The Taking of Jake Livingston

by Ryan Douglass

Children's & YA Fiction

LoveReading Expert Review of The Taking of Jake Livingston

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

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.

What To Read After The Taking of Jake Livingston

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Ryan Douglass 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

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781839132506
Publication date: 03/03/2022
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781984812537
Publication date: 13/07/2021
Format: Hardback

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