The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff is, even though the main character is a boy. But the girls in this book kick so much ass that I really think it makes up for it.
Mackie Doyle isn't like the rest of the people in Gentry, his small and gloomy town. Actually, Mackie isn't even human. His parents know it. His sister knows it. His best friend knows it. Half the town might suspect it, but NO ONE talks about it.
In Gentry, babies sometimes get sick and die. But the bodies in the tiny coffins aren't really the grieving parents' offspring. They're replacements.
The creatures who live beneath the slag heap steal human babies and replace them with their own sick children. The replacements all die in their cribs. All except Mackie.
Thanks to his sister's love, Mackie has survived and grown into a teenager. But he lives in fear that the town will learn his secret and persecute him. He does his best to blend in, to be invisible. He doesn't want to think or talk about the truth anymore than the next citizen of Gentry.
But when Tate's younger sister dies, she knows the corpse is not her sister. Tate challenges Mackie to acknowledge who he is and how he can help.
One of the things I love about this book is that Mackie is not a typical hero. He's not brave, or strong, or selfless, or any of the things we expect our heroes to be. Mackie is sickly, poisoned by the iron in the world around him. Sometimes he can barely walk into a room without swooning, let alone fight off bad guys. Also, all Mackie wants is to blend in, be left alone, and survive. He stonewalls Tate to protect himself and at first he won't stick out his neck for anyone.
So that's where the girls come in. Erin, Mackie's sister, will do anything to protect Mackie. She puts herself in danger to save him and her strong love is what has kept him alive in a world his body rejects. And Tate definitely earns the title of kick-ass heroine. I don't want to spoil all the ways she kicks ass, but let's just say she's not afraid to hurt someone in order to protect herself and save her sister.
Tate is fierce. She won't keep quiet, she won't put up with Mackie's crap. She won't back down. I love her.
The Replacement is a dark, creepy story. I mean, how much creepier can you get than dead babies? But there are also tons of universal themes. I think every teenager has felt the urge to just fit in and be unnoticed, the strong desire to be just like everyone else. And I know I've definitely felt like an outsider in my own family and maybe even wondered, was I replaced at birth?
Read The Replacement. You won't be disappointed.