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Extended Audio Sample Shine Shine Shine, 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:
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What does it mean to be normal? This is the story of two odd children who grew up and fell in love, the way they fit and the way they fell apart, how he became an astronaut lost in space, and she became the perfect wife whose “perfect” wasn’t real. A debut of singular power and intelligence, Lydia Netzer’s Shine Shine Shine is an adventure between worlds, and a stunning novel of love, death, and what it means to be human.

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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.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “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.”


  • “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.”


  • “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

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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