Forgive me as I use the synopsis from Penguin: 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.
This little town of Gentry has a struck a deal with the underworld, yet no one talks about it, no one admits it, and as long as the people of Gentry keep on being lucky, no one will question the price they pay every seven years. Mackie is one of those prices, or, rather, the baby the underworld took and left Mackie in its place, was the price. Mackie is not human, he is a Replacement, and is also allergic to iron, and has an talent for music. Most Replacements do not survive long above ground, but Mackie has the unconditional love of his sister, Emma, and unquestioning loyalty of his best friend, Roswell keeping him alive (relatively speaking).
When the underworld decides to take the baby sister of one of his friends, Mackie challenges the way things have been in Gentry, and may pay the ultimate price for his rebellion.
Don't think me too strange when I tell you that I was first attracted to The Replacement by the cover. Isn't it brilliant? Then it sat on my TBR shelf for a while, until I got a little nudge from reading this post by Shiver author Maggie Steivfater. Thank you! It's now one of my favorite YA of the year!
Told from Mackie's perspective, the book is equal parts creepy and touching. Mackie is not your typical teenager, originating from a dark underworld of beings that are undead but don't accept the titles of ghouls or zombies. Yet his relationships are what help him survive both above and below.
In addition to the relationships and characters, Brenna Yovanoff's writing is terrific! Unfortunately, I have in my hands an unproofed advanced reader's copy, which I am not supposed to quote, but I still wrote down several of my favorite passages, some of which transcend this speculative piece of fiction, and into our own reality.
Oh, I have chills just thinking of some of the scenes from this book! I am blown away that this is Brenna Yovanoff's first novel. The characters were complex and likable, the setting was vivid, and the emotions were deep and believable. Completely original and beautifully written, it took me no time at all to tear through this book, and I'm so glad I finally picked it up.
I loved The Replacements, and it's one book that you might want to read to gear up for Halloween - it might make you wonder what lives below your quiet little town!
Disclosure: A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.
About the Book:
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Razorbill (September 21, 2010)
About the Author:
Brenna Yovanoff is one third of the Merry Sisters of Fate along with Maggie Stiefvater and Tessa Gratton, whose flash fiction can be found at http://www.merryfates.com/. She lives in Denver, Colorado. The Replacement is her first novel.