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Book Review: THE REPLACEMENT by Brenna Yovanoff

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.
Michelle Schusterman

Michelle writes books for kids, screenplays for a tv/film production company, and music for anyone who'd buy a "groove matters" bumper sticker. She lives in New York City with her husband (and band mate) and their chocolate lab (who is more of a vocalist). She is the author of middle grade series I Heart Band - 2014, and The Kat Sinclair Files - 2015 (both from Grosset).

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  1. Great review, Michelle! I'm excited for this book :)

  2. This book sounds excellent! Its the first I've heard of it but I'll defenitely need to add it to my wishlist!

  3. This book sounds so amazing... I wouldn't expect music being a big part of it though. That is not a bad thing.

  4. How awesome that the best part of a ink-and-paper book could be the music? Great review!

  5. Michelle, the cover of this book scares the crap out of me-- is the book itself equally scary?

  6. Kate, it just depends on what counts as scary for you. I wouldn't say it's complete horror, no. It's not like watching IT, but more like Nightmare Before Christmas. Weirdly spooky.

  7. Wow, this book looks great! You did a really good job reviewing and making me want to read it even more!

  8. I forgot how much I wanted this book! I hope it does make it's way into the one year anniversary contest. This would be an incentive all on it's own to enter. (Hugs)Indigo

  9. Another book that I am looking forward to reading! I love novels that involve music, and it looks like this one will be a good read.

  10. I'm so jealous that you got an ARC of this book! I have expected for a long time now that this book is amazing, and your great review of it only makes me think that even more. :)

  11. This book sounds great! I can't wait to read it!

  12. I'm so excited about this book! I'm glad to hear it held up to expectations.

  13. I am sooooooooooo excited for this book! Great review--Im not surprised the writing was beautiful--she's Maggie Stiefvater's CP.

  14. God, I love that cover. Creepy baby carriages FTW.

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Item Reviewed: Book Review: THE REPLACEMENT by Brenna Yovanoff Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Michelle Schusterman