I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Published by Simon and Schuster on 2011-01-06
Genres: Young Adult
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Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, Mackie comes from a world of tunnels and black, murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattoed princess. He is a replacement - left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago when it was stolen away by the fey. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood and consecrated ground, Mackie is slowly dying in the human world. Mackie would give anything just to be normal, to live quietly amongst humans, practice his bass guitar and spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem, where he must face down the dark creatures and find his rightful place - in our world, or theirs.
I love it when a book that intends to be creepy is legitimately creepy and not contrived creepy. (Sidebar: just how many times can I use the word creepy in one sentence?) The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff is an eerie coming of age tale. Mackie Doyle is a replacement aka a changeling, meaning that he has taken the place of a kidnapped child. Mackie is a 16 year old boy with an aversion to iron and blood. He is dying. We see him yearn for a life of normalcy. Yet, the underworld of Gentry, where Mackie came from, comes calling when they steal Mackie’s friend-girl’s baby sister.
At first, I was not sure how much I would enjoy The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff. You know how sometimes it can take a bit to get into a book? It took me probably 50 pages to really sink into the plot. Despite the slow start, on the whole, I loved The Replacement. I am a fan of macabre books. Hello, Stephen King fangirl right here. I think Yovanoff does atmosphere right. There is such an air of ghoulishness throughout this book that I often got the chills while reading it. I mean, Gentry is a regular small town, much like where I grew up. However, they have a deep dark secret. Unraveling the layers and going deeper and deeper into Gentry’s secrets is incredibly creepy. I can’t help thinking the phrase, ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ (also a book by Ray Bradbury).
Mackie, the lead, is irresistable. He’s vulnerable. He’s prone to low self-esteem. He likes boobs (can I get an AMEN for a non-sanitized boy character). He is shown to have deep emotions. I really loved the character of Mackie. I thought he was the sort of character I would have loved as a teen, someone who questions himself and the world around him. His weaknesses are balanced out with his strengths.
Tate, the female lead, is the sort of girl I wish I could have been in high school. She doesn’t give a shit about what anyone thinks of her. She’s so self-assured. I love that. I love seeing a self-assured girl from a male point a view, as this story is told through Mackie’s eyes.
Then of course, the cast of supporting characters is steller. From Mackie’s best friend Roswell, who is everything a friend should be, to the twins, to Mackie’s sister, Emma, these characters I felt were well-rounded. I thought I had a good sense of these characters. I rarely questioned their motives.
The characters of the underworld were scary! HOLY CRAP. There’s this character referred to as the lady. I was basically picturing that girl from The Ring, with the hair who crawls out of your TV, the whole time. EEK. Then the supporting characters who hang out in the slag heap, they’re like the people in Corpse Bride who are dead. Creepy, friend, creepy!
I think if YA absolutely must focus on boys, or increase the focus, then I would hope boy characters like Mackie come to the forefront, as I thought he was fully-realized and able to have emotions and to hug his male friends without being called names.
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