I'm very cheerful because yesterday, I just got a finished copy of THE REPLACEMENT from my crit partner Brenna. It's finally almost here (9/21)! The photo stinks because it is gorgeous and metallicky, so there is only hot reflection action instead of clouds like you see in real life on the cover. Anyway, yes, I'm revoltingly excited about this, almost as excited as for my own books, and yes, I've blurbed this one. (see my thoughts on blurbing here).
So, because I want people to *believe* me when they see a quote from me on the front of a book, I'm very picky about what I choose to blurb. To this point, it's only been three YA novels: STOLEN, by Lucy Christopher, BLOOD MAGIC, by Tessa Gratton (comes out spring of 2011), and this book: THE REPLACEMENT, by Brenna Yovanoff. My quote on this one (the finest quote ever, you must agree)(by the most modest author ever, you must agree), is: "I loved this eerie and beautiful story of ugly things. It should be read aloud after dark, at a whisper."
(fine, YES, it took me hours to write that sentence)
The hook itself is pretty tantalizing: in the town of Gentry, everyone ignores the source of their prosperity: sacrifices of human children made to the other world that lives alongside Gentry. Replacements are left in the cribs of the babies. Replacements that usually sicken and die before they get too old. No one says the 'f' word: faerie, but any faerie lore junkie will recognize their brand of creepy.
Mackie, our narrator, is one of the Replacements. He's is battling the iron aversion that the Replacements have but he's made it to his teen years . . . well, barely. He's hanging on. He's now just trying to navigate high school life and staying alive. But when one of his classmate's sisters is taken, Mackie can't just let it go. Cue eerie characters, a hot kiss or two, and trips to the terrifying slag heap.
So. There are lots of things for faerie geeks to love in this book, even if they creatures are never called faeries. Dangerous bargains, taboos, iron aversions, musicality, a certain flexible morality. And I suppose I would be lured by those things regardless. But that's not what made me blurb this book. What made be blurb the book is that Mackie has a great voice and the book has a mood that hangs off the pages and creeps around your feet while you read it. Somewhere on the book jacket it mentions Tim Burton, I think, and I completely see why -- there is a darkness and whimsy both to Brenna's books (I've had a chance to read her next one too and YE GODS!).
Then there is the prose. I get frustrated when I open a book and it could be any other book on the shelf -- I want to see an author's particular filter, a character's particular voice, something that makes that reading experience different from another on a sentence-by-sentence level instead of a chapter by chapter level. And THE REPLACEMENT has that. It's spare and deceptively simple, but as an author, I can see every sentence working hard on at least two levels. It's a book to take apart and analyze. It's a book to read twice.
Yeah, I loved it.