Brenna Yovanoff’s The Replacement is about a kid who isn’t normal. Oh sure Mackie has friends at school, but he also has severe reactions to the sight of blood and reacts badly to stainless steel and he has to stay out in unconsecrated ground when his father preaches at their local church. Mackie tries to keep a low low profile because his parents have always taught him about what awaits those who are different in the town of Gentry. But when Tate’s sister dies, Tate forces Mackie to quit not looking at the things that make him and the whole town weird.
I liked this book better than Holly Black’s Tithe which is an obvious comparison. It was interesting to read a faerie book where the fae person was a guy, and his relationships with both his male friends and the girls in the book were excellent and believable. There was angst but it wasn’t overpowering, ominousness that went somewhere. The only thing that felt a bit weird to me was the dropping of the musical subplot. It fed into the larger issues Mackie was going through but I’d hoped it would tie in a bit more. But that’s just quibbling. This is great, creepy YA stuff (probably a little fluffy for adult readers who want something dark about stolen children though).
This one isn’t sf, but contemporary fiction in which our hero gets a job at a fast-food enterprise to get back at the jerk who stole his girlfriend. There are shenanigans, makeouts, a horribly ill-advised softball game and unsympathetic adult characters. It all works and Anderson is again, really good at the voice. I like listening to the narrator even when he’s fucking up.
Also, I know good YA books aren’t preachy, and generally I dislike books with “messages” but I really like how one of the big takeaways from the book is [SPOILER ALERT] that everyone makes choices and girlfriends don’t get stolen like a pair of pants. It’s not done in afterschool special style, it’s just there.