Loved this book. Creepy and magical and full of hope. There were times I felt I was reading a Tim Burton movie, specifically his animations like The Corpse Bride or Nightmare Before Christmas, this was a bit distracting but not detrimental. I love the changeling story and this was an excellent version of it. I liked the way gender rolls were turned on their heads. Though Mackie is the hero, he’s not the champion. His love interest Tate is the champion, the fighter, and that was neat to see. But the reason I fell in love with this book is the message of love in the book. That love is what makes you beautiful, not loving, but being loved. It’s most obvious with Mackie who started ugly when he was young, but survived and became beautiful because his sister loved him. It’s there with other characters as well. Like his sister Emma, who says the world sees her as plain but the narrator (Mackie) always describes her as beautiful. Also, a transformation happens with Tate, ignored in the beginning, to radiating light at the end. There’s also the message that love isn’t something we get because we deserve it, or earn it, it is a gift and we shouldn’t reject it just because we feel we don’t deserve it.
I don’t know if there is another story in this world, the book works perfectly as a stand alone, but I would so read another book set in this town. (Maybe an exploration of why Rowan’s family never had children stolen? Prettyplease?) I’d also check out anything else by Yavonoff.