by Brenna Yovanoff
pub: Sept 21 - Razorbill/Penquin
Mackie Doyle seems like everyone else in the perfect little town of Gentry, but he is living with a fatal secret - he is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now the creatures under the hill want him back, and Mackie must decide where he really belongs and what he really wants.
A month ago, Mackie might have told them to buzz off. But now, with a budding relationship with tough, wounded, beautiful Tate, Mackie has too much to lose. Will love finally make him worthy of the human world?
Released this week, THE REPLACEMENT delivers a unique take on faery/changeling lore and is one of my new favorites!
Writing: Vivid world-building - the eerie town full of hidden secrets, fear, paranoia, anxiety. The underworlds of Mayhem and Misery creeped me out! Excellent description that put me right in the middle of the action, and gave me goosebumps (I recommend leaving the lights on while reading).
Characters: Mackie, the tortured protagonist, feels like an outcast, unworthy, fearing death at any moment and not sure he doesn't deserve it. He fights to find his place in the world, and always do the right thing. Strong, caring, self-sacrificing. I found him charming and adorable. I loved the family dynamic. His parents are sometimes awkward but love Mackie and do their best to protect him despite his "handicap." Mackie's older sister is fiercely protective and loyal.
His best friend, Roswell, and his buddies, the Corbett twins, totally rock! The ultimate BFFs, they had Mackie's back in the even most dire of circumstances - no questions asked - and often so funny I laughed out loud. I loved these guys! The love interest, Tate, was likable too just not as outstanding a character.
And there're wacky supernatural bad guys (or girls) who don't realize they're bad because they heap spoonfuls of CRAZY into their coffee every morning!
Plot/Pacing: The fast pace had me asking questions from page one. Yovanoff keeps you guessing then slowly lays out answers your main characters obviously already know. At the same time, you're unraveling mysteries that Mackie and his buddies are trying to figure out in order to save innocent lives. I was hooked!
The exciting climax riveted. Since I had so many surprises, I wasn't sure where it was going - Happy ending? Bittersweet? Downright depressing and horrific? It could have gone in any direction.
Caveats/Concerns: Be aware of some underage drinking and language but nothing over the top. A few parts are gruesome but no vomit-worthy gore. In regards to sexuality - there's one scene that alludes to some groping and one make-out scene where the girl starts to undress but then they're interrupted before anything happens. This isn't a romance.
Cover: Are you kidding? I'm in love! And it's even better in person.
Bottomline: THE REPLACEMENT had me on the edge of my seat. I rooted for Mackie, wanted to high-five his friends and family for their love and support, and scary monsters creeped me out. I laughed, I cried, I cringed in horror. The story covers themes of finding yourself, love and loyalty of family/friends, compassion, acceptance.
So beg, borrow or
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