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The Taking of Jake Livingston
Cover of The Taking of Jake Livingston
The Taking of Jake Livingston
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An Instant New York Times Bestseller!Get Out meets Holly Jackson in this YA social thriller where survival is not a guarantee.Sixteen-year-old Jake Livingston sees dead people everywhere. But he can't...
An Instant New York Times Bestseller!Get Out meets Holly Jackson in this YA social thriller where survival is not a guarantee.Sixteen-year-old Jake Livingston sees dead people everywhere. But he can't...
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  • An Instant New York Times Bestseller!
    Get Out meets Holly Jackson in this YA social thriller where survival is not a guarantee.
    Sixteen-year-old Jake Livingston sees dead people everywhere. But he can't decide what's worse: being a medium forced to watch the dead play out their last moments on a loop or being at the mercy of racist teachers as one of the few Black students at St. Clair Prep. Both are a living nightmare he wishes he could wake up from. But things at St. Clair start looking up with the arrival of another Black student—the handsome Allister—and for the first time, romance is on the horizon for Jake.
     
    Unfortunately, life as a medium is getting worse. Though most ghosts are harmless and Jake is always happy to help them move on to the next place, Sawyer Doon wants much more from Jake. In life, Sawyer was a troubled teen who shot and killed six kids at a local high school before taking his own life. Now he's a powerful, vengeful ghost and he has plans for Jake. Suddenly, everything Jake knows about dead world goes out the window as Sawyer begins to haunt him. High school soon becomes a different kind of survival game—one Jake is not sure he can win.

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    I live in Atlanta, but not really. Clark City is too far out for the train to come, unless it’s one of those freight trains crawling slowly down the tracks and forcing cars to wait five minutes for it. Clark City’s half Black, a quarter white, and a quarter blend of Congolese, Eritrean, Afghan, and Vietnamese. Food trucks offer our most convenient eateries—Benton Bell’s wing truck and Strong Island Caribbean Café. Houses hide behind trees, their windows boarded, roofs slogged down in moisture. Construction workers tear projects down and put more corporate things up—car dealerships and gas stations. The breaking and building never ends.

    There is no crosswalk to my subdivision, so I jaywalk when the timing feels right, making it across the street just in time for a car to rip through the fog behind me, thrashing my back with cool air.

    Blue lights flash in the distance, up the curve to my house, and there’s caution tape stretched across a driveway. The police are talking to my neighbors—the Mooneys, I think. Their home is a plantation-style thing with a wraparound fence, dripping with fake cobwebs for Halloween. Also: fake graves in the lawn.

    The middle-aged couple in navy-blue suits are lonely. They hug each other in the driveway. Her head is in his neck, and he’s staring into space. A field of indigo light curls off their heads, forming a smoky field with chunks of matter like planet waste—ice and dust and tiny rocks all melting into a living thing.

    A pair of ghouls hovers over them, dipping their emaciated gray heads down to suck the smoke through their spiky teeth, slit nostrils, and eyeless eyes.

    Their business is none of mine. I keep pushing to my house.

    There’s a ringing from somewhere. No . . . screaming? Screaming and begging.

    “Wait! Stop, WAIT!”

    Must be coming from behind an open window, or dead world. I hear voices from the second world, like the voices that called out to warn Steven a javelin was on its way to kill him. These voices are always in distress. Sometimes they warn; sometimes they plead.

    I’m cold suddenly. Summer always ends late down here, but it’s officially over now, and the wind is not warm anymore. A gust of it blasts my beanie off my head, and I spin to catch it, finding myself face-to-face with a rib cage. A rib cage like . . . a giant rotisserie chicken stripped of meat.

    No nipples; a stretched, long neck; and a giant head, alien-shaped, with gaping holes in place of eyes. The ghoul obscures everything behind it, but if I reached out to touch it, my hand would fade through its body. They’re not real. They only look like they are.

    I turn, and it follows me, like a zombie hobbling after its meal. Then I’m running up my driveway, suddenly unconvinced that it can’t actually touch me. I know what I’ve read about the creatures, and what my medium mentor, Ms. Josette, has taught me—They can’t hurt you, because they can’t touch you.

    So why does the ground shake when they walk, rattling the street pebbles? Why do the asphalt cracks look strained under their footsteps? The hatchbacks and minivans parked on the street seem worried a storm will destroy them.

    The creature’s horrible shadow falls over me, sinking my stomach into no-man’s-land.

    I’m not the one grieving, so I’d be of no interest to the leeches of dead world. They tend to avoid happy people, instead latching on to the most sullen, tragic person in the room. I’ve only ever grieved my dog, Appa, who died of heart...

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    June 1, 2021
    Eleventh grader Jake Livingston fights for survival when the ghost of a school shooter starts to haunt him. Besides dealing with being the only Black kid in his grade, Jake also must contend with the ghosts he sees every day. Remnants of the "dead world" envelop every aspect of his waking life, ghosts distract him in school, he astral projects at night, and now he's the target of a particularly incensed spirit. Sawyer Doon, a White boy who committed a mass shooting at a neighboring high school, has set his sights on Jake, seeking to possess his body and commit more atrocities from beyond the grave. Newfound friends Fiona Chan and Allister Burroughs, a new Black student at St. Clair Prep, assist Jake in his quest to vanquish Sawyer and protect those he loves. Meanwhile, diary entries from Sawyer himself pepper the novel, offering a glimpse into what can drive someone to violence. Jake, who is gay and dealing with the stress of being closeted, not only manages supernatural antagonists, but everyday racism and microaggressions as well. His experiences supply crucial social commentary and insight into the ways discrimination can isolate and depress young adults. Lush and emotive prose chronicles Jake's journey, though the novel's short length and brisk pace leave some crucial aspects of the plot feeling underdeveloped. Spooky, atmospheric, and layered. (Paranormal. 12-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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