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The Taking of Jake Livingston

Written by Ryan Douglass

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The Taking of Jake Livingston Review

Fantasy / Magical Featured Books for 13+ readers Featured Books for Young Adults Horror & Ghost Stories Personal Social Health Economic (PSHE) School Stories Thrillers

An inventive supernatural horror story that blends ghostly chills and revenge with the real-life horrors of discrimination

Powerfully applying the horror genre to explore racism and homophobia in a high school setting, Ryan Douglass’ The Taking of Jake Livingston is an un-put-down-able, chilling tale for our times.

Sixteen-year-old Jake isn’t exactly your average teenager. He’s a medium, he can see the dead. Ghouls and zombie-like beings appear to him, ectomist seeps into his vision, “snakelike and sinister”. Jake is also one of the few black students at his private high school: “I hate it here. Every time we run warm-ups it’s like there’s a BLACK KID sign blinking above my head like a firetruck light”.

As a result, the arrival of a gorgeous new black student is especially welcome, and brings the promise of romance. But Jake’s visions are worsening, to say the least. While most of the ghouls he sees are harmless, Sawyer Doon’s spirit is vengeful. After killing six students in a high school shoot-out, Sawyer killed himself, and is now set on using Jake to exact revenge.

As an intense and chilling story of survival unfolds at breakneck speed, The Taking of Jake Livingston balances edge-of-your-seat scares and action with emotionally engaging themes.

Joanne Owen

Other Info

A New York Times bestseller Get Out meets Holly Jackson in this YA social thriller where survival is not guaranteed.

The Taking of Jake Livingston Synopsis

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, 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. High school has become a different kind of survival game - one Jake is not sure he can win.

The Taking of Jake Livingston Press Reviews

'This book is absolutely incredible, chilling, and a must-read' - Buzzfeed

'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

'An exceptional blend of genres - horror, mystery, thriller and contemporary... An extraordinarily crafted exploration of agency during Black gay teenhood' - Shelf Awareness, starred review

'Fast-paced... a satisfying addition to the supernatural horror section.' - Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781839132506
Publication date: 03/03/2022
Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781839132506
Publication date: 3rd March 2022
Author: Ryan Douglass
Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 256 pages
Suitable for: 13+ readers, YA readers
Genres: Fantasy / Magical, Horror & Ghost Stories, Personal Social Health Economic , Racism / Multi-Culturalism, Sexuality / Relationships, School Stories, Thrillers

About Ryan Douglass

Ryan Douglass was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, where he currently resides, cooking pasta and playing records. He enjoys wooden-wick candles, falling asleep on airplanes, and advocating for stronger media representation for queer Black people.

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