I highly recommend The Taking of Jake Livingston

If you like a dark tale that is full of suspense and still has a dash of romance, I highly recommend The Taking of Jake Livingston. A lovably nerdy black teen at a nearly all white boys prep school in Atlanta, also has the added challenge of being able to see ghosts and supernatural entities ALL AROUND HIM, ALL THE TIME! Add to that a series of school shootings… Jake’s situation is challenging.

This book seems more Stranger Things than Get Out but this spooky thriller does deal with some pretty heavy issues. Suicide, school shootings, racism, homophobia, child abuse, rape… in some ways it broaches so many subjects that it gets a little muddy in its intent. But that said, it is a worthwhile read. The narrator in the audio book is excellent, but in hindsight I wish I had read it instead of listened to it. I miss details when I listen, and this book in particular might be worth reading it for yourself.

Complicated feelings though, the story doesn’t always make sense. It is interesting. Very violent at times. But character choices and consequences aren’t always believable.

The narrative voice is unique and both accessible and lyrical… yet still a surprise that it was a 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.

As we head into 2024 you might find a little escapism attractive. This is a great read. And the Audiobook is extremely well done.


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