This novel is billed as Get Out meets Danielle Vega. Get Out I’ve seen and I’ve loved. I didn’t know anything about Danielle Vega and had to take to the Google Machine, where I found out she writes scary stories. I’m not usually one for ghost stories, but the likeness to Get Out was intriguing.
What it’s really about (from Goodreads)
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.
Why I read it
It’s almost as simple as I needed a new audiobook for my commute and this one happened to come off of hold right when I was looking for a new audiobook. I thought I had notes on where I found out about Jake Livingston, but I don’t. I’m a little disappointed about that. Either way, it’s a story about a gay black boy navigating life at the intersection of being gay, black, male, and a medium. I’m intrigued.
And the sticky note says…
#StickyNoteReview for The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass. #SNRtbs The Taking of Jake Livingston in a ghost story that’s not a ghost story. See, Jake’s a medium. He’s also a gay Black boy who seems to spend more time off in space than present.
Douglass’s world building and characterization drive the story – a story that toucher parental neglect, school shooting, mental illness, and the effects of microaggressions.
That the narration is told from two perspectives allows readers to empathize with both characters—Jake, and the boy bent on taking over Jake’s life.