This is another book that I've been wanting to read since it came out (clearly I need to get up on this whole reading new releases thing. *shakes fist at schoolwork*), and another one that I found was definitely worth the wait.
There is a delightfully creepy atmosphere to this whole book, and I loved the idea that the whole town knows that something terrible is happening, but they ignore it, because they think in the long run it's helping them. And because the truth isn't something they want to look at too closely.
Mackie Doyle, however, can't escape that truth because that is what he is. He is a changeling who has somehow survived iron poisoning long enough to reach the age of sixteen, pretending to be normal and fade into the background.
One thing I really enjoyed about this book was the way that changeling folklore was woven so neatly into small town America. Brenna Yovanoff found a way to make everything fit together so nicely, from Mackie's extreme discomfort riding in cars to the way he deals with his inability to follow his pastor father into church by pretending he's being rebellious to the places that the fairy folk are hiding underground. It was so seamlessly done, so well thought out, that there was never a moment where I thought "hang on, how does that work?" It all made perfect sense, as though it could really happen that way.
But my favorite thing about this book was Mackie himself. In spite of everything, in spite of how much he's suffering because of the iron, his feelings of guilt that he isn't really Malcom Doyle even though he pretends to be, and his desperate attempts to blend into the woodwork, Mackie is just so nice. He's one of those protagonists you just want to hug forever and promise them that it'll all turn out okay. Mackie's relationship with his sister Emma is just so lovely (and I really liked that Emma had a large role to play in the story, rather than just being a token family member). I'm seriously convinced that, as Maggie Stiefvater and Brenna Yovanoff are critique partners, they are planning to take over the world by first winning us all over with their nice-guy protagonists.
(In related news, I'm seriously excited for FOREVER, which comes out today. MUST GO TO BOOKSTORE.)
THE REPLACEMENT is truly a great read, one of those books where the setting is truly another character and sporting and ending that makes you go "oh, that's perfect!" This is definitely something to pick up the next time you're at a bookstore or a library.