Publication Date/Version: September 2010/Hardcover
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From: Around The World Tours (Thanks!)
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?
Mackie is a Replacement, a castoff, whatever you want to call him. Years ago he was swapped for a human child from underneath the town of Gentry. The people of this small town know that their prosperity depends on the happiness of the creatures below the ground, and talk of the odd occurrences is forbidden. The citizens pretend as if nothing happens. When Tate's little sister is taken, however, Mackie feels he must do something, as his health is quickly declining and he feels that he must in order to reverse the backwardness of the small town.
The Replacement is a chilling and, often times, gruesome debut. Ms. Yovanoff brings a new aspect to the worn out YA paranormal genre with a book that's sure to find itself loved in the hands of fans of horror, paranormal, and good story telling.
Mackie is a character that you are instantly sympathetic for. With his odd circumstances, he has never fully fit in, except with his sister and very small group of friends. His allergies to metal keep him out of cars, wary of kitchen utensils, and as far away from school blood drives as possible. With his health deteriorating, he is approached by a stranger who tells him that he is dying. This stranger seems to be one of Mackie's kind, and, soon, Mackie will find out that there are many more like him above the ground.
After the disappearance of Tate's, Mackie's somewhat crush, little sister, he feels it's his duty to find her. Because he's dying, he figures he might as well. As he learns more about the warring underworlds and their grievances with the humans, things only become more complicated and twisted and even more terrifying. What goes on down there, as well as above, are the kinds of things that keep you awake at night. And Mackie must face them with the help of his loyal friends.
Brenna does a wonderful job weaving a story and its lore. I was intrigued as the why the underworld people acted as they did. Mackie was interesting, and it was easy to understand his pain. The supporting characters were each unique, with Roswell being a favorite. What I found most compelling about this novel is the fact that Mackie fits in with neither the underworld creatures, nor the regular humans - he's always an outsider - as well as the fact that even the scary creatures felt lonely and neglected. There was one particular scene involving Mackie and one of the dead girls that really struck a chord with me. Her pain was so evident, and his simple gesture was refreshing.
I encourage all of the Young Adult audience to pick this up, as I believe everyone will find something to love about The Replacement.
Overall: Atmospheric. Creepy and gruesome. Strong emotions and depth. Great supporting characters.
My Advice: Buy it or borrow it. It's a great fall read.
The Cover: That is one of the scariest, greatest covers I have seen. It ties in perfectly with the novel and really sets the right mood.