Who gets to decide that something is beautiful? Why must it be the tan, the tall, and the socially perfect? Why not the damaged, the broken, and the socially awkward? Mackie just wants to know who he is in this ugly world where no one talks about the grief that strikes in the night. Ugly. The definition of this word depends on who uses it. It changes with the personality. This novel made me reevaluate all the things in my life that I label ugly. Dilapidated buildings that crumble into dust, burning leaves, gray skies, and rain that feels like it will never end. There is a layer of beauty beneath it. Like haunting lullabies that speak of sleep without waking, it’s something so sad that it tugs at your heart. It is so beautiful yet so ugly at the same time. The words become synonymous. This is the world Yovanoff created– where faeries go nameless and are accepted. No one says a word.
I read this novel in two days. I could not put it down. Mackie’s journey of self discovery kept my interest. This is another book for boys that are fans of fantasy. Mackie works so hard to be invisible, he’s so easy to see. He’s a replacement, a fey child taking the rightful place of the human Malcolm Doyle. He grows up knowing his terrible secret, never sharing and always pretending he’s normal. Pretending is never enough, because one day it all starts to fall apart. Another child is dead and the child’s sister is grieving through anger. The only person she feels she can confide in is Mackie. She insists that what they buried was not her sister– it was something else. Mackie burns with his secret. Everything collapses and he has to look into the darkest corners of Gentry. He must face the ugly things in the shadows and inside himself.
Yovanoff’s style is about finding the balance between the truth and the lies, the beauty and the ugliness. It is pushing our darkest thoughts and fears into the light for us to examine. The dialogue between the characters is rich with emotion and history.
You can pre-order her novel at a variety of book sellers (Borders, Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com)