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The Taking of Jake Livingston (ARC) (Review)

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Boo! Did I scare you? No. Darn. I’ll have to leave the frights to the professionals…like Ryan Douglass and his debut!

This book deals with some heavy topics in addition to the scaries, so please take care of yourself first beloved. TW include but are not limited to: repeated visualizations of death, a school shooting, mass murder, sociopathy, stabbing, and blood.

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The Taking of Jake Livingston stars Jake, a Black boy at a predominantly white high school. He can see ghosts and that usually (read: always) interferes with his daily life. The ghosts are stuck in their death loops, so they’re completely harmless, it’s just hard to focus on math when an old school car slams through the wall and a student from yesteryear dies because of it. Repeatedly.

Let me start by saying that I wanted to like this book. I was unbelievably hype when from the moment I saw the cover reveal to the day that I was gifted a copy by PenguinTeen…but for me, that’s where the fun ended.

We spent an awful lot of time in the mind, er journal, of Sawyer Doon. Spoilers: he’s not our MC, and (in my opinion) he shouldn’t have had as big a part as he did. I only got 67 pages in to the book, so it’s completely possible that things were going to start picking up but I wasn’t willing to wait around.

Jake Livingston was highly atmospheric and spooky and plenty creepy, but I think it wasn’t creepy in the way I wanted it to be. I am very thankful to PenguinTeen for sending me an ARC to read and review. Receiving this material in no way affected my opinion of this novel.

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Ryan Douglass is an author, poet, and freelance writer from Atlanta, Georgia. His work on race, literacy, sexuality, and media representation has appeared in The Huffington Post, Atlanta Black Star, Everyday Feminism, Nerdy POC, Age of Awareness, LGBTQNation, and Medium, among others. The Taking of Jake Livingston is his debut novel and was released July 13th from Putnam, an imprint of Penguin.

To keep up with Ryan online, visit them at! To purchase your own copy of Jake Livingston, you can use my Bookshop affiliate link, or shop your favorite book retailer!

Published by stacialovestoread

I’m a firsttime blogger and a lifelong reader. Join my journey here, and on my bookstagram @stacialovestoread!

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