distinct anomaly. And a reader-friendly one.

Demerit:

None

Grade: B+

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Sam Sacks, in The Wall Street Journal

Gold Star:

The book’s unpredictable plot twists have a way of spurring Sunny and her clan to action that makes these people seem idiosyncratically human rather than just implausible. Theirs is a refreshingly weird story about the exuberant weirdness of familial love.

Demerit:

None

Grade: A-

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From The Boston Globe Review

Gold Star:

Moving back and forth in time, Netzer sketches a narrative both realistic and lyrical. Sunny and Maxon’s love story is deeply strange yet utterly convincing. Like so much in this lovely book, it’s the weirdness that makes it feel real.

Demerit:

None.

Grade: A-

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Yvonne Zip, in The Washington Post

Gold Star:

 “Shine Shine Shine” breaks free of the gravitational pull of traditional romantic cliches.

Demerit:

None

Grade: A-

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Liesel Schillinger, in The New York Times

Gold Star

…stellar, thought-provoking debut.

Demerit

None

Grade: A

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Review GPA: A- (3.68)