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The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

The Replacement Brenna Yovanoff YA Urban Fantasy (YAUF)

Spoiler Alert: None Coffee Bean Rating: 2/5

Okay, I’m sad because I’m not super thrilled with this book, and I have many reasons why. In no way am I saying I’m better than the author, only that this was not my cup of tea, and for several reasons. First you should know that I ADORE books. All kinds, but YA is my ultimate favorite. There are many, many, many YA books I love and very few that I don’t. This is one of them. And it’s a shame. I follow the author’s blog and find her very funny (especially when she goes into blurbs about her high school experiences), but actually sitting down to read her book was very different.

First I will go over what I did like:

1. The cover. I mean, who can look at this book and NOT pick it up to see what it’s about? I am a visual person, and will buy a book on its cover alone, because, if the cover’s cool, how can the contents of the book not be, right? WRONG. I have learned my lesson (but will happily continue on my merry way of selecting books).

2. The imagery. The detail she gives to everyday things is remarkable and amazing. After reading her descriptions, I thought to myself, Wow! She is totally right, how could I have not seen that before now? For the most part I had a vivid idea of where we were at when I was reading the book.

3. The metaphors. Wow, does the author have a gift with metaphors. Simply amazing.

4. The Story. In my writer’s group we talk about a story being, “The king died and then the queen died.” We talk about plot being “The king died, and then the queen died of a broken heart.” The story idea is great. After seeing the cover, I read the summary, and the story on the back is what convinced me to buy the book—mysterious creepy-crawly things from underground come and steal babies, replacing them with creatures of their own. When I started reading, I was disheartened because there was no plot to the story. If there was one, I didn’t must have missed it. And that’s never a good thing.

Now onto what I didn’t like:

1. The imagery. I know I said I liked it. And I did. But I also hated it. There was SO much of it, it jarred me out of the story. I got bored. It felt like an old Victorian novel where they spent eighty-billion pages describing the sunset. There was too much. It also seemed sort of out of place in a YA novel—more like it should be in a lit fiction novel or something.

2. Too much music. I love music. I was raised on it. I always have to have it on. It kind of drives Hubby insane. J But this was too much. I really don’t care who the author of the song is when you’re trying to describe it to me in the book. I don’t care what the song is they’re playing. I don’t care about the rifts they’re using or the notes they’re hitting (My Takamine is still in its case. I crack it open every now and then to get a whiff of the cedar and rosewood. That’s how often I play my guitar). I. Don’t. Care. And if you spend five pages telling me all those things, I will zone out. I will try, in a half-conscious state, skim through the section until I think it’s over (taking the risk of possibly missing an important part—although I doubt it). Then I will start to drool all over poor Hubby, who had no idea he was going to be violated in that manner. And that’s not fair to him. Which leads me to my next ‘why I didn’t like this book’ point.

3. I had a real problem with what I thought was a cop-out. The “good” dead people live off of—not blood like the little tattooed princess’ evil sister does—but the adoration of their fans when they play music at a local under-age night club? On weekdays? Huh? Seriously? Does anyone else feel cheated by that? I would even if I hadn’t read the book.

4. I was clueless as to what was going on in the story. The entire story. From start to finish, folks. Had I missed a chapter? An prequel? An entire book??? It’s good to have some mystery, but then you need to satisfy your reader by answering questions pretty quickly. I never felt that was done.

5. Things weren’t explained very well. I found myself scratching my head and not understanding (and then the REALLY bad part—not having enough interest to care that I wasn’t understanding or knowing what was going on). I still don’t know what the things are that live under the slag heap.

6. The language. My cheeks flushed at all the four-letter words. For some reason, I thought YA books had rules about that, but apparently the ‘F’ word can be substituted with the act of breathing.

7. Excessive drug/alcohol use. I mean, the main characters are sixteen. Come on! (Channeling Gob from Arrested Development. If you don’t know about that yet, good golly, people! Get with it! It’s the funniest stinkin’ show ever!)

8. Believability of the characters. The main character, Mackie, was out until about 2:30, if not later, every night (yes, school nights, too) and never once did he have to deal with parents. They never called him to let him know what was going on, where he was, etc. Let alone asking him where the heck he thought he was going at 10:30 on a school night. I find that completely unbelievable. I understand parents are essentially non-existent in many YA novel—except for maybe a blurb here or there so we know parents are present, but this was too much in my opinion.

9. Polishing. There were a lot of filler words (that, just, etc). There was more ‘telling’ and less ‘showing’ than I would have liked. I’m sad to say that I really felt like nothing really HAPPENED in the 343 pages it took to tell the story.

10. Who Knows. The town knows…or doesn’t know. Roswell knows…or doesn’t know. Mackie’s family knows….or doesn’t know. You never really find out who knows what and why. I really had no desire to finish this book, but then again, I had never NOT finished a book, and by golly, I wasn’t going to let this one ruin my record!

11. Nothing seemed believable. (As much as you could in a YAUF, anyway). The characters seemed flat. I wasn’t emotionally invested. At all.

12. It was really slow. I mean REALLY SLOW. Sometimes, I find a book that takes me about five or so chapters to get emotionally invested, and then I reap the rewards of an AMAZING book. But over half-way through The Replacement, at chapter nineteen, I was still trying to convince myself that the book would pick up and I would get the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! But it never came. Sure, there were teasers of excitement and scenes of “oh, wow!” but they quickly passed and I was left, once again, with, “I think it’s my bedtime” and would glance over at the clock only to see that it read 8 PM. Then I would groan and trudge through a few more chapters.

I didn’t mean to come across as mean spirited. I am just being honest about how I felt about a book. There are so many AWESOME books out there, and this one just paled in comparison, is all. Read it for yourself to find out if you like it or not, but I can tell you this much, I won’t be reading it again, and I hope above all hopes, that there isn’t a sequel planned. It’s kind of like a horrible car wreck on the freeway…I’d probably have to check it out just to see what happens.

Update: I never did finish the book. Don’t think lesser of me.


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