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The Merciless Series, Book 1
Cover of The Merciless Series, Book 1
The Merciless Series, Book 1
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"The Merciless is chilling...think 'Mean Girls' meets 'The Exorcist.'"—MTV.com
"Pretty Little Liars fans, get a sneak peek at your new favorite book The Merciless...a nail biting thriller."Seventeen Magazine
Danielle Vega delivers blood-curdling suspense and terror on every page with The Merciless, a thrilling debut novel perfect for fans of Robin Wasserman's The Waking Dark and Neil Gaiman's Trigger Warning.
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?
From the Hardcover edition.
"The Merciless is chilling...think 'Mean Girls' meets 'The Exorcist.'"—MTV.com
"Pretty Little Liars fans, get a sneak peek at your new favorite book The Merciless...a nail biting thriller."Seventeen Magazine
Danielle Vega delivers blood-curdling suspense and terror on every page with The Merciless, a thrilling debut novel perfect for fans of Robin Wasserman's The Waking Dark and Neil Gaiman's Trigger Warning.
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?
From the Hardcover edition.
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Languages:-
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  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    710
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:
    3

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • From the book ***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof***

    Copyright © 2014 Alloy Entertainment

    C H A P T E R S I X

    "I still don't understand why it would bleed so much." Mom wraps up the chicken we just had for dinner in tinfoil while I fill the sink with soapy water and start the dishes. I shrug, staring at a folded dishtowel next to the sink. It's red and white with a picture of a rooster on it. "It was a really big zit," I say. I cleaned the blood from my face and covered the piercing with a Band-Aid before my mom saw it, but I've had to change the Band-Aid twice since she's been home. Already the new one is red with blood.

    Mom puts the chicken in the fridge, frowning as she closes the door. Our phone rings, and Mom leans over the counter and picks it up. "Flores residence," she answers. A tinny-sounding voice echoes from the other end of the receiver, and Mom smiles. "One moment. It's your friend Riley," she says, handing me the phone. "She says she has a homework question. Just don't take too long."

    I slip out the back door with the phone and curl up in the wooden chair on our patio. Our backyard stretches forever, without any streetlights or nearby houses to break it up. It's unnerving, like being walled in on all sides with empty space. Insects buzz restlessly, like white noise. I tuck my legs beneath me.

    "Riley?" I say into the phone.

    "Sof? I saw you with Brooklyn!" My stomach twists, but Riley continues talking before I can worry about whether she changed her mind about the spying. "Why didn't you tell me? What did you find out?"

    "Nothing, really. She took me with her to get a tattoo." I run a finger along the edge of the bandage on my forehead but decide to keep the details of my piercing to myself.

    "That's it?" Riley sounds disappointed. I lower my hand, quiet for a second as I try to work out what I want to say.

    "What did you expect me to find?" My voice comes out sharper than I intend, but I don't apologize for it. Riley said she was trying to help Brooklyn, but it sounds like she just wanted her to screw up.

    "She skinned a cat and left it outside our school." Riley's voice has an edge to it. "Or did you forget?"

    I press my lips together to keep myself from arguing. Riley thinks Brooklyn skinned that cat. Tattoos and cigarettes aren't in the same league as animal mutilation.

    Riley clears her throat.

    "Are you okay, Sof? She didn't hurt you, did she? Or manipulate you in some way?" The concern in Riley's voice is real, and suddenly I feel terrible. Riley's been a real friend to me since I got here, not Brooklyn. I exhale and shake my head, pulling at a piece of loose skin near my fingernail.

    "No, it was nothing like that. She was . . ." Cool. The word pops into my head uninvited. "She was weird," I finish instead.

    As the word leaves my mouth I realize it's just as true. Brooklyn was cool, but I get what Riley means— something about her did feel off. I think of her slender fingers on Santos's needles, her wolfish grin, and how she persuaded me so effortlessly to get a piercing. She made it too easy to be bad.

    "Maybe I'll find something better tomorrow," I mumble. There's a beat of silence. I clear my throat. "How are things between you and Josh?"

    "Oh, didn't you hear? We're all better now," Riley says. "He sent flowers to my class third period. Roses."

    "Wow. That's great."

    "Listen," Riley says before I can continue. "I just want to say I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable when I asked you to hang out with Brooklyn."

    "Riley, you didn't," I insist. "Really."

    "It's just that I think she really...

Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    May 15, 2014
    Mean Girls with an occult twist.Military kid Sofia Flores is used to moving around and always being on the outside, so she's happy to be embraced by the queen bees in her new high school in tiny Friend, Mississippi. She is a little sorry that Riley and her posse seem to have it in for friendly Brooklyn, but she goes along with them. Though she's been raised an unbeliever, her beloved grandmother, who lives with Sofia and her mom, is a devout Catholic; something in her responds when Riley decides to "save" her, baptizing her in the girls' room. What she sees at a party sets off a horrific series of events that ends with maimed and dead teenagers. The bulk of the book takes place in a secret hideout in an abandoned development, and it is there that the girls viciously, bloodily confront Brooklyn, the proceedings causing Sofia to question all her moral certainties (and her immediate survival). The book comes with a "for mature audiences only" label, and refreshingly, this is not a warning about sex but about protracted, unrelenting and graphically described violence. Vega works in the occult element coyly, giving readers and Sofia only glimpses of what may or may not be supernatural evil-but there's plenty of lovingly described, human-inflicted evil to keep strong-stomached readers occupied.It'll take a sturdy reader not to keep flinching-or put this exercise in sensation down altogether. (Horror. 16-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    June 1, 2014

    Gr 10 Up-Sofia just moved to a new town. With a mom who works for the military, this is nothing new. What sets this particular move apart is when three of the prettiest, most popular girls in her new high school befriend her. While Sofia may not share the ultra-Christian values of her new comrades Riley, Alexis, and Grace, it doesn't prevent her from forming a strong bond with them shortly after meeting. The trio confide in her about Brooklyn, the punkish, rebellious girl whom they fear may be possessed by the devil. When Riley takes the drastic step of kidnapping Brooklyn to exorcise the demon she fears is inside of her, Sofia first fights for what she believes to be right before being pushed into a battle for her very survival. This pulse-pounding, debut novel creates a wickedly creepy atmosphere where mean girls quickly turn homicidal. Readers may wince in pain as Riley cuts the sins out of her victims with a butcher knife, proving this story is not for the faint of heart. Still, it's a perfect book to give to older teens in need of satiating their potentially voracious horror appetites.-Ryan P. Donovan, Southborough Public Library, MA

    Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Danielle Vega
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