MERCURY by Amy Jo Burns

I am way behind on posts, so in order to catch up these next few are going to be short!

Mercury by Amy Jo Burns takes place in a small depressed town in Pennsylvania. Marley moves to town with her mother as a senior in high school and quickly gets involved with Baylor, the eldest of three sons in a local family that runs the town’s roofing business. Marley soon becomes entrenched in the Joseph family, eating dinner at their house every night and taking on a maternal role with the youngest son. But things get complicated when Marley chooses Way, the middle brother, over Baylor, and everyone’s loyalties are tested.

Why I picked it up: I’d heard great things about Burns and bought Mercury and Shiner, her earlier novel, to give her a try.

Mercury has gotten praise for being an immersive, character-driven book about complicated family relationships, secrets and generational trauma. I am really in the minority on this one, though. There was too much telling and not enough showing, with deep introspection by all of the characters that got tiresome after a while. These characters were so weighty, with each interaction so loaded and tortured. I just didn’t buy into the relationships, especially with such young characters. Did any of them have any other friends or do anything outside their family?

Again, I am in the minority with this opinion. I wished I liked this one better! Lots of readers loved Mercury, so give it a try if you too have been tempted by Burns. I may still try Shiner, which has also gotten great reviews.

I listened to Mercury on audio. Narration by Maria Liatis sort of matched my feelings about the book – it all just seemed implausible to me.

Mercury was the 16th book of 2024 and satisfies the One Word Title category of the 2024 EDIWTB Reading Challenge.