January 11th, 2012 11:38 EST
The Replacement, by Brenna Yosanoff
This book holds a special place on my bookshelf. You can always tell a good book by its reaction to the reader. I shivered and cringed at moments in this dark and creepy story, from the first look at the foreboding cover to the final page. More and more, traditional views on mythical creatures are making a comeback, like the TV shows Grimm and Once Upon A Time. The Replacement does a great job showing the changeling in all its dark glory.
The protagonist in The Replacement is a kid in high school named Malcolm `Mackie` Doyle. His father is the town minister, though he himself doesn`t go to church. He skips class, has few friends, and generally spends his time trying not to be noticed. What looks like typical teenage angst is quickly changed to a haunting secret the town won`t mention.
Readers get clued in to something being wrong early on, and rather than Mackie being the creepy element in the novel, the entire town of Gentry takes on a sinister view. For decades, the town has quietly accepted the fact that non-human creatures will take one of their children every seven years and replace it with a non-human child. Several names are listed for what these things are, but part of the atmosphere created in this novel comes from not having a solid name to call them. Mackie is one such replacement. When his reaction to metal is explained and we understand why the entire Doyle household lives so differently (no metal cutlery, as little metal as possible, the dad`s constant reminder to stay out of people`s attention) it raises an even bigger question that keeps readers stunned and reading. Why are they just letting this happen? Why are they so accepting of the fact that people are being stolen?
Brenna Yosanoff keeps the chills coming as we meet so many characters, both human and others of the human-looking but not human kind. It`s a haunting story, and definitely worth reading.
Drugs/ Alcohol: mild
3 out of 5 due to language, and some overly graphic descriptions.