Mercy by Rebecca Lim (NY: Hyperion, 2011).
The jacket blurb proclaims that Mercy is "an exile from heaven," but that is not immediately clear when the narrative starts. Mercy has awoken in yet another new body, this time of a teen named Carmen, a gifted, though timid, soprano who is on her way to a two-week choir collaboration in a neighboring town with the ironic name of Paradise. Mercy can remember two or three bodies back in time, but not much more, and is not even sure that her name is "Mercy," just that she thinks it might be. She gleans information about her true self from her dreams, especially those of a special person named Luc, who often gives her cryptic warnings about what she can and can't do--and the dangers that may be lurking. She's not sure what she's supposed to do for Carmen, but as in her previous incarnations, she uses her powers to figure things out. She can feel others' pain and see their pasts with a touch. As Carmen, she's living with a family ravaged by the abduction and presumed death of a daughter, Lauren. Lauren's twin brother Ryan insists that Lauren is still alive, and Mercy comes to believe that her mission is to help find Lauren.
Lim has crafted an engaging tale with a missing person mystery that drives the plot. The romance is underwhelming--both with Mercy's dream man Luc and with Ryan, the boy she's helping in her current incarnation. The mystery of Mercy herself is in some ways more compelling than that of the missing Lauren. Her dreams give some answers, but she also seems to be recovering more memory of her past, especially what has led to her current peripatetic existence. The word "angel" is never used in the novel, but she's clearly a spiritual entity, and the cover art shows her wings. She also exerts some supernatural power to save Lauren in the end. It will be interesting to see where this series goes. Recommended for ages 13 & up.
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