The Unraveling of Mercy Louis

The Unraveling of Mercy Louis In this intricate novel of psychological suspense a fatal discovery near the high school ignites a witch hunt in a Southeast Texas refinery town unearthing communal and family secrets that threaten

  • Title: The Unraveling of Mercy Louis
  • Author: Keija Parssinen
  • ISBN: 9780062319104
  • Page: 357
  • Format: Paperback
  • In this intricate novel of psychological suspense, a fatal discovery near the high school ignites a witch hunt in a Southeast Texas refinery town, unearthing communal and family secrets that threaten the lives of the town s girls.In Port Sabine, the air is thick with oil, superstition reigns, and dreams hang on making a winning play All eyes are on Mercy Louis, the star oIn this intricate novel of psychological suspense, a fatal discovery near the high school ignites a witch hunt in a Southeast Texas refinery town, unearthing communal and family secrets that threaten the lives of the town s girls.In Port Sabine, the air is thick with oil, superstition reigns, and dreams hang on making a winning play All eyes are on Mercy Louis, the star of the championship girls basketball team Mercy seems destined for greatness, but the road out of town is riddled with obstacles There is her grandmother, Evelia, a strict evangelical who has visions of an imminent Rapture and sees herself as the keeper of Mercy s virtue There are the cryptic letters from Charmaine, the mother who abandoned Mercy at birth And then there s Travis, the boy who shakes the foundation of her faith.At the periphery of Mercy s world floats team manager Illa Stark, a lonely wallflower whose days are spent caring for a depressed mother crippled in a refinery accident Like the rest of the town, Illa is spellbound by Mercy s beauty and talent, but a note discovered in Mercy s gym locker reveals that her life may not be as perfect as it appears.The last day of school brings the disturbing discovery, and as summer unfolds and the police investigate, every girl becomes a suspect When Mercy collapses on the opening night of the season, Evelia prophesies that she is only the first to fall, and soon, other girls are afflicted by the mysterious condition, sending the town into a tailspin, and bringing Illa and Mercy together in an unexpected way.Evocative and unsettling, The Unraveling of Mercy Louis charts the downfall of one town s golden girl while exploring the brutality and anxieties of girlhood in America.

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      Published :2018-09-15T03:00:01+00:00

    One thought on “The Unraveling of Mercy Louis

    1. Diane S ☔

      In the description of this novel it says it is a chilling book of psychological suspense, because of a discovery made. While this discovery is very sad, what I found the most chilling was the way the girls were treated in this town. Port Sabine, Texas, on the Gulf coast is a oil refinery town trying to recover from an explosion that devastated many years earlier. Mercy and the Lady Rays basketball team are the hope of the town, and Mercy herself is revered fro her basketball talent. But below th [...]

    2. Nancy Kho

      I ripped through this book in two days, captivated by the small, creepy, entirely believable world of Port Sabine created by Keija Parssinen. From the first few pages I felt a stake in what would happen to Mercy Louis, the basketball playing teenage girl whose God-fearing grandma protects her from the larger world, and the inevitable clashes as Mercy yearns for those things - love, affection, respect - she senses her grandmother is also preventing from reaching her. Every character is unique, fu [...]

    3. Ann Imig

      Keija Parssinen is an incredible writer and storyteller. "The Ruins of Us" was simultaneously beautiful and shattering, and "The Unraveling of Mercy Louis" possesses a similar quality but with even more mystery and edge. This novel is one part The Crucible, one part Eleanor and Park, and a little Louise Erdrich, too, in terms of rich settings and family dynamics. Parssinen transports you to teenaged life in small town Texas, and presents the evangelical and psychic/psychological with nuance and [...]

    4. Tarja

      An amazing read - full of suspense, poetically written, fully satisfying in every sense. "The Unraveling of Mercy Louis" is a literary thriller and underneath all the twists and turns, a story about mothers and daughters. The characters and their relationships are rich and complex and Parssinen tackles tough issues with insight and sensitivity. As a side note, I absolutely loved the role that basketball plays in the book - almost like a character itself. The author also paints a portrait of high [...]

    5. Albert

      The Unraveling of Mercy Louis by Keija Parssinen is one of those rare gems that hits every note in prose, in social relevance and in story telling. It is the kind of book that will, by its very nature convince you of the darkness in the world around you, and the even bleaker and deeper darkness of the human heart. You will read this book and say to yourself that these people cannot exist, but they do. You will tell yourself that it is only because they are uneducated or religious fanatics and no [...]

    6. Mary White

      The plot of Keija Parssinen’s debut novel, The Unraveling of Mercy Louis, bears some striking resemblances to a release from last summer, The Fever by Megan Abbott. Both books are set in a smallish town and focus on a coterie of teenage girls afflicted, one by one, with a mysterious illness. In both towns, there is the question of an environmental pollutant and the intense reactions of the town’s inhabitants. Both novels attempt to submerge the reader into the stew of the anxiety, fear and s [...]

    7. Barbara

      3.5 stars: Keija Parssinen uses two teenage girls to tell her story. As a result, the novel is somewhat simplistically written (no profound locution or insights). For this novel, it worked for me because Parssinen is telling a complicated story of religion, small town politics, and the power of adult influences/expectations on adolescent girls.Mercy is the girl’s basketball hero growing up in a small town and an extremely Christian religious environment. Most of the town expects The Rapture to [...]

    8. Bibliophile

      Great writing, fully realized characters and complex relationships make this one of the best novels I've read this year. This is as much a coming-of-age tale as it is a literary thriller. The starting point of the story is a crime, but the focus is Mercy Louis, high school basketball star in a small town in Texas. Raised by a savagely religious grandmother, she is cripplingly innocent and inadequately equipped to handle normal teen stuff, not to mention letters from her absent drug addict mother [...]

    9. Nicole Shaw

      The novel has a slow burn. It heats up at a steady pace that traps the reader in a satisfying, tense read. The raw and disturbing crime Parssinen sets up at the novel’s start has nothing on the fraught drama of Mercy Louis’s coming of age. This is a book I was riveted to in the most literal sense, carrying it from room to room so I could steal into the pages during odd moments. Its magnetism is in its realism and relatability and the smudged and dirty hope we get to polish into something pre [...]

    10. Heather L

      Not too often, there are books that come around which make you sad when you have finished it. After all this time and emotion I've invested, for it to end and go on to the next book, I feel like I'm abandoning these characters. I want to let it sink in and appreciate the value of it all. This was a good one, but I only rate it 3.5 stars.Here's why:First we have Mercy, the golden girl and an all-around great kid. She is kind and respectful. She's a typical teenage girl struggling with her body an [...]

    11. Jenna

      In terms of theme and subject, this book has been compared to The Fever, by Megan Abbott, which was one of my favorite new releases of last year. I gave All The Stars to The Fever, but I didn't like this one anywhere nearly as much. However, I recognize that others might like it, and it's possible that this book will satisfy those who didn't enjoy The Fever, and vice versa. So, I'm not going to go into a lot of detail in this review, but just provide a quick rundown of pros and cons.Pros:-Subjec [...]

    12. Tara - Running 'n' Reading

      Wow. I have to admit that I am intimately connected with this story; Port Sabine, Texas is a fictitious amalgam of the area that constitutes the Golden Triangle in southeast Texas - the cities of Beaumont, Port Arthur and Orange - and it is the area in which I was raised. It closely borders the state of Louisiana and, as such, lots of Cajun and Creole influences cross over into the area; I'm sure I never realized how unique an area it really is, until after I'd moved away for college and discove [...]

    13. Taryn Pierson

      One of the weirder books I've read this year. Set in Port Sabine, an oil town on the Gulf of Mexico that seems to be modeled on Port Arthur, Texas, Parssinen's novel is an eerie and unsettling look at a life shaped by sports, religion, and most of all, lies.Mercy Louis is the star player on her high school basketball team. She lives with her grandmother, whose brand of religion is a lot bigger on eternal suffering than it is on grace. Her strict morals have been pounded into Mercy's head so hard [...]

    14. Allison Hiltz

      Oh, Mercy Louis – how I love you. You dribbled your way into my heart and I have so many feelings about you and your journey that I don’t know where to start. I suppose I’ll start with a quick synopsis about this wonderful book by Keija Parssinen. It’s about a small refinery left reeling from an environmental incident and their golden girl basketball star, Mercy Louis. Mercy is the quintessential good girl living – smart, talented, and with an incredible worth ethic. Oh, and she lives [...]

    15. Trixie Fontaine

      I really liked this book. It felt more lifetime-movie-ish in the wrap-ups at the end than I expected, but then reading the extra insights about how her righteous rage inspired the book reinforced how much there is to appreciate about it, in particular because none of that judgemental rage shows through in the tone of the book itself; it was beautiful, loving, kind and touch- and sex-positive. I loved how much love, admiration and attraction there was between boys and girls, girls and girls, mot [...]

    16. Laura

      Sigh. Not only do we have two POVs, we have two different types: one first person, one third. It's not just adjusting to the new person, it's adjusting to a different writing. Sigh. And, of course, when you're writing in the first person, the first trick should be to make the characters sound different - not the case here. Mercy's voice is too sophisticated, to writerly, much better suited for a third person voice than first. Illa's makes sense the way she's written, but not Mercy.So, the plot. [...]

    17. Rita Arens

      Literary and page-turning at the same time. Keija Parssinen tells the bizarre and beautifully written tale of Mercy Louis from the POV of Mercy (first) and the soon-to-become-very-involved manager of her high school basketball team (third). There is so much here: the thrill of sport, a coach's place in a teen's life, first love, the complexity of lifelong friendships, difficult mother/daughter relationships, religion, Y2K fear, environmental and financial distress, fear of the community outlier, [...]

    18. Sarah at Sarah's Book Shelves

      The Unraveling of Mercy Louis is one of those books that is incredibly hard to categorize…which is a good thing in my view! It’s a mash-up of coming of age, suspense, sports, economic tension, Southern culture (it’s set in Texas, but feels more like Louisiana), and religion gone wrong…all gorgeously written. It completely surprised me and I loved it, mainly because it included five things that I’m a total sucker for…To continue reading this review, visit my blog: sarahsbookshelves/fi [...]

    19. Leah (Books Speak Volumes)

      On the last day of school in 1999 Port Sabine, a fetal corpse is found in a dumpster near the high school. The discovery rocks the deeply religious oil refinery town, and every female student is viewed with suspicion. One of the girls embroiled in this mystery is Mercy Louis. A basketball star with stunning good looks and a virtuous reputation, she is the town’s golden girl. But behind her luminous exterior lurks a difficult personal life. After being abandoned by her mother, Charmaine, who is [...]

    20. Rick Urban

      In “The Unravelling of Mercy Louis”, author Keija Parssinen weaves such disparate elements as girls’ high school basketball, small-town misogyny, religious fundamentalism, political corruption and first love into a gripping, suspenseful, allegorical retelling of the story of the Salem witch trials. While Parssinen’s tale takes a while to build steam, and can seem at times overstuffed in its juggling of thematic elements, once the book takes off, it becomes a page-turning, yet deeply-felt [...]

    21. Renae Pérez

      It begins with a baby in a dumpster. What follows is a spellbinding exploration of the patriarchy at work and how a town can turn against itself, tearing down the children it’s supposed to protect in its search for “justice”. The Unraveling of Mercy Louis is a suspenseful, brutal coming of age story, one that author Keija Parssinen executes with sharp skill.This is the kind of book that creeps up on its readers—aside from the eventful prologue, the author sets the scene amid the lazy, sw [...]

    22. Bill Wolfe

      See my full review at my blog about literary fiction by women, Read Her Like an Open Book. wp/p3EtWm-vzSeventeen-year-old high school senior Mercy Louis is a star in her hometown of Port Sabine, Texas. She is the best basketball player in the school’s history and one of the best in the state. She is popular despite being a quiet and serious young lady with little social life. For, as much as she may be admired, everyone knows her story: her teenager mother, Charmaine Boudreaux, abandoned her a [...]

    23. cheryl

      Mercy Louis is a star, Illa is not. Mercy lead the basketball team to the championship game last season where they had an unheard of loss that weighs on her since. Illa is the team manager who passes through most of her days feeling utterly invisible. The book alternates between the two girls as they go through the last summer of high school and into their senior year. Both have complex relationships with their guardians with Mercy's grandmother convinced 12/31/1999 will be the end of days and I [...]

    24. Sheryl

      Ms. Parssinen has really got the heartbeat down on small towns in Texas, where high school sports are the biggest thing going on. Mercy Louis is in her junior year of high school, the star player of the championship girl's basketball team. She is a being raised by her grandmother, who is extremely religious beyond the extreme. She claims to be a seer and she is convinced that the Rapture will happen at the end of the year.A store keeper finds something on the last day of school, that shakes this [...]

    25. Weston High School Library

      An unusual coming of age novel, a mix of mystery, sports, gender, religion, and Southern atmospherics. I came to love the main character, Mercy Louis, a star high school basketball player, raised by her ultra religious grandmother in an oil refinery town in south Texas. Mercy is focused, hardworking and determined to make the most of her difficult circumstances by getting a basketball scholarship to a top school.Mercy's struggle lies with the conservative values of her town, where girls are judg [...]

    26. Sara Cutaia

      This is the type of book that has it all, and is *for* all. It's literary and a suspenseful page-turner, poetically beautiful and simply understood, deeply moving and comically lovely. Mercy Louis's story takes place in South Texas, and the refinery town of Port Sabine is small and tight-knit, with the best and worst consequences that come with those characteristics coming into play in a big way. An over-protective, god-fearing grandmother has been keeping secrets from Mercy since she was born, [...]

    27. Leila

      I"d rate this about 3.5 stars. It's a good, satisfying, and quick read. There was much I liked about this novel-- the atmospheric Southern Gothic setting, the suspenseful plot, and the echoes of The Crucible, in particular. And certainly I appreciated Parssinen's thoughtful exploration of what it means to be a girl in a restrictive society (as one character memorably notes, "Around here, you'd think being a girl was the fucking crime."). A few elements didn't work quite as well for me for examp [...]

    28. Greta

      Keija Parssinen’s writing is intelligent and thoughtful, forcing the reader to think along the way, getting wrapped up in the setting and the characters. Only in the very first transition between the first person Mercy chapters and the third person Illa chapters did I pause…the rest of the transitions were easy, thanks to Keija’s graceful writing. Mercy truly is the center of the story, and her “unraveling” sends Illa and the rest of the residents of the town into a tailspin, while the [...]

    29. Jan

      This novel is one of the winners of the YALSA's Alex Award, an award that honors adult books with teen appeal. The main character, Mercy Louis, is a star basketball player who lives with her fundamentalist Christian grandmother. Mercy is urged by her basketball coach and her grandmother to live a "clean" life, a life, ultimately, without joy. Mercy's best friend lives in a completely opposite way, but Mercy feels a strong connection with her. When a newborn infant is found dead in a trash bin, t [...]

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