The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff. To be perfectly honest, this book starts off kind of slow, in my opinion. There’s a bit of a struggle to get a handle on what it’s *about*. At least there was for me. It’s a hard way to start a book, you risk losing readers early on. But for me, it was just the right balance of confusion and intrigue to keep me turning pages. And I am really glad I did.
The main character, Mackie, drops little hints and details along the way that you just HAVE to read on to understand. For example, he’s a…well, we’re not even sure what he is at first… Demon? Monster? But he’s also a pastor’s son? So how on earth does that work?
By the time Mackie starts traveling between this world and the *other* world (The House of Mayhem) I was thoroughly hooked. The vivid descriptions of the monsters and the monster world were what ultimately got me. For YA, I found that Yovanoff didn’t shy away from describing them in gruesome detail—didn’t try to mask them as beautiful teenagers that just happen to be monsters underneath (you know the kind I’m talking about, what is sort of popular in fiction and particularly movies these days). There is some of that, sure. But the actual monsters are ACTUAL monsters, they felt real to me. I don’t feel the book to be thinly-veiled paranormal romance. It is truly horror.
Yovanoff has a way of playing on the creatures of old myth and legend, without calling them by name outright. For me, this gave them an original and fresh feeling in a lot of ways. Her monsters and monster world are just different enough, while still familiar, that I didn’t feel like I was reading recycled characters that everyone writes about.
The Replacement reads somewhat like a typical YA book at first, the misunderstood teen, the sleepy town with a secret(s). You sorta feel like you can predict the story. And to a certain extent, looking back, I think you can. But what makes this story rich is the characters. Roswell and Tate (his friends) and Mackie’s sister leapt off the page to me. They all had important stories to tell too. About family and friendship. About the struggle to do the right thing. Get the full plot summary at Goodreads or Amazon.
You can download a sample, but be forewarned, it may take more than just that initial snip to hook you. Stay with it until he at least goes to The House of Mayhem and I think you’ll find you can’t put it down.
Download a sample of it. If you love it, or even just like it, tell someone else. More stories like this are burning to come out of our daughters, nieces and friends. Encourage them to tell a story about family and friendship and the struggle to do the right thing–with monsters, of course. >;-)
Happy Women in Horror Month 2013!