Get Out meets Danielle Vega in this YA horror where survival is not a guarantee.
Jake Livingston is one of the only Black kids at St. Clair Prep, one of the others being his infinitely more popular older brother. It’s hard enough fitting in but to make matters worse and definitely more complicated, Jake can see the dead. In fact he sees the dead around him all the time. Most are harmless. Stuck in their death loops as they relive their deaths over and over again, they don’t interact often with people. But then Jake meets Sawyer. A troubled teen who shot and killed six kids at a local high school last year before taking his own life. Now a powerful, vengeful ghost, he has plans for his afterlife–plans that include Jake. Suddenly, everything Jake knows about ghosts and the rules to life itself go out the window as Sawyer begins haunting him and bodies turn up in his neighborhood. High school soon becomes a survival game–one Jake is not sure he’s going to win.
Title: The Taking of Jake Livingston
Author: Ryan Douglass
Publication Date: July 13, 2021
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Paranormal, LGBTQIA+
This book was a rollercoaster. It’s haunting to the core and made me want to look over my shoulder more than once *just in case*. And, to make matters even better, this book is told in dual POV (one of them being our resident ghost).
This book was so unique and that’s one thing that really drew me in. It mysterious characters, a haunting plot, and unique voices that really carried this story. I knew this book was going to be a gamble for me since I only like about half of the horror books I read, and I’m happy to report this was on the good side. And truly, I think a lot of my enjoyment for this book came from it being *not like other books.*
I also really loved that this book was written in dual POV. We read the story from both the haunted (Jake) and the haunter (Sawyer). This allowed for a full spectrum of surprises and horrors that couldn’t have been achieved with just one. I’m so glad Douglass chose to write it like this.
I also want to mention that this book has a decent amount of trigger warnings. It discusses or briefly mentions racism, school shootings, bullying (especially with homophobia), and abuse. Don’t go into this book expecting a comedic or light read. It’s dark and grungy, but so enjoyable.
Overall, I was very happy with this book. I loved how unique it was and I can’t to read more of what Douglass writes.
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed a gifted and advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.