New Author Crush: Brenna Yovanoff and her debut novel "The Replacement"

I was at the library three weeks ago when I realized I had room for two more books to borrow (the kiddos always grab their books first, and get this: They don't borrow just 3 or 4 books, they hog our reading list and always go for an insane number of books, say 15 or 20. If I'm not quick enough, I don't get a book for myself. It's like Battle of the Library Books, or something.) So I quickly sent out an SOS signal to my twitter friends, and let me just say they delivered with a deluge of book recommendations. (Warning: Don't do this if you're holding a book bag that weighs a ton, and keeping track of your wandering toddler at the same time)

While the recommends all sounded drool-worthy, my local library is small (and cozy!) and has a limited array of books. Most of the time I have to put books on hold or transfer requests, but at that moment, I needed a book right out of the shelf. Hail Michelle Simkins for telling me to pick up Brenna Yovanoff's The Replacement (hail the libray YA Section for having it.)

First off, the cover is just freakin' fabulous! Don't you agree? Ok, so my tastes are a little bit on the dark, morbid side, but it IS an attention-getter. C'mon, look at it!

The Replacement

I love cool covers! They make me excited about  reading the book. Before I gush some more, here's the blurb from Goodreads:

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.


About the Author:

Brenna Yovanoff is a YA author who's good at soccer, violent video games, and making flaky pie crusts. The Replacement was her bestselling debut novel, and her second novel The Space Between is coming out this November! Check out her website here and blog here.

Why I Recommend:

Yovanoff's writing has a haunting feel to it, which I absolutely adore. Yes, I'm all for strange tales that leave me feeling otherworldly. The setting, the atmosphere, and the characters all contribute to this gothic world of deadly town secrets and raw hidden power.

Mackie Doyle is a sort of anti-hero--he doesn't belong in the human world and yet, he must go after his own kind to protect those who would readily persecute him for being different (a changeling). He is a Replacement who survived and thrived through his sister's loving care. I love this angle of a sibling relationship: Emma, Mackie's older sister, truly loves him as her own brother, despite the fact that it was Emma who first knew and saw him for what he was.

The town Gentry is steeped in fear and an age-old secret: the townfolks are willing to look away as their babies are swapped for 'others' and unnatural deaths happen every seven years, in exchange for a thriving economy. But even so, Mackie knows not to stand out--a town walking on a fragile tightrope could easily use him as a scapegoat to vent their distrust and frustration.

So when a young girl dies, Tate's little sister, Mackie becomes even more vigilant, though not vigilant enough when he forgots about the blood drive at school. Blood=iron=definitely no-no. And when Tate starts bugging him to talk to her, that is, talk about how he's different, Mackie refuses to discuss it. But that's exactly how Gentry is, everyone refuses to talk about such things...except Tate. Fiery, no-nonsense Tate who wants answers right now. (She bugged me at first, but I have a lot of respect for Tate and her courage to speak up when no one else would. So I ended up liking her a lot.)

The House of Mayhem and the descriptions of the Slag Heaps and their inhabitants are downright spooky-scary. Although Yovanoff doesn't give these creatures a name, you can tell they are from the dark side of the Fae--"dark side" meaning not your regular, pretty Tinkerbell-like faeries. What I love about Yovanoff's portrayal of these creatures is that in their ugliness, there is beauty. Despite their seemingly cruel nature, there lies an intricate need for love and acceptance. It is a precarious balance.

I truly enjoyed The Replacement for its intrigue, its complex protagonist, and for its wonderfully haunting and eerie atmosphere. As always, I leave you with my recommendation disclaimer: Taste in books are subjective, as are opinions. If you, like me, are into dark fantasy or horror books, you will most likely enjoy this as much as I did. If this is not your thing, check out my other Book Recommendations. I can't guarantee you'll find something you'll like since at the moment, it is rather bare, but I will be posting more in the future with hopefully, a more varied selection.

Thanks for reading! If there's a book you'd like to share and recommend to me, please do so. I love finding new books to read. Up next will be Ally Condie's CROSSED, the sequel to her debut novel, MATCHED.


Sarah said...

Wow! Though I've certainly heard of it, I haven't read this book. Thanks for this review--this book is now high on my TBR list.

Charissa Weaks said...

I saw this book at the bookstore and like you, fell for the cover. I almost bought it without even reading the first review. After reading your post, this book moves up several notches on my TBR list. I may even go get it to take to the beach this weekend. Not your typical beach read, but my penchant for gothic and morbid overrules my desire for light and fluffy. :)

Anita Grace Howard said...

Oh, I loved this book, too! She was AMAZING with the descriptions of the underworld fae. Morbid, yet beautiful at the same time. And to write in the POV of a guy so flawlessly, that's pretty spectacular in my book. Yes, I share your crush!!

M Pax said...

It is a fabulous cover. I'll have to add this one to my list.

Jessie Humphries said...

I like goth, anti-heros, otherworldly. I should check this one out.

T.S. Welti said...

That sounds very interesting and I love eerie atmospheres. I'll definitely check that out next time I'm at the library.

Your description of your kids at the library reminds me of me and my daughter. I always had to fight to get my books included. :)

Krispy said...

This was one of my absolute favorite recent debuts. I borrowed it from the library too, but I loved it enough to buy it. Like you, I loved the haunting quality to the writing and the complexity of the characters.

Jenny Phresh said...

I have always loved this cover; thanks for the recommendation! Our new library just opened, too. And it has air conditioning! (We don't.)

Anonymous said...

I read this last year and loved the creepy atmosphere. I need to check out her latest book.

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