See our Guides page for home learning resources and reading supplements!


The Last New England Vampire

Softcover, 172 pages, 5.5 x 8.5 Young Adult, Ages 11-15

ISBN: 978-1-934031-36-0



Available as an e-book in these formats:
Amazon Kindle
Barnes & Noble Nook
Apple iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch.

About this Book:

VOYA's Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers

Best Young Adult Fiction of 2011, Barnes and Noble Review

Silver Medal, 2011 Moonbeam Children's Book Awards, Young Adult Fiction, Horror/Mystery

Fourteen-year-old Haley is struggling to cope – with her stepmom and baby brother, with her beloved cousin's terminal illness, with dropping grades at school. When she digs deep into her family history for a school project, she uncovers a disturbing New England tradition and a ghostly past. Haley must overcome her doubts and confront a vampire in order to save herself and her family. 

Mercy, by accomplished children's author Sarah L. Thomson, is inspired by a true New England story. Mercy Brown and her family lived in Exeter, R.I., in the late 1890s, when the New England vampire tradition held powerful sway. When Mercy's family members began to die, fear struck deep in the hearts of the small community. Following Mercy's death, when her brother took sick, villagers convinced Mercy's father to exhume her corpse, dig out her heart, burn it and feed it to her brother. He too died – as Mercy had – from tuberculosis. Thomson's gifts as a storyteller and writer make great use of this disquieting true story to weave a unique and exciting coming of age story as Haley learns to live with change, loss, and death.


" ... a refreshing reminder that much of what we call supernatural phenomena are very human indeed."
– Amy Benfer, The Barnes and Noble Review

"Don't read this book alone at night. This is a classic horror story where every detail of Haley's life seems real and ordinary except for the smell of death and clay in Aunt Brown's house; a beloved cousin wasting away from an unexplainable blood disease; and an ancestor's glove that appears to have crawled out of its box. Haley is researching Mercy, an ancestor who died of tuberculosis in 1892. As others in her family died, hysteria grew in this small New England town, until someone whispered the word vampire. But did Mercy ever die or is she still feeding? Thomson sharply captures images in words the way her character Haley captures them with her camera." 
– VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers 2011

"A beautifully told tale of supernatural folklore and ancestry that ends in a terrifying thrill ride readers can sink their teeth into."
– Amanda Marrone, bestselling author of Devoured

"Sarah Thomson's Mercy weaves the dark threads of an old New England legend into a contemporary tale of ghostly mystery that is both compelling and genuinely chilling. In a literary genre overrun with sparkling vampires and romance-novel angst, Thomson has crafted a welcome return to the shadowy terrors of graves and ghouls. I found myself unable to put the book down. A deliciously eerie way to pass a stormy night!"
Christopher Rondina, author of Vampires of New England

"In her novel, Mercy: The Last New England Vampire, Sarah Thomson got it right. Unlike so many other young adult vampire novels that cannot escape the fanged shadow of the fictional Dracula, Mercy is firmly grounded in the historical reality of vampires. It is clear that the novel's main character, Haley, understands that Mercy was a scapegoat and that it was fear of a mystifying illness that drove Mercy's family to perform a horrific ritual. As Haley so poignantly says of Mercy, 'this wasn't a horror movie ... It was her life.' "
– Michael Bell, author of Food for the Dead

"Unlike the romanticized vampires in much popular fiction, Thompson explores the more chilling side of vampires from old New England folklore and superstition in this spooky middle-grade novel with surprising depth... Thomson creates a spectacularly creepy and suspenseful mood for the book."

"Paranormal mystery meets family drama in a fictionalized, modernized exploration of a historical suspected vampire tragedy. ... [Thomson] writes a likable and appealing lead character, capturing both Haley's grief over her family and her difficulties finding where she fits into their lives."
Kirkus Reviews

"Thomson seamlessly merges the historical and the chilling in this short tale. Teens sick of the paranormal trope, yet still looking for supernatural chills will enjoy this unique new take on the vampire and reluctant readers will enjoy its concise length. School and public libraries could enhance several facets of their collections with this title."

"In a crazy slew of vampire novels, this short tale by Sarah Thomson stands out. It's a fantastic blend of historical fiction and a chilling ghost story. This gives a new twist to the origin of vampirism and ties into a real and scary time in New England's history... Haley is a great character."
– Jessica Miller, Young Adult Librarian at the New Britain (CT) Public Library, on her blog, "I Read to Relax"

Sarah L. Thomson

About this Author

Award-winning author Sarah L. Thomson has published more than 25 books for young readers. Her young adult titles include Dragon's Egg (Junior Literary Guild Premier Selection and Maine Lupine Award winner, 20



You May Like