Title: The Replacement
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Release Date: September 21st, 2010
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?
Summary from Goodreads.com
My Review: This book is a HUGE breath of fresh air for me. I have been getting seriously bogged down with books in the YA world that have the same plot and I was getting really frustrated. The Replacement pulled me out of my book coma and jolted me back to life. It was a-m-a-z-i-n-g! The plot is original, the characters are well developed and the world is addictive. I love the concept of this book because it is told from a point of view we don’t normally get to see. The replacement, aka Mackie, is sorta like a changeling, in other words he is a creature (not human) that was put in the place of a human child and meant to take his place, while the human child is taken away. The reason I say “creature” and not fae (because all the changelings I have read about take place mostly in the fae world) is because the book is very careful not to define them. There is actually a line about it in the book:
“In every century, in every country, they’ll call us something different. They’ll say were ghosts, angels, demons, elemental spirits, and giving us a name doesn’t help anybody. When did a name ever change what someone is?”
I think that quote pretty much sums up how the paranormal characters feel about being labeled. They don’t want one and feel like they don’t need one. If I had to classify them though, it would be as fae because of a couple things. 1. The changeling thing is usually fae, 2. I don’t think they can lie, Mackie says something to that affect one time and that is a fae characteristic (or I could be reading to much into this cause I am a little crazy), 3. They cannot tolerate iron of any kind 4. They are physically different. Not that this really matters, but my brain just picked up on those things and I wanted to talk about them. 🙂
I pointed all of that out is because Mackie is different, and this story is told from his point of view. Normally we see the main character in a story from the human’s point of view not the paranormal persons perspective. I never really thought about what it would be like to be an outsider, who literally cannot tolerate our world, try to live in it and not stand out. Mackie feels like he cannot make waves otherwise people will notice him and he, or his family, will be hurt because of it. His Dad even says to him:
“Don’t show anyone the true, honest heart of yourself or else, when something goes wrong, you might wind up rotting in a tree.”
Mackie is definitely not evil and is just trying to live his life peacefully. It breaks my heart that he feels he needs to hide himself away from everyone and basically never let anyone in, how lonely that must be.
The dark nature of the paranormal characters in this book add a wonderful element to the story. The lives of the people in this town, both paranormal and human, are painted as shadows of what they could be. Both sides are holding the other back from their true potential and neither is truly willing to listen to the other. Especially with the humans, who refuse to even acknowledge the existence of the creatures that lurk about. They dangle iron from their houses and stay indoors after dark, but never talk about the things they know live among them because fear rules their every thought and keeps them silent. It amazing to watch just how much fear of the unknown can dominate the human spirit. This is a theme that I think it very important to acknowledge because it weaves it’s way into our lives too and it is that ignorance that leads to poor decisions. I thought it was brilliant of Brenna to put that into her book. I am not sure if she did it intentionally, but I loved it just the same.
The Replacement takes you on a dark and intense journey through Mackie’s eyes as he struggles to makes sense of his life and where he belongs. He literally drifts on the outskirts of both worlds and soon he has to decide just where he belongs. Brenna has delivered a book that will grab a hold of you from the beginning and force you to pay attention. You will start looking at the people around you and your own town in a whole new light. I personally loved it and I hope we get to see more from her and Mackie in the future!
FTC: I received this ARC from the publisher at BEA.