Simon & Schuster UK, October 2010
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Mackie Doyle is a replacement - a fairy child left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago, to replace the baby when it was stolen away by the fey.
So though he lives in the small town of Gentry, Mackie's real home is the fey world of tunnels and black, murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. Now, because his fey blood gives him fatal allergies to iron, blood and consecrated ground, Mackie is slowly dying in the human world. Mackie would give anything just to be normal, to live quietly amongst humans, practice his bass guitar and spend time with his crush, Tate.
But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably back home to the fey underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem, where he must face down the dark creatures, rescue the child, and find his rightful place - in our world, or theirs.
The Replacements is one of those books that hovers on the borderline between YA and adult, pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable to describe for the YA audience, but also not quite complex enough to be fully appreciated by the older audience. The book is full of dark creepiness and things that will make your skin crawl. The story is an interesting, intriguing and well-constructed story.
This story is told through Mackie Doyle, who begins a road to finding our exactly who he is. It's not a coming of age story where there's a figurative "finding out"; Mackie learns that he's actually not human, but one of Them. It is written from the point of view of a changeling (of the fair folk). It's an interesting concept, and not only does Yovanoff write a changeling, but she gives us a teenage boy changeling - with all the mixed up feelings and desires that a young teen male can experience. Even though his story includes immunities to blood, iron and consecrated ground, it relates to people.
The relationship between Mackie and Tate is very typical of the angst felt by teenage love, with the ups and downs, the love and hate. There are some pretty creepy creatures that live underneath the town of Gentry.
Overall, this book was well written, but it does contain some slightly adult themes for a YA book, so check it out before letting your kids read it.