Reviewed by Meygan Cox
Sofia Flores is a new girl in town. Her mom is a nurse for the military, so Sofia is use to moving schools. In fact, she welcomes moving to a new town because she was bullied at her last school. On the first day, she meets a unique girl named Brooklyn. Just as Sofia and Brooklyn begin talking, a girl in the lunch room makes an announcement. When Brooklyn positions her fingers to make a gun and “shoots” the girl, it doesn’t take Sofia long to learn that Brooklyn does not like her. Sofia leaves the cafeteria and wanders out onto the football field where she is greeted by Riley—the girl that Brooklyn doesn’t like. Riley introduces her to her two best friends, Grace and Alexis, and tells Sofia that they use to be friends with Brooklyn until she started acting strangely and doing demonic stuff such as skinning and killing cats.
Riley asks Sofia if she has ever been saved and when she says no, the girls proceed to “baptize” her in a sink at school. Sofia is beyond happy because she has been taken in by a group of girls who want to “claim” her. In fact, they become such good friends that when Riley asks Sofia to spy on Brooklyn, Sofia is more than eager to do so. This becomes a decision she will soon regret.
For Halloween, I wanted to read a slasher story. I was looking for blood and guts action, perhaps a story that would make me turn on my night light, which I am proud to say that I didn’t have to use. However, I was more than pleased, and disturbed, by the amount of action and gore in Danielle Vega’s young adult novel The Merciless. This book has been described as being like the movie Mean Girls with an exorcism. I don’t think I could come up with a better description for this book.
This book says “For Mature Audiences” and that is very true. I have to say that I read this book with my mouth opened because I was so aghast by what I was reading. I mean, I know I wanted gore but this was a bit more graphic than I expected. Also, I wasn’t that impressed with the author’s writing style and use of description (just count how many times she writes, “I could feel the bile in my throat"). I didn’t find myself bored with the characters, but I was bored with the way their actions were being described. The ending was not what I expected, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A movie is in development, with the showrunner from the popular teen TV series Gossip Girls writing the script.
On a scale 1-5, I would rate this book a 2. Danielle Vega is a fan of Stephen King’s work and it shows. However, I wouldn’t recommend this book to every Stephen King fan I come across. The Merciless didn’t make my “Best Books Ever” list, but it certainly caught my attention and will make me forever question myself when choosing new friends.