By Cali Getson
When I was eleven my best friend slept over. When I woke up I was surprised to find her reading. I was the one who was into reading, she was more into video games and her computer. The book was a late birthday present from her brother, and it wasn’t the first book in its series so she was confused by some of it but really liked it. After describing the book, she told me that her favorite character was a werewolf named Sam. This book was New Moon. My bestie ended up moving the next year. In an effort to keep in touch and have something to talk about, I went in search of the book. All I could remember was that there was a werewolf named Sam. The first book I came across with a werewolf named Sam and a female protagonist was Moon Called by Patricia Briggs. The first book in the Mercedes Thompson series.
Moon Called quickly became my favorite book of all time and the rest of the series doesn’t disappoint either. So far there are 10 novels in the series. For literary journal readers who like shorter pieces I suggest reading Briggs’ book of short novellas based in the same world as Mercy called Shifting Shadows, although there will be a couple of spoilers once you go on to read the series. It takes place in a world similar to ours geographically. The main difference is that there are supernatural beings like faeries, werewolves, witches and vampires. The main character, Mercedes Thompson, a.k.a. Mercy, is a Volkswagen mechanic in Washington State with a degree in history and a huge secret. She can turn into a coyote and was adopted and raised by werewolves. She tries to stay out of trouble but she has a big heart and can’t stand by while others need her help. This may sound like a totally Twilight-ish book but it deals with bigger problems than if she gets a guy or not. It deals with supernaturals coming out to the public and dealing with discrimination. It deals with loyalty and friendship. Staying independent yet also learning when to ask others for help. Rape, PTSD, drug problems, etc. Plus, Mercy is nothing like Bella. Mercy is fiercely independent, sarcastic, smart, and doesn’t really care about being in a relationship. As she grows and learns throughout each of the books, the reader gets to watch it all unfold and grow with her. This was especially true for me because I was just becoming a teenager when I read her books and I took her lessons to heart. Lessons like, be kind to everyone because you never know what they are going through when they aren’t with you. Do not leave someone in need but do all you can to help them, even if all you can do is take them to someone who can help. Parents aren’t perfect, so don’t be too hard on them. Your community is your friend, so network with people, make friends and you will have a support system in place if you ever need it.
I highly recommend the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. She is a fantastic writer who really tugs at the heart and creates bad-ass characters. Mercy is a character you can connect with and admire. The world Briggs has created is subtle and woven through reality. It has big world problems and small intimate issues. The supernatural and native American elements add surprising twists and turns leaving the reader guessing what will happen next.