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The Replacement (Replacement, Book 1) Hardcover – September 21, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Maggie Stiefvater and Brenna Yovanoff: Author One-on-One

Maggie Stiefvater is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Forever and Lament. She lives in Virginia with her husband and their two children. Recently she sat down with Brenna Yovanoff to discuss Yovanoff's debut novel, The Replacement. Read the resulting interview below, or turn the tables to see what happened when Brenna interviewed Maggie.

Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie: Having read The Replacement, I have noticed that all of the people are weird. Having met you, I’ve noticed that you’re also weird. Which of your characters do you think is most similar to you? (Don’t say Roswell. Because he’s the only normal one.)

Brenna: Look, I know you’re trying to force me to say the Morrigan, because she likes dresses and dead things and being creepy. But I am not a petulant underground princess. Also, I’m taller and have fewer teeth.

But if I can’t say Roswell . . . (I wouldn’t say Roswell anyway—he is too normal). If I can’t say Roswell, I’d have to say probably Carlina—even though I really-really-really can’t sing—because she wanders in and out whenever she feels like it and is a fairly agreeable person. She’s kind of like a cat who sings blues and has a beehive hair-do.

Maggie: Again on this weird thing. One of the things that first attracted me to your writing, way back before you were published, when we first became critique partners, is the weird atmosphere in your books. On the back of The Replacement it says that your writing is Tim Burtonesque, which I think is incredibly appropriate. Do you consciously skew things toward the whimsical, or is that the way your writing comes out of the faucet?

Brenna: I wish I could say that it’s all a carefully-constructed technique full of forethought and intention, but it kind of just comes out of the faucet that way. I’ve always been a huge fan of ambiance, the creepier the better. I love anything macabre, especially if it’s whimsical or surprising. Also, as we’ve covered already—I’m weird.

Maggie: Will you ever name any of your characters after me?

Brenna: Yes, if you start spelling your name Mackie Doyle.

Brenna Yovanoff

Maggie: Reviewers often call the relationships in my books things like “sweet” and “respectful.” If I had to classify most of the relationships in your books, I’d go for “hot” and “dysfunctional.” Is this just an extension of your characters’ oddness, or does it reflect what you see in real life? Who is your favorite literary dysfunctional couple?

Brenna: Brenna: I think it’s mostly an extension of the characters. I tend to write about really strange, dysfunctional people because I think they’re interesting, and then I feel like there’s absolutely no way they could go on to have functional relationships without a lot of time and personal growth, so I give them messed-up ones.

This probably doesn’t qualify as literary, but my favorite dysfunctional couple has to be Veronica and Logan from the TV show Veronica Mars. It is hot. And dysfunctional.

Maggie: No, seriously, are you ever going to name any of your characters after me?

Brenna: Remember what I said about spelling your name Mackie Doyle? Start spelling.

Maggie: One of the things that bemuses me most about being your critique partner is the way that you write your novels. It’s at these times that I most doubt your humanness. Would you care to share with the readers here on Amazon how you draft?

Brenna: No, I would not. Because it makes me look crazy. But now that you’ve called me out on it, I probably should, huh? Okay, kind people on Amazon, here’s the thing: it may come as no surprise that I am really weird about writing.

It’s sort of like I hear the story in my head, but not clearly enough to transcribe it verbatim, which means at any given time I only know about half on a sentence, and the rest is just a sound. So, I write down the parts I’m sure of and leave the other parts blank. Only to mark the blank parts so I remember to go back and fill them in, I do like this: ,,,, So, any given sentence in a draft could look like, “With,,,, he ,,,,, to the,,,,,,,and,,,,,.” It is basically the Mad Libs of drafting.

Maggie: As someone who writes and reads about homicidal faeries myself, I loved the creepy creatures who lived under Gentry. The Morrigan was my favorite character in the entire book. Do you think you’ll ever return to the world of faeries?

Brenna: As of right now this-very-minute, there are no concrete plans for another Gentry book, but that doesn’t mean my brain isn’t clamoring with possible scenarios (my brain clamors a lot). I make no promises, and leave it at this: never say never.

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up–In this grim debut novel, the Doyles hide the terrible secret that 16-year-old Mackie is a changeling who was swapped for their real son when he was a baby. In their town of Gentry, there is an unspoken acknowledgment that a child is stolen every seven years in an uneasy bargain for the town's prosperity. Mackie's struggles to go unnoticed are made more difficult by his severe allergies to iron and other metal, his inability to set foot on consecrated ground such as his minister father's church, and his tendency to become severely ill around blood. Now he is dying. When a classmate's baby sister is abducted and a Replacement left in her place, Mackie is reluctantly drawn into the age-old rift between the Morrigan and the Lady, sisters who lead the two changeling clans who live underneath Gentry. Mackie agrees to help the Morrigan maintain the unwitting townspeople's goodwill in exchange for a drug he needs to survive. Meanwhile, he and his friends plot to rescue Tate's stolen sister from the Lady. Yovanoff's innovative plot draws on the changeling legends from Western European folklore. She does an excellent job of creating and sustaining a mood of fear, hopelessness, and misery throughout the novel, something that is lightened only occasionally by Mackie's dry humor and the easy charm of his friend Roswell. The novel ends with a glimmer of hope, though the grisly and disturbing images throughout may overshadow the more positive ending. Still, teens who enjoy horror and dark fantasy novels will no doubt flock to the shelves for Mackie's story.–Leah J. Sparks, formerly at Bowie Public Library, MD. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 750L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Razorbill; First Edition edition (September 21, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595143378
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595143372
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (208 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #655,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

I'm good at soccer, violent video games, and making very flaky pie pastry.

I'm bad at dancing, making decisions, and inspiring confidence as an authority figure. I suspect this is because I am short, and also terrible at sounding as though I have any idea what I'm talking about.

I was homeschooled until I was fifteen, which has probably affected my world view in ways I can't fathom.

Also, I really, really like parentheses. (Really.)

Customer Reviews

I liked the relationship between Mackie and his sister Emma.
MC
The story and plot were simple, and the premise seemed very interesting.
4Bn0rmL
All in all...I gave this two stars mostly because of the cover.
Book_Junkie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Christina (A Reader of Fictions) on November 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This was one of the books Penguin was really excited about and promoting like crazy at ALA, along with Eternal Ones. This book proved to be disappointing as well. The plot was certainly interesting, not one I have encountered before, although I think similar stories may exist. Yovanoff does manage to achieve a fairly gothic feel in some parts, although it is very difficult to make a high school party feel gothic, so it does not work perfectly everywhere.

As may have already become apparent, one of the things most important for me when reading a novel are the characters. I want them to feel real and have a good picture of them in my head. Good characters should feel, for example, like friends I will miss when the book is over or enemies I will love to hate all the way through. I know I make this complaint a lot, but the characters in The Replacement just did not make me feel anything. Character descriptions were somewhat sparse and other than Mackie, we get little idea of what the others are like beyond one or two qualities. And Mackie is hard to relate to, because Yovanoff wanted to make him feel unearthly, a bit unhuman, a bit disconnected. She achieves that, but it meant that I felt a bit bored all the way through. When the characters were in danger, I just didn't care, which I see as a bad thing.

Mackie falls in love with Tate or so we, the readers, are to believe. Honestly, when he first confessed, I was confused, because, approximately five pages before, he was just freaked out by her. If you want to have a romance in your book, you need to sell it, rather than just saying that they are in love now. Poof! Magic eternal love commenced!

I recommend this for gothic fans or Maggie Stiefvater fans.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful By K. VINE VOICE on September 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"The Replacement" is everything I had hoped it would be... and more!

As would be expected, it is stuffed full of dark creepiness and things that will make your skin crawl, but it turns out it is also an interesting and well-constructed story. At times i felt a little lost with some of the details of the the story, but they were explained along the way, which actually gave it a more authentic feel. The plot didn't unfold the way i thought it would, which provided several nice surprises through the novel.

However, above all, the most amazing thing about this book are the characters and they way they interact with one another. Individually, they have a depth and genuineness that is uncommon in novels, particularly novels of this type. I was haunted by the stabbing truth of the characters in this story, and warmed by the way that they cared for each other. Especially in YA novels it is so rare to find families that actually like one another, and even more rare to find teen characters who understand that their parents act the way they do out of LOVE for them. Each of the main characters is flawed but lovable, and i just could not stop thinking about them, long after setting the book down.

While "The Replacement" is definitely a dark "horror" novel, it is so, so much more, and a book that i highly recommend.
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32 of 41 people found the following review helpful By TrishNYC VINE VOICE on August 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Mackie Doyle has always known there was something different about him and so has the rest of the town. In order to avoid calling attention to himself, he has spent most of his sixteen years in the shadows, avoided making too many friends and just generally trying to lay low. Despite trying to avoid the three things that make his physical existence very hard, iron, blood and consecrated ground, he now finds himself very sick and nothing seems to make him better. But while he is battling his personal problems, the town is abuzz with news of the recent death of four year old Natalie. Her older sister Tate is his classmate and her insistence on not playing the grieving sister is a source of puzzlement for her classmates. Tate unlike the rest of the town of Gentry refuses to stick to her assigned role and will not be silent on the loss of her sister who she believes is still alive. She refuses to tow the party line that the town has steadfastly maintained despite the disappearance of their children through the ages.

When I saw this book months ago, I immediately wanted to read it. The cover art was so beautiful that while I rarely choose books based on covers alone, I was intrigued. And when I read the book's synopsis, I was totally sold. I was interested to read about the concept of Changelings especially as told from the child's perspective. Unfortunately, after reading this book, I have to say that I am throughly disappointed. The ideas for the book were absolutely solid and would have made for an excellent book especially as it definitely aimed to differentiate itself from much of the current YA fare. The problem for me was in the execution. I spent much of the first half of the book not entirely sure what was going.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amanda on August 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When I picked up The Replacement, I wasn't really sure what to expect. I knew that this was Brenna Yovanoff's first novel, but I'm also familiar with her online flash fiction and her relationship to Maggie Stiefvater, author of werewolf novels Shiver and Linger, which I'm not particularly a fan of. But The Replacement cover intrigued me, as well as the concept behind it, so I decided to give it chance.

The Replacement studies the concept of changelings, but with a gritty, dark twist reminiscent of old-school Grimm's Fairy Tales -we're talking the creepy, moral-infused versions before Disney got ahold of it.

Mackie has always known that he isn't like other teenagers. He's been branded a freak by everyone in the town of Gentry even though strange things happen in Gentry -strange, rotten things like child disappearances and unexplained deaths. He has a allergic reaction to metal, blood and consecrated ground. Not to mention that he isn't human and he's slowly dying. Plus it doesn't help that he's fallen in love with the oddly compelling Tate, whose younger sister has gone missing. In the search to find out who he really is and to find a missing child, Mackie discovers the horrific, twisted secrets beneath Gentry and about himself.

The Replacement is written in a strong, to-the-point voice completely devoid of fluff. Frankly, I found the infusion of a gritty, raw world with such a haunting and no-nonsense voice incredibly refreshing for a YA novel. Though minimalist, it conveyed the perfect amount of detail while balancing it effortlessly with plot. Yovanoff's writing style captured me from the first sentence and never let me go -in fact, I'm dying for more from her.
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