I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review for my stop on the blog tour found at Donnie Darko Girl.
I went into THE REPLACEMENT looking for an emotional read and was given so much more than I was expecting. When I read the synopsis, I knew I had to find out more about Elise, this girl known as the town whore. And why is she so desperate to keep this reputation? What is she afraid of? Something must have happened to her, I reasoned, but when I was given glimpses into her childhood, I couldn't even have imagined what I'd find there. Her mom? Worst advice giver ever. Her dad? Well, let's just say I had to keep reminding myself during his scenes that this book doesn't take place in the 50's. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
THE REPLACEMENT emotionally affected me much more than I had anticipated. I had to stop and put the book down because I couldn't see to read through my tears. It was as if a dam inside me had broken. I cried for the girl Elise could have become had she been given loving parents and cried for the girl Elise had become - someone who believes she poisons people and doesn't deserve to be loved by anyone. The scenes from her childhood are absolutely heartbreaking.
I could identify with Elise's need to self destruct, and I think that's what broke open the floodgates for me. For completely different reasons, I know what it's like to want to destroy myself while everyone else watches helplessly. One of the people watching Elise self destruct? Jay. He's a much needed father figure for Elise - he cares about her and shows it unlike her own father. Scenes with him made me cry, too!
Ryder was amazing. I couldn't believe how he refused to give up on Elise no matter how much she tried to push him away. He didn't care about her past - he wanted a future with her. On the other hand, she felt she was broken and undeserving of that kind of future. One of my favorite scenes between Elise and Ryder was when they first kissed - she thought to herself that must be what a real kiss was like, and all this time she had been duped into thinking she'd been kissed before. That was a magical moment I was happy she experienced. Every girl needs a Ryder!
After finishing the book, I was emotionally exhausted, but it was worth it. Reading THE REPLACEMENT was cathartic for me - I've been needing a good cry, and this definitely brought it out of me. Elise's story will captivate you and bring out a wide range of emotions. You'll become so immersed in her story you won't even notice anything going on around you. And grab a box of tissues - you're gonna need them!