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The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff; Review

July 25, 2010

Title: The Replacement

Author: Brenna Yovanoff

Published: September 21, 2010

Number of Pages: 272

Rating: 4/5

Review Sent to Razorbill*:

With the spooky, magical aura of Tim Burton’s movies, The Replacement is a book that will hypnotize, disturb, and entertain. It is both gripping and horrific, and there is no doubt that Brenna Yovanoff has a talent for writing novels that are meant to be read alone, at night, with only a small reading light to keep off the darkness. I loved the aspect of the entire world I was plunged into as a reader, and I’m glad I could go in with Mackie – a boy I won’t soon forget. Haunting, frightening, astonishing – and surprisingly touching – The Replacement is remarkable book.

Review:

This book almost earned a 5/5. Why? Because it is so well done. I’m always astounded when I watch a Tim Burton film, particularly the animated ones (of course), by the way in which he blends horror and beauty. Fright and magic. It’s all very engrossing and fantastical. The Replacement was much the same.

Mackie is a Replacement, a monster-boy left in a crib of a human baby. With fatal allergies to blood, metal, and consecrated ground, it’s not surprising that Mackie’s struggling to survive in the town of Gentry – where people  are professionals at seeing what they want to and backing down in front of their horrific reality… and the fact that a child is stolen and replaced every seven years.

It’s really underneath the town that Mackie’s people thrive, where dead girls walk while rotting (try and manage that) – in the House of Mayhem. As Mackie’s body starts to fail, he has to rely on the people below, the people like him that know how to survive.

Meanwhile, Mackie’s enveloped in Tate’s story –a girl whose little sister was recently stolen and replaced by a monster baby that has already died. Tate is the first person in a long time to revolt against the ways of the town – the constant ignoring of the fact that these monsters have a sick power over them. How can Mackie live with himself if he knows how to save Tate’s sister but lets her die anyway?

So begins the adventure.

I really loved this book. Mackie is a wonderful main character. I never had a problem understanding him. His character is so clear and relatable, even with the crazy past and present that we can only imagine. His actions were predictable simply because I knew how he’d react. I knew his weaknesses. I loved that I could so easily reside in his head.

Tate is another character worth mentioning. I loved her brutally honest personality, the way she wouldn’t put up with people’s crap any longer. I could respect her, though she could be irritating and I certainly didn’t always agree with what she did. Overall, though, she was fun to read about. She wasn’t someone anyone could control, and it was hilarious to watch as she stood up to, well, just about everyone in the book.

Roswell has to be my favorite character (though Mackie isn’t far behind). He’s one of the best friends I’ve found in a book. He’s someone you would have to try not to love. Simply because he’s nice. He’s kind. He’s simple. I loved how totally human he was, not to mention how excepting and generally awesome. He can’t really be called a side-character. He’s just too important to the story, and even more important to the way Mackie develops.

One of my favorite aspects of the novel was Mackie’s relationship with his sister, Emma. In fact, I found their whole family story to be quite intriguing. With a father who’s a pastor, a life as a kid who can’t really go to church is pretty interesting. You’ll have to find out his mother’s story for yourself, however. As far as the brother/sister relationship goes, it was one of the most relatable relationships for me. I have a younger brother, and I think we work together similar to the way Mackie and Emma do.  I loved that they actually cared about each other (a lot) as opposed to the insanely-strained sibling relationships I usually find in books. Their story is touching, and, in the end, believable. I should know.

I wasn’t totally comfortable with the way, uh, Mackie and Tate’s relationship moved along, but it didn’t override the book, which I was grateful for. If there had been too much of it, I certainly wouldn’t have enjoyed reading the book as much.

The truly amazing thing about the book? The artful way in which Brenna manages to get across the creepy. It was beautiful, mystifying, and altogether wonderful. This book is haunting but fun. Horrid at times, but – more often than expected – touching. There really is a lot to marvel at. Not to mention the fact that Brenna’s prose is marvelous.

So… if you’re in the mood for a bit of anything with a tendency to freak you out, read The Replacement.

*Thank you so much!!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2010 6:51 PM

    THIS BOOK WAS SOOO GREAT I LOVED IT IM ABOUT TO READ THIS AGAIN

  2. July 27, 2010 5:44 PM

    I can’t wait to read this one! I’m even more excited since you likened it to a Tim Burton film. 🙂

  3. July 26, 2010 8:58 AM

    Great review! I’ve had this on my bookshelf for quite some time, but, for whatever reason, this is the only review I’ve read about it. Learning that there is a romantic (and perhaps physical) relationship between Mackie and Tate is promising… As you know I’m comfortable with those plot lines, even going as far as to seek them out. 🙂

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