Mackie Doyle is a boy in the town of Gentry who is not like the rest of his classmates. He is allergic to iron, even the iron found in human blood and he can't go into the church where his father preaches because he sizzles when he steps on the consecrated ground. To make matters worse, Mackie hasn't been feeling very well for a while. He has episodes of dizziness and can't even ride to school with his best friend unless he rolls the window down. Why is he like this? Why do some of the children in Gentry go missing and then the things left in their cribs die shortly after being left there? Mackie is about to find out. He'll also find out that love is what has kept him alive to see high school and love is going to help him defeat the darkness that uses blood to make the grass grow.
I really liked The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff. The idea of the Celtic fairy beliefs and traditions being alive and well here in the States is an interesting one. Brenna mentions a lot of the old traditions and superstitions like leaving out a bowl of milk for the fair folk, and more importantly, the Celtic belief in Changelings. Changelings are the children of the Fae who are sometimes left in the place of a human infant who is then taken to the Fairy Mound and never seen again. The fairy child left behind is usually described as ugly and scary but some of them did manage to live and become beautiful if the mother took them in as her own and loved them. Fairies are said to be poisoned by iron and their fear of it is the root of the belief that putting an iron nail in your shoe or pocket would ward off any fairies that you might encounter.
Mackie Doyle is one of these Changelings who was left in the crib of little Malcolm Doyle. His sister loved him so much that over time he became pretty to look at and she treats him as if he is her real brother. Mackie first notices Tate, a girl at school, when everyone is talking about how her sister died suddenly. Tate notices that Mackie is not completely normal and at first he avoids her because he doesn't want to arouse suspicion. He knows that if the town knows what he is that they might kill him for it like they did the old man who used to own the music store. But eventually, Mackie and Tate come together to solve her sister's mystery and Mackie realizes that his friends love him for who he is, not for who he has been pretending to be.
The cover is beautiful and eerie. I just love it. The paperback cover with the picture of Mackie is just as beautiful. (And he is not ugly, let me just say that.) I have been hearing great things about this book and I was so glad to finally get my hands on a copy. It was a pleasure to read. It started a tiny bit slow for me but once it got going, it was off and running. I loved the dark feel of it, almost like a Tim Burton movie. What a great read! This is a great book and I'd love to see more from Mackie Doyle and the town of Gentry. The Replacement is Brenna Yovannoff's debut novel and you can find it on Goodreads.
The Replacement earns 5 Fairies for a beautifully dark story about a changeling with a bass guitar and a heart.