The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff was a refreshing read after my last young adult read. This book is hard to describe, so I’ll let a quoted description suffice: “Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world. / Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or 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. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs.” — Description from Goodreads.
Brenna Yovanoff has written a fantastic, eerie YA story as her debut novel. The characterization in The Replacement is excellent, and each voice was unique. I often complain that teenagers in YA books written by adults sound younger than the age they are supposed to be, but the teens in this book sound spot on. Although they are exposed to situations that could threaten their lives, their priorities are on crushes and social activities like parties. Alcohol was present at a party Mackie attended, which is realistic for a high school party, and he and one of his romantic interests had a hot-and-heavy make-out scene that included a little more than kissing. There are a few curse words in the book, but they do not seem overpowering and are appropriately placed in emotional scenes.
Gentry, the fictional town where the story takes place, was eerily real to me as I read the book. Yovanoff’s imagery is precise and simple as she creates an almost tangible setting for the reader without boring potential readers with long bouts of prose. Gentry is a terribly gloomy place, and it is so wrapped up in the plot line of the story that it would be inappropriate to place the story in another setting. At the end of the book, potential for change exists in Gentry. I was left wishing for more, to know what happened next, which is what every novel writer should want his or her readers to do at the end of the book.
Where did I get this book? ARC won through Melissa’s Books and Things Halloween giveaway! 🙂
2010. New York: Penguin Group Inc. 343 pages.