When The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff first came out, it looked far too weird for me. Just take a look at the cover, know that I run from all things horror-esque, and you’ll see what I mean! But I kept reading reviews that started something like, “At first I thought this book would be creepier than I like, but…,” and then Hannah suggested it to me directly when I was looking for audiobooks to try. So, I gave in and listened to The Replacement on audio.

About the Book:

Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff (audiobook cover)Mackie Doyle isn’t normal. He can’t enter the consecrated ground in the town cemetery. Metal causes him excruciating pain. And then there’s the story his older sister Emma has told him, about the night years ago when the real Mackie was, well, replaced.

Mackie’s hometown of Gentry isn’t normal, either. Strange things happen there that no one talks about. Every few years, a child suddenly changes drastically and dies shortly after. It’s just part of Gentry. Everyone turns a blind eye.

Mackie spends his teenage days keeping a low profile and trying to fit in at school. But there comes a point when Mackie begins to wonder who — or what — he really is. As he digs up the secrets the town has kept buried, Mackie begins to uncover a truth that is neither black nor white but something different altogether.

My Thoughts:

I’m not going to lie and say The Replacement wasn’t creepy. In fact, it sneaked up and toed the line of my own creepiness threshold pretty regularly. The whole novel had a Tim Burton feel to it, and if they ever do a movie adaptation, I hope he directs it. I found myself imagining many scenes as something out of his weirder movies.

But what kept me going was that underneath the layer of bizarrity (new word) was a warm, fuzzy sort of truth of the very best kind that made the ghastly creatures and events less horrifying. As I listened to Mackie navigate between the two worlds — worlds he was simultaneously part of and apart from — I started to get the feeling that who he was was more than where he had come from and what he was made of. For being such a strange, dark book, The Replacement has a pretty nice message tucked into its deepest corners.

The Replacement is populated by all sorts of characters. Luckily, there were some I really loved. Mackie himself comes across as a nice and well-meaning guy who is trying to solve a riddle much bigger than himself. His best friend, Roswell, is delightfully easygoing, the sort who stands by a friend come hell or high water. And my favorite was Emma, Mackie’s sister, whose fierce love for her brother never wavers. The realness of those three made up for the weird other-worldliness of some of the others.

The audiobook is read by Kevin T. Collins. His inflection is just a hair off somehow, but in a way that makes his narration unique. Since Mackie himself is just slightly off, the match was perfect. I couldn’t tell if whatever Collins was doing was intentional, but it went away when he was speaking for other characters, so perhaps it was his own take on Mackie. My only problem was with one gory part, when I almost had to stop listening because it was getting a bit gross. But my squeamishness certainly isn’t the narrator’s fault! If you’ve been meaning to give The Replacement a try, I would absolutely recommend the audiobook.

Those are my thoughts. Check out The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff on Goodreads or LibraryThing, read a plethora of other bloggers’ reviews, or listen to an Audible sample!

Join the Conversation


  1. I do have to admit that that cover is a bit bizarre, but the underpinnings of the story sound really interesting and intriguing. I sort of like a good scary read every now and then, and although this one is not too scary, I think it sounds like something that I would probably enjoy. Thanks for the very thoughtful and thorough review on this one. I might just make it my next audio!

  2. It’s been a long time since I’ve read horror, but this sounds like something that could definitely get me back into the genre. I love creepy!

  3. The cover actually kept me from reading reviews which is pretty dumb but it didn’t interest me. When I saw that you read it I was very curious since I didn’t think it was your kind of book…and, of course, now I understand. I’m intrigued by this book and Mackie now for sure although I’m still not sure about the creepy parts and the weird worlds. I really enjoyed your review, Erin and I think I’m going to listen to an audible sample!

  4. I really loved the eerie tone of the book and the messages/themes were brilliant. I did think that the storytelling was patchwork and didn’t quite gel together cohesively somehow. I would definitely read more by BY in future though.

  5. OK … that wins “most creepy cover” award!!! Might be a good choice for the RIP challenge this year. I’m actually intrigued by the description you gave though.

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