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Extended Audio Sample Shine Shine Shine: A Novel Audiobook, by Lydia Netzer Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,542 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Lydia Netzer Narrator: Joshilyn Jackson Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2012 ISBN: 9781427221407
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A New York Times Notable Book!

"Over the moon with a metaphysical spin. Heart-tugging…it is struggling to understand the physical realities of life and the nature of what makes us human….Nicely unpredictable…Extraordinary." —Janet Maslin, The New York Times

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.…
A debut of singular power and intelligence, Shine Shine Shine is a unique love story, an adventure between worlds, and a stunning novel of love, death, and what it means to be human.

Shine Shine Shine is a New York Times Notable Book of 2012.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Netzer's storytelling method is as poetic as her language. She slowly assembles a multitude of pinpoint insights that converge to form a glimmering constellation...a stellar, thought-provoking debut The New York Times Book Review
  • Over the moon with a metaphysical spin. Heart-tugging…it is struggling to understand the physical realities of life and the nature of what makes us human….Nicely unpredictable…Extraordinary. Janet Maslin, The New York Times
  • You're pulled into the drama through the incredible natural beauty of her writing … deftly and wittily done … people say her style reminds them of Anne Tyler, but she reminded me a little bit more of Don DeLillo. Liesl Schillinger, The New York Times Book Review Podcast
  • Entirely winning…a refreshingly weird story about the exuberant weirdness of familial love. The Wall Street Journal
  • Netzer deftly illuminates the bonds that transcend shortcomings and tragedy. Characterized by finely textured emotions and dramatic storytelling, Netzer's world will draw readers happily into its orbit. Publishers Weekly
  • Netzer has beautifully crafted an original story with a cast of characters who make up an unconventional but strangely believable family...This story will shine, shine, shine for all adult readers. Library Journal, starred review
  • The novel traces Maxon and Sunny's relationship from their childhoods in Burma and Appalachia to outer space, revealing the futility of chasing an ideal of what's normal…Shine Shine Shine breaks free of the gravitational pull of traditional romantic clichés. The Washington Post
  • Lydia Netzer's luminous debut novel concerns what lies beneath society's pretty surfaces -- Sunny's congenital hairlessness, her husband's remoteness, their son's autism. What makes it unexpectedly moving is how skillfully Netzer then peels back those layers, finding heartbreaking depth even in characters who lack ordinary social skills. The Boston Globe
  • Netzer has penned a modern take on alienation, building a family, making connections -- creating memorable characters and an odd, idiosyncratic, but highly believable narrative along the way. The Toronto Star
  • Netzer uses [Sunny and Maxon] to explore the limits of love, family and what it is that makes us human and to create a tale that is utterly compelling and original. Chatelaine
  • There are certain novels that are just twisty, delightfully so. Shine Shine Shine is one. In this first novel, Lydia Netzer takes a hard look at being completely human through the eyes of two people who are kinda not…Shine Shine Shine may ask an old question. But Netzer's answer to how to be who you are is fresh from the heart. New York Daily News
  • Netzer's first novel, the wacky, touching and deliciously readable Shine Shine Shine, draws heavily on her own unconventional life…this unassuming novelist… is the ‘it' girl of contemporary literature. Kerry Dougherty, The Virginian Pilot
  • [Sunny and Maxon's] peculiarities form an endearing story in Shine Shine Shine, Norfolk resident Lydia Netzer's first -- and amazingly inventive -- novel. . . . Netzer's munificence of spirit lights her story with compassion. . . . Shine Shine Shine transcends not only geography, whether in Burma, Pennsylvania, Norfolk or outer space, but also the science and the struggles, the weirdness and the woe; it aims straight for the heart and the humanity that unites us all. Netzer, whose imagination knows no limits, infuses her debut with love -- and reminds us that normalcy can be vastly overrated. The Richmond Times-Dispatch
  • This is a novel about the strangeness of being human. Lydia Netzer says she wrote it when she was pregnant with her first child and feeling "paralysed with fear that I was too weird, too self-absorbed, too unskilled to have a child, and that whatever baby had the bad luck to be born of my uterus would be permanently scarred by my failings". Hopefully, she feels better now. Or at least, a lot less alone in her imagined weirdness. After meeting Sunny and Maxon, I know I do. The Independent
  • Shine Shine Shine is a novel…but "Shine, Shine, Shine" could easily refer to Netzer's writing abilities, the way she handles the craft of storytelling, and the way her novel captures and holds the reader's attention…Netzer is a master storyteller. She leads the reader through a landscape full of beauty and charged with pitfalls, actual and emotional, while holding your eyes to the page, and your fingers itching to turn to the next page. Sparkling Diversity column, The Virginian Pilot
  • At its considerable heart, Shine Shine Shine is about birth, and as such it is profoundly a feminine novel. Netzer keeps the novel nicely balanced and accessible to male readers, however, by dissociating birth from purely biological terms and recasting it as psychological, spiritual, sexual and technological. It's a heady plateful to be sure, but Netzer handles it with a strong voice. Brent Andrew Bowles, The Virginian Pilot
  • I can't say enough good things about Shine Shine Shine, and it's almost impossible to put the book down once you crack it open. Well-paced, well-plotted, and told with a fresh, lyrical and bold narrative style, Netzer's debut novel is compelling, smart, strange and enjoyable. It shines as brightly as Sunny's bald head and the luminous stars Maxon sees in space. Sarah Rachel Egelman, TheBookReporter.com
  • Shine Shine Shine is an exquisitely written debut novel about family. All of Netzer's characters are quirky and unique, as well as damaged. Not every novel features a bald Caucasian woman, born in Burma, who is married to a rocket scientist on the autism spectrum. Even so, Shine Shine Shine is never quirky for the sake of quirkiness -- Sunny, Maxon and all of the supporting characters are fully fledged and realistic so that they draw the reader in almost immediately with their strong and life-like voices. A story of personal growth and discovery that is unlike any you have read before, Shine Shine Shine will not fail to entertain and move you. SheKnows.com
  • A funny, compelling love story from the freshest voice I've heard in years. Shine Shine Shine picked me up and left me changed in ways I never expected. Intelligent, emotional, and relentlessly new, Netzer answers questions you didn't know you were already asking and delivers an unforgettable take on what it means to love, to be a mother, and to be human. Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants and Ape House
  • From the icy dead surface of the moon to the hot center of the human heart, Lydia Netzer's debut novel takes you on a rocket ride that will rattle your bones. Part science fiction, part pure magic of the human kind, Netzer makes a book that is wholly her own, and endlessly fascinating. At every turn, you think she cannot astonish you again, and then she does it one more time. And then again and again and again. This is an astounding first novel by a writer who is unique in her immense gifts. Robert Goolrick, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Reliable Wife
  • Creating one of the most compelling protagonists I've read in a long time, Lydia Netzer manages to capture the outsider in each of us. Whether looking at the moon, a child, the suburban landscape, or the face in the mirror, Netzer shows us something we've never seen before, something we thought we knew. A beautifully written story where the exception proves the rule: the things that seem to divide us are, ultimately, the very things that unite us. Brunonia Barry, New York Times bestselling author of The Lace Reader and The Map of True Places.
  • A perfectly structured gem of a book that held me spellbound as I unraveled the twisted histories of this unconventional family. You've never read anything like it, and yet Sunny's story is every woman's story. We are all outsiders, all alone in space, all trying so hard to find a place called home. I loved this book. Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of Gods in Alabama and Backseat Saints
  • An astronaut, an autistic child, a bald woman and a meteor collide, churning up the ground around a couple of decades-old murders. Life and death intersect in this wildly inventive love story I will be talking about and thinking about for years to come. If Yann Martel and Mary Gaitskill had a literary baby, it would look a lot like Lydia Netzer. Karen Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of Sin in the Second City and American Rose

  • “Netzer’s storytelling method is as poetic as her language. She slowly assembles a multitude of pinpoint insights that converge to form a glimmering constellation…A stellar, thought-provoking debut.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “While Jackson conveys all the book's humor, her reading is also full of empathy, and she brings out the characters' underlying humanity. This masterful, flawless narration of an imaginative novel is something special and not to be missed. Publishers Weekly on Shine Shine Shine, a Publishers Weekly ‘Best Audiobook of the Year', 2012

  • Not only entertaining, but nuanced and wise…blending wit and imagination with an oddly mesmerizing, matter-of-fact cadence, Netzer's debut is a delightfully unique love story and a resounding paean to individuality. People (People Pick)
  • “Entirely winning…A refreshingly weird story about the exuberant weirdness of familial love.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “The novel traces Maxon and Sunny’s relationship from their childhoods in Burma and Appalachia to outer space, revealing the futility of chasing an ideal of what’s normal…Shine Shine Shine breaks free of the gravitational pull of traditional romantic clichés.”

    Washington Post

  • “Lydia Netzer’s luminous debut novel concerns what lies beneath society’s pretty surfaces—Sunny’s congenital hairlessness, her husband’s remoteness, their son’s autism. What makes it unexpectedly moving is how skillfully Netzer then peels back those layers, finding heartbreaking depth even in characters who lack ordinary social skills.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Netzer has penned a modern take on alienation, building a family, making connections—creating memorable characters and an odd, idiosyncratic, but highly believable narrative along the way.”

    Toronto Star

  • “[Sunny and Maxon’s] peculiarities form an endearing story in Shine Shine Shine, Norfolk resident Lydia Netzer’s first—and amazingly inventive—novel…Netzer’s munificence of spirit lights her story with compassion…Shine Shine Shine transcends not only geography, whether in Burma, Pennsylvania, Norfolk, or outer space, but also the science and the struggles, the weirdness and the woe; it aims straight for the heart and the humanity that unites us all. Netzer, whose imagination knows no limits, infuses her debut with love—and reminds us that normalcy can be vastly overrated.”

    Richmond Times-Dispatch

  • “This is a novel about the strangeness of being human. Lydia Netzer says she wrote it when she was pregnant with her first child and feeling ‘paralyzed with fear that I was too weird, too self-absorbed, too unskilled to have a child, and that whatever baby had the bad luck to be born of my uterus would be permanently scarred by my failings.’ Hopefully, she feels better now. Or at least, a lot less alone in her imagined weirdness. After meeting Sunny and Maxon, I know I do.”

    Independent (London)

  • “I can’t say enough good things about Shine Shine Shine, and it’s almost impossible to put the book down once you crack it open. Well-paced, well-plotted, and told with a fresh, lyrical, and bold narrative style, Netzer’s debut novel is compelling, smart, strange, and enjoyable. It shines as brightly as Sunny’s bald head and the luminous stars Maxon sees in space.”

    Bookreporter

  • “Not only entertaining, but nuanced and wise…Blending wit and imagination with an oddly mesmerizing, matter-of-fact cadence, Netzer’s debut is a delightfully unique love story and a resounding paean to individuality.”

    People

  • “Netzer deftly illuminates the bonds that transcend shortcomings and tragedy. Characterized by finely textured emotions and dramatic storytelling, Netzer’s world will draw readers happily into its orbit.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Netzer has beautifully crafted an original story with a cast of characters who make up an unconventional but strangely believable family…This story will shine, shine, shine for all adult readers.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books, 2012
  • A Kirkus Reviews Top 25 Book, July 2012
  • Selected for the August 2012 Indie Next List
  • A 2012 Publishers Weekly Best Book
  • A 2012 Library Journal Best Book
  • A People Pick of the Week
  • A 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Fiction
  • Among longlisted titles for New York Times Book Review Notable Books of the Year, 2012
  • Among shortlisted titles for L.A. Times Book Prize - Finalist, 2013

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leslie | 2/19/2014

    " Delightfully quirky. Love the portrayals of autism and Aspergers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie | 2/18/2014

    " Really weird book....but I ended up loving it. Talk about looking at things from a completely different point of view. From a main character who is bald, with an autistic child, to her husband who is a genius and appears to have Asperger's Syndrome....I was constantly forced to see the connections between the humanity in each of us and the lack of humanity in things. Very cool. Reminded me of a guy from work. :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelly | 2/10/2014

    " Delightful story, written with depth, purpose, and creativity. The characters were unique but relate-able. Took me awhile to get into the story but couldn't put it down during the 2nd half. Dealt with love and death and living without normalcy. Recommend. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christen | 2/8/2014

    " After reading the first chapter or two of this odd quirky book I. wasn't sure if I was going to like it. But I really enjoyed it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marcella | 1/30/2014

    " Enjoyable and thoughtful book by a Virginia homeschool mom. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary Wilt | 1/28/2014

    " If you are like me, you tend to raise an eyebrow when every review of a book mentions code words like "offbeat" or "quirky". In this case, I'm glad I chose to ignore my inner snobby reader person and just pick it up and read it. The offbeat characters are offbeat only on the surface. Deeper down, they are real and finely drawn. Poignant story. Lovely. Read it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christine Davis Mantai | 1/19/2014

    " What a different kind of story. Loved the quirky characters. Loved the science. Her writing is lovely and funny. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anita | 12/31/2013

    " In a word ... beautiful! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beth O'grady | 12/15/2013

    " Really enjoyed this unusual book "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mayleen | 12/9/2013

    " I was pleasantly surprised. Had some substance. I didn't think all the oddities would work. Being born bald in burma. Father murdered. Mother dying. Husand on the Moon. Pregnant. Saved by creepy Les. Oh, autistic son. WOW. She tied it all together nicely. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica | 11/5/2013

    " This was interesting. I don't think I've read anything like it before. None of the characters were very likable, but the plot kept you reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judy Masters | 9/9/2013

    " Such a sweet book. I enjoyed every moment. Rare is there such a book that is modern and fun and makes you think, but not in a sad way. After reading The Age of Miracles, this book works well with a hopefulness needed today. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cheyenne | 7/11/2013

    " This is a very peculiar story. The characters were...awkward and I couldn't really relate to them and the decisions they made. There were a lot of flashbacks that messed up the flow and made the story choppy. At times, I really had to wonder if the character was dreaming or not. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Colleen Vlach | 5/17/2013

    " Very quirky, and I like quirky, but this was a little too much for me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Vicki L. | 4/8/2013

    " Stopped reading it after a while. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diana Kostas | 3/14/2013

    " I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Unlike any other book I've read.... fascinating, unique characters. Played upon the facades that people keep when trying to fit in, the challenges of motherhood, space travel, family secrets and on and on.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ruth Vanderhart | 12/17/2012

    " Seemed odd at first but ultimately that oddness became its charm. Quirky, unusual characters--reminded me of Anne Tyler, John Irving. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Noel Fernandez | 9/24/2012

    " This was a great book. Very internal and really made me think about the ways I try to "fit in." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jus Christian | 9/2/2012

    " "You can't kill yourself just by willing yourself dead. Eventually you pass out and start breathing again." "

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About the Author

Lydia Netzer was born in Detroit and educated in the Midwest. She lives in Virginia with her husband and two children. When she isn’t teaching, reading, or writing, she plays the guitar in a rock band.

About the Narrator

Joshilyn Jackson is the bestselling author of Backseat Saints, Gods in Alabama, Between, Georgia, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, and A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages and short-listed for the Townsend Prize. She won the SIBA Book Award for Fiction in 2005, and, as a former actor, was nominated for an Audie Award and received a Listen Up Award from Publishers Weekly.