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Review: The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

in a sentence or so: Mackie, a self-aware changeling, is getting sicker by the day. the more sick he gets, the more he learns he'll need to explore the world beneath. the world filled with demons and the dead come back to life. the world he came from.

Mackie can't stand the smell of blood. and not like he feels a little faint or whatever. he literally cannot be around blood without puking and passing out. iron and steel burn his skin and he can't step on consecrated ground. it turns out that Mackie isn't really Mackie at all...he's a changeling. more common than the people of Gentry would like to admit, he's just one of the mysterious occurrences the townsfolk pretend don't exist.

when he was merely months old, Malcolm Doyle was swapped out of his crib with the character we know as Malcom Doyle. he knows that Gentry is different. that there are things no one talks about and keeps buried in their heart of hearts. that doesn't mean Mackie can go around outing himself as a changeling, however.  his entire life has been to keep his secret a secret, and to do anything to avoid drawing attention to himself for even the smallest thing (like his total weakness to blood, for example).

the problem is, secrets can't stay secrets forever. especially when Mackie is having a harder time living in the iron-heavy world. he can't even get a ride from his best friend without nearly passing out. the world Mackie came from is reaching out to him, offering to help him feel better...but can he trust them? i mean, they do steal babies after all. but again, does he have a choice? if he wants to live in a world where he doesn't belong, he needs to get help from the world that knows him.

okay, i had heard a good amount of buzz about this book. i get a little apprehensive when i read a ton of positive reviews...so i started with a chip on my shoulder about it. i did adore the cover, and the idea of a changeling, but i've been burned by the paranormal cliche before.

thank goodness Mackie is self-aware, which cut out the whole trite discovery phase. such a relief.  he knows he's different, his family knows he's different.  just how different, or how he came to be in their family, is the mystery. that makes a substantially better plot than spending time on his feelings of awareness or other's awareness, which rocked.  i loved his broken, authentic, voice. he lacks any shred of self-confidence...which is pretty understandable considering he has no sense of self.

the totally superstitious town - old world style superstition with leaving out the milk for a friendly sprite and hanging scissors over the bed - was such a cool element to this story.  there was just as much to learn about the town as there was about Mackie, and i liked the way they played off of each other.  the way the facts were revealed, both about the town and about Mackie, was fresh and innovative and exactly what i was hoping for in this read.

the themes of love, perception, and self-discovery permeate the book.  in a town that's saturated in secrets and lies, Mackie searches for truth and acceptance. his search for who he is leads him to some really freaky people, both above and below ground. because honestly, for every freaky monster below the surface there is a heartless human above.

fave quote: "Now there was an empty space around her that made me think of quarantine. It was unsettling to realize that it didn't take much to make you an outcast. All you needed was for something terrible to happen." (page 12|234 Nook)

fix er up: there were a couple sloppy plot points i felt weren't really resolved. all of these were on the fringes of the story, so they didn't really impact the core of the story flow...but were enough to make me wonder if the book would have been better without them at all.

title: The Replacement
author: Brenna Yovanoff
genre: Edgy, Fantasy

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.

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