Brenna Yovanoff is the author of Paper Valentine, Smoulder, and The Replacement, which was her debut novel. She is also one third of the Merry Sisters of Fate along with Maggie Stiefvater and Tessa Gratton. Brenna lives in Denver, Colorado.
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.
Many high school students feel like outsiders, but in this dark fantasy Mackie Doyle has better reason than most to be alienated. Mackie is a changeling, a fairy child exchanged for a stolen human baby. Everyone knows it, though no one will acknowledge it, for fear of upsetting a deal the town made long ago. What, after all, is one baby taken every seven years, in exchange for continued economic prosperity? "Everyone else's unemployment skyrockets, and their tech plants go bankrupt and their dairy farms fail, but not ours," says Mackie's sister, Emma, one of the few who will acknowledge the town's secrets. Mackie, however-sickened by iron, terrified that his neighbors will turn on him-has paid a terrible price, as has Tate Stewart, who is traumatized by the loss of her baby sister, the latest stolen child. Eventually, the two teenagers join forces in an attempt to overturn the town's intolerable status quo. Debut novelist Yovanoff offers well-developed characters, a fascinating take on the Fairy Court, and an exciting story line. Combined with wicked cover art, this book has the makings of a success. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.