Mackie Doyle seems like everyone else in the perfect little town of Gentry, but he is living with a fatal secret – he is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now the creatures under the hill want him back, and Mackie must decide where he really belongs and what he really wants.
A month ago, Mackie might have told them to buzz off. But now, with a budding relationship with tough, wounded, beautiful Tate, Mackie has too much to lose. Will love finally make him worthy of the human world?
I may have done a happy dance when this ARC showed up in my mailbox. The back cover calls it "Edward Scissorhands meets Catcher in the Rye" – and this could not be a more appealing (for me, anyway) comparison.
Things I expected to love: The setting. The writing. The love story from a male POV.
Things I was not expecting but loved even more: The music.
The setting is everything you would expect from that deliciously creepy cover. A dreary, quiet town filled with good neighbors who hang scissors over cribs and turn their heads when children go missing. An underground world filled with flooded tunnels, snarky dead girls and a tattooed princess. Each time Mackie stepped into the House of Mayhem, it was like wandering through the corridors of Tim Burton's mind – incredible, vivid, macabre.
Yovanoff's writing is beautiful. It leaves you with the feeling you have from an unsettling dream, one that you're not quite sure whether or not to call it a nightmare but that stays with you long after you wake up. And Mackie's romance with Tate – who goes far beyond being simply "tough" – is painfully realistic, with a nice touch of humor and awkwardness to lighten the darkness of their story.
And the music – the part I wasn't expecting, and as a musician, the part I was most excited about. Without spoiling too much, I'll just say that music is an important part of both Mackie the relationship between the underground creatures and the townspeople of Gentry. The descriptions are what got me. The sounds of a guitar solo (for better or worse), an emotional ballad where it's not the lyrics but the voice that tears your soul, the feeling of holding an instrument and pouring your guts out through it – these scenes made me say hell yes. I've been there, I've heard that, I've felt that.
The Replacement comes out this September, but stay tuned for our upcoming one year anniversary major contestorama here on yaHighway, because this ARC might just crawl its way into the list of prizes.