Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Publication: Razorbill (September 21, 2010)
Description: Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world.
Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs.
My Thoughts: I enjoyed this story about how a changeling could survive in our modern, technological times. Mackie has grown used to trying to fade into the background to hide the fact that he is a replacement. The town of Gentry is has decided on a conspiracy of silence. However, they still know that the other unnamed ones are there.
Mackie's dad is a minister but Mackie can't step on consecrated ground. His dad keeps trying to find a way that he can seem more normal to the other people in the town. Mackie's mom is a strange character. She won't speak of the others but she knows they are there. She feels guilt that her real son was taken though she does love Mackie. The one who has had the most influence on Mackie's survival is his sister Emma. Emma is the one who is constantly trying to make it possible for Mackie to live. She even makes a deal with one of the others that draws Mackie to the world that he hadn't visited since he was switched as a baby.
Mackie has a few close friends. His friend Roswell knows he is different and accepts him anyway. Roswell is confident, smart and popular and tries to get Mackie to see that he doesn't need to always be alone. Mackie has a crush on Alice who is a cute mean girl. She is someone that he can want from a distance because he feels she is out of his league.
He is also friends with Tate. His relationship with her changes when her little sister is taken and the replacement left for her dies. Tate doesn't want to accept this as a cost of living in Gentry. She wants someone to acknowledge what happened. Her need forces Mackie to come out of the shadows and to confront his heritage.
I liked the descriptions of the others. I liked seeing how they interacted with the town of Gentry. I liked the very non-human responses. I liked how Mackie was unwilling to accept that the old way of doing things was the was things still had to be done.
I recommend this book to young adult fantasy readers. There is a lot to think about here.
I was just doing my part, playing invisible. That when you're tired all the time and have to keep your sleeves pulled down over your hands so you don't accidentally touch a handle or a doorknob and a good day is defined by the fact that no one noticed you exist, that's pretty depressing. But it's not clinical.