This book is true to it’s name in every way. There are teenage relationships that make me cringe and others that warm my heart. Remember being a teenager? Emotions are heightened. Every bad little thing that happens becomes the worst thing ever. When you are a teenager all you have is your own world. You are usually unaware of anything going on around you or how your actions will affect others. Yesterday I got together with a friend and we talked about a murder that just took place at a high school near us, where a teenager stabbed another teenager to death over a girl. These are tough situations to deal with, they are tough enough just to think about. It is hard for me to understand how this argument could have escalated to the point of murder. Then I open up Alex De Campi’s No Mercy and it makes a little more sense. Alex captures the voice of the teenager in this book. So many different personalities in this book, they all have to find their way of dealing with the tragedy that is upon them.
If you have not read any of this title, the story is about a group of kids who have been accepted into Princeton and before their first year of college, they are going to build schools in a Central America village. But, their bus breaks down and they are left in the dark desert to survive against coyotes and, maybe more dangerous, each other. Issue #3 is a tough one to get through without cringing. The brother and sister, Charlene and Chad, are trapped on the bus with hungry coyotes. On top of the bus, the hippy kid and the kid who is deaf are trying to figure out a way to blow it up. Charlene and Chad have been at each other since the beginning and when I say at each other, I mean Chad is a huge asshole and picks on his not as confident sister. You would think that a near death situation would be enough for siblings to toss aside whatever issues they have and fight together, but the complete opposite is true. With deadly coyotes approaching quickly Charlene and Chad basically try to kill each other. It is in the moments of heightened emotion and quick decisions where you find out what really matters to you. Chad is a terrible psychopathic person and Charlene just wants to be free of her awful brother. This relationship and this scene is though for me to read, it is so heartbreaking.
On the flip side, the relationship between Tiffany and Lily is heartwarming. Lily has died and Tiffany has not left her side. When you are young and fearless you never expect that a good thing could end at any moment. Tiffany remembers all the great times she had with Lily and realizes it is time to get up and learn to live with the scar she now carries. She ends her heartwarming scene with, “Lily, in the next life be my friend again.”
No Mercy is an entertaining book of teen survival against nature and against themselves. A modern day Lord of the Flies. However, there is much more to it if you just open it up and take a look inside.