Thursday, March 15, 2018

Mercy Rule by Tom Leveen-- Timely, which makes it hard to read

Mercy Rule

Danny, Drea, Cadence, Donte, Brady, and Vivi are all surviving high school as best they can.  On the surface, some seem to have it better than others, but underneath they're all dealing with problems.

Cadence is the freshman with the sunny disposition.  She's not from a great part of town, and yeah, she's kind of kooky and weird, but she's not letting any of it get her down.

Drea aka Andrea, just wants all the pain to stop.  Her home life is unbearable, and she copes in unhealthy ways.  What she doesn't know is that having a friend to lean on can make a huge difference.

Donte and Brady are football players who can get away with anything.  Their coach is always willing to cover their messes, but sometimes the coach can't fix how they make people feel inside.

Vivi just moved here after her dad came into some money, and she feels like a fraud.  When she instantly draws the ire of the popular girl, she thinks it's just what she deserves.

Danny.  Where to start with Danny??  He's bullied and he is the bully.  He's not willing to back down from his stand that the football players and popular people need punishing.  What will be the final straw to make Danny snap?

I decided to read this book well before I knew that it was going to be coming out right as another horrific school shooting took place in America.  It seems like that might be the best time to read a book like this because it gives you insight into the issue.  But honestly??  It felt emotionally harder to read this book as my mind kept drifting towards real-life events, and I just felt sad and empty.

Real-life situations aside, the book itself was good.  I'm a big Tom Leveen fan, having read and loved Party and Zero, so I was really hyped to see he had a new book coming out.  He's definitely a fan of the multiple perspectives, and I think this time he went a tad too far.  I had trouble keeping them straight and I didn't think the voices sounded all that different from each other.  Or different enough anyway.  A lot of the teens in this book were younger (9th grade), and I did appreciate that they came off as young.

There were a lot of issues in this book, but unlike the too many perspectives, this made the book stronger.  One of the characters is a cutter, one has a mom that is an addict, and one has parents that just don't "get" him.  There's a suicide attempt, drug use, bullying, naked pictures, and sports & school pressures.  It all kind of made for a pressure cooker that leads to a horrifying event.

The hardest part: You guys, we read from the school shooter's perspective during this book and it is HARD.  You get to know him and his thoughts and feelings, and you're probably not going to hate him.  I wouldn't say this book sympathizes with the shooter, but I would say that it makes it clear that it's all complicated.  People who do bad things aren't always bad through and through, and some of them are people that are in a lot of pain.  But being that this book came out so close to a major incident, it was hard for me to find myself having positive feelings of any sort towards someone who hurts innocent people.

My favorite parts: I loved Cadence and her ability to be positive and want to help people.  I loved the friendship she forged with 2 troubled boys-- and they were better for it.  I loved her ability to flit from group to group and brush it off when people made her feel unwanted.  She was a shining star in this book.  I also really liked the play aspect and wish that they actually got to put on Hamlet.  It was cool to see how something like an after-school activity can be the thing to help someone who might be feeling lost.

OVERALL: This was a tough one.  It's timely, but I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.  Maybe it's different for everybody.  I love Tom Leveen's ability to tell a story through multiple people, but I was wishing there were fewer characters in this book.  I did like reading about all the different backgrounds and issues each character was going through though.  I cautiously recommend, but be mentally ready for this before you dive in.

Date Published: 2/20/2018
How I got this book: Thanks to Sky Pony for sending me an advance copy to read and honestly review
Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Add it to your To-Read List!!

My Rating: 3.5/5

Character: Cadence Fuller
Book: The Fashion Committee by Susan Juby

  • Charlie and Cadence would get along famously.  They both have that happy/sunny disposition, quirks and cool style, and optimism for days.


  1. It's horrible that this book is so timely - and that in the past few years, it would almost always be timely. I do think it's interesting that he wrote from the shooter's perspective. I think I'd appreciate that. Thanks for sharing!


  2. I haven't heard of this one before. It definitely sounds interesting.
    Great review!

  3. I haven’t seen this one before. I will need to add it. I am sure it will be.a while before I read. When they are sensitive subjects. I have to build myself up to it. Great review

  4. Great review. I'm intrigued. I love issue books, and I am pretty fired up right now about what's happening in the real world. I'm curious about the shooter's perspective.