The Taking of Jake Livingston (Paperback)
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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.
About the Author
Ryan Douglass is a queer horror author and freelance writer from Atlanta, Georgia. His work on media representation has appeared in HuffPost, Atlanta Black Star, LGBTQ Nation, and the National Council of Teachers of English, among others. He received his BA in theater studies from Hofstra University and is currently a nomad floating across the United States. The Taking of Jake Livingston is his first novel.
Praise for The Taking of Jake Livingston:
A 2022 ALA Rainbow Book List Pick
A 2021 Tor.com Young Adult Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Best Book Pick
A 2021 Black Caucus American Library Association Best of the Best Booklist Pick
“Spine-chilling YA horror.” —The Boston Globe
“This book is absolutely incredible, chilling, and a must-read.” —BuzzFeed
★ “An exceptional blend of genres—horror, mystery, thriller and contemporary—that brilliantly captures how Jake, a Black gay teen medium, copes with the varying kinds of violence threatening him. . . Douglass creates a clever and effective parallel between what Jake can't control—racism and how his body is perceived, a toxic father, an irresponsible brother, his mother's expectations—and his fight against Sawyer. The story builds to a rewardingly chilling and sentimental climax, as Jake must look deep within himself for the power to break the cycles of harm entrapping him. . . An extraordinarily crafted exploration of agency during Black gay teenhood.” —Shelf Awareness, starred review
“A teenage version of Get Out, and you will not be disappointed. . . Douglass looks at race and trauma and death with a comical and horror-esque twist.” —The Root
“Crucial social commentary and insight into the ways discrimination can isolate and depress young adults. Lush and emotive prose chronicles Jake’s journey…Spooky, atmospheric, and layered.”—Kirkus Reviews
“There are many layers to navigate in this fast-paced trip to and from the world of the dead, including identity, violent and sexual traumas, and the stigma of mental illness, all with a supernatural and often gory twist. . . Ultimately, this is a satisfying addition to the supernatural horror section.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“YA readers looking for thrills and chills this summer will find them here.” —Brightly
“Captures the pain of navigating teenagerhood when no one around you sees the world the way you do…A quick, worthwhile read that manages to pack a lot of dark themes into a tight space.” —The Young Folks
“Chilling, edgy . . . spooky and layered. . .A wonderful genre-meld…This is an excellent debut.” —Cinelinx
“This YA debut from Ryan Douglass is a mix of genres—horror, mystery, thriller, and contemporary–that explores how a Black gay teen medium copes with the various kinds of violence that threaten him.” —Culturess
“Racial and sexuality themes undercut this gripping novel where a teen is haunted by the repercussions of his own sixth sense.” —Cultured Vultures
“A unique and terrifying world built on tension and ghosts.” —The Seattle Times
“Tackl[ing] mental illness, rejection, and loneliness. . . this novel takes a hard look at brutality in many forms, racism, homophobia, and consequences of the choices that we make.” —School Library Journal, review of the audiobook