Shine by Lauren Myracle
Cat’s best friend (well, he was before she separated herself from the world these past couple of years) is savagely beaten and lies in a coma in the hospital. Patrick is the victim of a hate crime. He was beaten viciously because he is gay. Being gay in a small mountain town in backwoods North Carolina was difficult for Patrick but many thought he was accepted for who he was, including Patrick. Then this happens. Cat knows the local police personally and knows that they are inept. Therefore she decides to start asking around and learns what her friend’s life has been like and she begins to see the people around her more clearly and is frightened by what she sees.
This is a gritty and dark look at being a teenager in this part of the country where poverty is only a step away and once hardworking people turn to dealing and using meth to get by. This is a young adult novel, but I think anyone who reads realistic fiction and wants to know how other people survive the circumstances of their youth would get something out of this novel.