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Mercy Point (Anna Snoekstra, HarperCollins)

Five teenagers living in a small town become anonymous online friends, without realising they hate each other in real life. The common thread they share is that they all believe they are adopted. When the inevitable meeting occurs, they are shocked to find out who they have been conversing with so freely. They decide to never speak to each other again. But you cannot avoid one another when you are all going to the same school, and now know intimate details of each other’s thoughts. This confusion is compounded by freak occurrences of sudden blindness, hearing anomalies and inexplicable body changes. Gradually they begin to discover that there is a far more terrifying mystery behind their parentage than first suspected. This is a fantastically gripping YA thriller, cleverly plotted and with believable teenaged protagonists. There is sympathy for the confusion, angst and growing pains of adolescence tinged with an edge of the paranormal. Anna Snoekstra also manages to weave a timely ecological twist into the plot, questioning the ethics of mining and the extent to which people will deny an uncomfortable truth. The conclusion is satisfying but also leaves room for a sequel, or perhaps even a trilogy. Mercy Point is a great YA read for fans of the ‘Illuminae’ or ‘Virals’ series.

Helene Ephraim is a freelance reviewer who has worked as a bookseller and librarian


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