Mercy Creek

So, I just finished reading Mercy Creek by Matt Matthews–which is good since I’ll be meeting the author tomorrow night.  (He lives just a few miles away from me, so a bunch of librarians and teachers are joining him for dinner and a discussion of his book.)  Should be interesting…

Mercy Creek takes place in a sleepy Virginia town where things haven’t changed much in the last fifty years or so.  The same families live in the same houses, attend the same churches, and hold onto the same old grudges and secrets.  Sixteen-year-old Isaac has lived in this town his entire life.  His father is the local Presbyterian minister, his mother recently passed away, his girlfriend is drifting away from him, and his summer is filled with working at a hardware store instead of playing baseball with this friends.  The only bright spot that Isaac can see is the $5,000 reward being offered to whoever can find who’s responsible for a recent string of vandalism.  That money would go a long way to making Isaac a little happier.  But can he find out what’s going on…without risking his neck?

As Isaac begins digging for information, he comes across some unexpected secrets in his small town.  Prejudices that no one wants to admit to.  Atrocities that the whole town has turned a blind eye to for decades.  Isaac keeps searching for answers amid all of the secrecy, and he finds something he didn’t expect.  Himself.  His hunt for the truth forces him to grow into the person he wants to be instead of the one he’s been since his mother died.  He also finds a friend in someone who knows more about what’s going on in this town than he’s saying.  Can Isaac find the truth before someone gets hurt?  And can he learn to accept the changes around him, including those within his own life?  Read Mercy Creek by Matt Matthews to find out.

I’ll admit to you, dear readers, that it took me a while to get into this book.  It seemed to jump around a lot at the beginning.  (Of course, I was reading an uncorrected proof of the book, so those issues may have been fixed in editing.  I hope so.)  As I kept reading, however, the story grew more interesting, especially since Isaac’s town has a lot in common with the small town I grew up in (and still live in).  Prejudices run deep, and they’re often passed on to the younger generations.  It’s nice to read a book that exposes those prejudices for what they are–complete and total ignorance–while not being too preachy (which is odd since the author of this book is actually a preacher).

I look forward to meeting Matt Matthews, author of Mercy Creek, tomorrow night.  I’ll post a recap of that meeting in the comments, so stay tuned!

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2 comments on “Mercy Creek

  1. It was really cool to meet Matt Matthews last night. He was super nice and very appreciative of my review of his book on this blog. He did a reading of a very memorable scene from the book and then had a brief question and answer session. He talked about his writing process, his inspirations for the characters, and the relationship between Isaac and Eddie in the book.

    Some audience members suggested that this story could continue in a sequel (like so many YA novels). I, for one, disagree. I think Mr. Matthews told the story he needed to tell with Isaac, and readers can use their own imaginations to continue Isaac’s journey. But what do I know.

    After a book discussion and lovely dinner (at the Olympian in Greenville, SC), Mr. Matthews did a book signing. He was appreciative of his readers and encouraged us to share this book with others. All in all, it was a very pleasant evening! Kudos to Kathleen Carey, librarian at Greenville Middle, for setting this up!

  2. Jen says:

    Hello, based on the books you’ve really liked, I have to ask..have you ever read any of Neal Shusterman’s books? Particularly the Skinjacker trilogy or Unwind? Give them a look 🙂 You might like them.

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