The Unraveling of Mercy Louis: A Novel

Paperback | January 26, 2016

byKeija Parssinen

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Winner of the 2016 Alex Award

Best Book of 2015 —Kansas City Star

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 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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From the Publisher

Winner of the 2016 Alex AwardBest Book of 2015 —Kansas City StarIn 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, ...

Keija Parssinen was born in Saudi Arabia, and spent twelve years there before her family moved to Austin Texas. After high school, she attended Princeton University, where she studied English Literature and received a certificate from the Program for the Study of Women and Gender. She earned her MFA at the University of Iowa Writer's W...

other books by Keija Parssinen

The Ruins of Us: A Novel
The Ruins of Us: A Novel

Kobo ebook|Jan 17 2012

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.79 inPublished:January 26, 2016Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062319108

ISBN - 13:9780062319104

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“Parssinen has created fully realized teen characters in a small, religious Southern town straight out of a Carson McCullers short story.”