Release Date: October 8, 2011
Rating: 4 stars
Mom has slowly been losing herself to MS. After traditional treatment fails, she takes bee sting therapy, administered by Lily, to alleviate her pain. Lily is trained as a veterinary assistant, so she can easily handle the treatments. What she can’t handle is what happens when the bee sting therapy fails and it becomes clear that Mom wants to die.
One beautiful spring day, Lily’s mother asks her for the most impossible thing of all—mercy. They live in Oregon, where the Death with Dignity Act allows a patient to make the decision to end their own life.
While navigating first love, friendship, and the other normal worries faced by high school sophomores, Lily also has to choose: grant Mom’s request, or cling to Mom’s fading life for all it’s worth.
I should warn you all now that this was a really hard review for me to write and was a very emotional read for me. This book hit really close to home for me – my mom was diagnosed with MS when I was 8 years old, and my entire life since that has had me living in the same fear Lily has for a lot of the book. While my mom is lucky and is no where near as severe as Lily’s mom in this book, it still was a very emotional read for me. I heard about Mercy Lily by Lisa Albert, and I wanted to read it, to see if I was strong enough. I really liked Mercy Lily, I thought it was a really strong debut.
I cried so much throughout this book. I would say for nearly 200 pages I was crying on and off, and I do not cry easily in books. Mercy Lily was so realistic – so much of what happens seriously is what I fear every day could happen. Between the emotional, heart wrenching moments there are a lot of lighter, fun moments between Lily and her friends. I wish this had been fleshed out a bit more, I didn’t feel like they were quite developed enough.
The characters were great. I definitely wish I had gotten to spend more time with a few of the characters, as I loved them so much. Gretchen was an awesome character, and I loved the scenes she was in. Shauna and Trent were another pair of awesome characters. Shauna had so much spunk and Trent had a great sense of humor.
Mercy Lily was an interesting read for me, it was one of those books that tells a really hard story, but also a story of growth and finding strength. It is a really touching story, and I am very curious to see more from Lisa Albert!