Mercy Point by Anna Snoekstra

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Angus and Robertson, 2018. ISBN 9781460755754
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Themes: Mystery and suspense. Friendship. Five teens are best friends online, all convinced that they are adopted. When they finally meet they are shocked because at school they all hate each other. Michael is the school bully who gives Fabian a hard time. Emma is a know it all who can't stand Michael while Tessie is strange and doesn't fit in. Then there is Sam the mystery boy who has just appeared and seems determined to keep the group together, despite their differences and dislike of each other. But as they talk together they discover that the people who claim to be their parents are keeping secrets and the group gradually pieces together clues about what is going on.
This starts out as a traditional, suspenseful mystery, and the reader is kept glued to the page as each of the five main characters tell their stories about what is happening to them at school and why they believe that their parents are lying about their origins. It is easy to become very involved in the lives of these teens, their problems and their desire for the truth.
The results of their quest to uncover the secrets that are being hidden from them will shock and really surprise the reader. Without giving away the plot I can state that I certainly didn't expect the outcome, which left me reeling.
This is a riveting read and has many elements to recommend it. The characters are skilfully and sympathetically drawn, the plot is tense and the final chapters amazing. And the ending gives room for a sequel, which will please fans.
Pat Pledger