Genre: Young Adult/Fiction/Horror
Similar Writings: Guilt Trip by Maggy Farrell
Plot: Brooklyn Stevens sits in a pool of her own blood, tied up and gagged. No one outside of these dank basement walls knows she’s here. No one can hear her scream.
Sofia Flores knows she shouldn’t have gotten involved. When she befriended Riley, Grace, and Alexis on her first day at school, she admired them, with their perfect hair and their good-girl ways. They said they wanted to save Brooklyn. They wanted to help her. Sofia didn’t realize they believed Brooklyn was possessed.
Now, Riley and the girls are performing an exorcism on Brooklyn—but their idea of an exorcism is closer to torture than salvation. All Sofia wants is to get out of this house. But there is no way out. Sofia can’t go against the other girls…unless she wants to be next.
By the shockingly twisted end, readers will be faced with the most haunting question of all: Is there evil in all of us?
Opinion: The few times that I have seen this book at the bookstore, the pentagram on the cover was just SCREAMING at me to pick it up. Maybe it’s the “metal head” in me, or my obsession for anything with a little bit of evil in it, but I always noticed this book right away. The reason I never picked it up is because…well it’s f*****g pink. So I assumed it was a silly teen book about a girl who got dumped, got into Wicca and animal sacrifices, and tried to hex everyone. Yes, I did judge this book by its cover. Sue me. 😉 But then I got recommended it by a fellow bookstagrammer who said it is ALL kinds of twisted and demented, so I thought what the hell. Man oh Man, am I glad I finally bought this.
*Could we also just take a moment to appreciate the little upside down cross that the author put in her name on the cover? Perfect touch.
Sofia Flores has just started at another new school, befriending a group of three girls who are highly religious. However the three girls, Riley, Alexis, And Grace, believe that another girl in their class named Brooklyn is possessed by the devil. Brooklyn, who has a slightly edgier look with an “I don’t care” attitude, seemed pleasant enough to Sofia the few times they hung out together. But one night at a party the Brooklyn throws, Sofia sees Brooklyn making out with the boyfriend of her new friend, Riley. After Sofia confesses to Riley what happened, Riley insists that Brooklyn is evil and that they must perform an exorcism on her. After Riley brings Sofia to a deserted house and taken down to the basement, she finds out that the girls kidnapped Brooklyn and tied her up. As the girls start to perform the ritual, Sofia learns that they might be taking the situation much further than a pretend exorcism, and things start to turn gruesome. But with Riley calling the shots, and no way out of the home that they are torturing Brooklyn in, Sofia learns that she might be in over her head.
This book, gets REALLY creepy REALLY fast. Not only does the author give the reader a sense of mystery throughout the book, but I found that from the beginning the writing felt oddly disturbing and strange. From the slight looks that the characters would give each other, and the almost unnoticeable yet strange things they would say…this book was dripping in psychotic tendencies from the beginning.
What I loved about the characters was that you got a sense of knowing who they were, without getting too much overwhelming and useless information about them. Of course the obvious and typical themes were presented: the characters seem so pristine and innocent, and then you find out that they aren’t as perfect as they try to portray. There is quite a few twists and turns to keep you guessing, but the best part in any book is being surprised and that is exactly what happened for me. The author did a fantastic job of making me choose sides and then switch sides more than once, so clearly I was a little more than surprised with how the story ended. The character of Sofia reminded me a lot of the character of Melissa in the book Guilt Trip by Maggy Farrell, and not just because of the twists in both stories. I was constantly wondering why Sofia was being so casual about the torturing and not saying a word. I understand she was trying to be smart and to “play her cards right”, but I kept saying to myself SERIOUSLY girlfriend?! GET IT TOGETHER!
There were a few things that weren’t as “tied up” (pun intended) or concluded as much as I would have preferred. Why was Alexis pulling her hair out and losing her mind all of a sudden? I guess we can chalk it up to the fact that she just lost it, but she was just as into torturing Brooklyn as Riley was from the beginning. I am also wondering what happens to Sofia at the end after we learn the truth. There is a sequel to this book called Survive the Night, which I was hoping would take off from where The Merciless left off…but it is actually an entirely new story. So I guess I will just have to leave the ending as it is 😦 But nonetheless, I am VERY excited to start book two and to get back into being frightened and scared…I am thinking this will be a nice theme for me to stick with for October!
P.S. If you have already read this or want to find something similar, try giving Guilt Trip by Maggy Farrell a try. I promise you won’t be disappointed with that ending! You can see my review for Guilt Trip here.