The Replacement had a lot of potential. The atmosphere in this book is wonderfully creepy and uncomfortable. It draws to mind a town where it is always overcast and rainy. Where nothing good ever happens.
The town of Gentry has a secret. Where all the other towns around them suffered when the mines closed, Gentry managed to prosper. But, what price did they pay? Every few years a child goes missing and is replaced by something else. The townspeople continue on as if nothing strange has happened. They try to ignore what horrible future that missing child has ahead of them…
Cool Premise, but what’s the catch?
The major issue with this novel is Mackie, our protagonist. Mackie is constantly whining. In one breath he complains how no one loves or cares for him, and then in the other describes all the wonderful things his sister and best friend have done for him. Mackie is a replacement, better known as a changing. He is deathly allergic to iron, blood and consecrated ground, making his life a living hell. In one of the more memorable scenes in the novel, Mackie makes out with the “hottest” girl in school only to realize she has her tongue pierced… with you guessed it: iron. Mackie then proceeds to go into anaphylactic shock. He’s your usual teenage emo kid, but lucky for us he does manage to go through some character growth by the end of the novel.
Where Mackie fails to be interesting, Yovanoff gives us a cast of awesome secondary characters: The Dead Girls, The Lady and Tate all offered up more interesting back stories and motives.
That being said The Replacement is refreshingly unique and Yovanoff proves herself to be an author worth watching.