Title: Mercy Point
Author: Anna Snoekstra
Published: June 18th 2018
Publisher: Harper Collins Books Australia
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Young Adult, Thriller
Rating: 3.5 stars
In real life, they are enemies. Emma the know-it-all, Michael the bully, Fabian the coward, Tessie the weirdo and Sam the mystery. Online they are best friends, with one big thing in common: they are all sure they are adopted.
When they finally meet, they are horrified to find that the people they have been sharing their souls with are the people they hate. They decide to never speak again.
But avoiding each other is difficult in a small mountain town with only one high school.
It’s also tough to ignore one another when they each begin to realise that what their parents are hiding is much more sinister than just adoption.
The five teenagers have a choice to make. Continue to live a lie, or come together to hunt down the truth, no matter how dangerous that may be. Because the real story of their parentage is much more terrifying than they ever could have imagined.
It is a secret that goes to the very heart of the town itself.
Mercy Point is an unsteady tale, full of twists and shocks. It is a novel that works to reveal the hidden secrets and core identity of a group of teens living in the small Australian town.The combination of diverse characters, the slow reveal of deeply entrenched town secrets and a rich atmosphere dripping in suspicion makes Mercy Point a riveting young adult based thriller.
Mercy Point examines the existence of an online community that are the very best of friends, but enemies in person. When five teens who have only connected via social media finally meet in person, they find the only thing they have in common is the fact that they might all be adopted. It is hard to avoid one another, especially when they live in such close proximity and attend the same school. However, the overwhelming feeling that their parents are concealing something to do with their parentage is difficult to sweep under the carpet. As the group begin to search for the truth behind the lies that they have been told, danger enters their lives. This terrifying secret strikes right at the heart of their town and its residents, including their parents. Mercy Point is a treacherous journey into discovering who you truly are.
I have loved both Little Secrets and Only Daughter, the adult fiction releases written by the author of Mercy Point, Anna Snoekstra. I was thrilled to see Anna Snoekstra embrace a different genre and extended her writing to the YA thriller genre.
One area in which Anna Snoekstra excels is in her establishment and continuation of her setting. I found this was the case in Snoekstra’s previous novel, Little Secrets. Mercy Point is defined by an eerie and suspicious atmosphere. There are lots of grey areas and unknowns. I thought Snoekstra treated this aspect of the novel very well and it worked to suck me in to the unfolding narrative.
The narrative itself is well written, engaging and intriguing. The format, dividing the narration between different points of view based on four key characters works to build a broad picture of the overall story scenario. The characters, all teens from the same high school, are deliberately polarised. We have a bossy figure, a bully, a loner and mysterious player. A breakfast club almost, set in an Australian small town in the present day. I appreciated Snoekstra’s treatment of these varying characters and the dynamics that came hand in hand with this eclectic group of protagonists.
Snoekstra taps into the here and now of a teen’s world in current times, but I am sure adults can relate. Snoekstra sets her characters up in an online community, she shows us how easy it is to develop strong bonds online and how much harder it is for our teens to deal with face to face interactions. This one is challenged further by the stifling small town atmosphere and the secrets surrounding the identity of each of these teens. Mercy Point travels in a heady forward direction, serving up some solid twists and interesting revelations. Towards to the close of the Mercy Point I felt the inclusion of a sci fi /fantasy based sub plot didn’t really appeal to me personally, but it may draw in fans of this genre. The ending is quite an abrupt cliff-hanger, which serves up the possibility for a series continuation, if Snoekstra chooses to go this way with her first foray into the YA thriller genre.
A book about identity, family, friendships, connection, trust, revelations, small town politics and explosive secrets construes Anna Snoekstra’s young adult first offering. Mercy Point is recommended for readers aged 14 and up.
Mercy Point by Anna Snoekstra was published on 18th June 2018 by Harper Collins Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Mercy Point, Anna Snoekstra visit here.
*I wish to thank Harper Collins Books Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.
Mercy Point, is book #80 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge