The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass

Published: 13 July 2021

Genres: Young Adult’s Fiction, Supernatural, Romance, Contemporary Fiction, Thriller

Available as: Hardcover, E-book, Audiobook


The Taking of Jake Livingston tells the story of Jake and Sawyer, two gay males, struggling to understand how their sexuality fits into their sense of self through alternating chapters. Jake is one of the few Black students at his school besides his brother, Benji. While trying to navigate his high school life and bullying from students like Chad, he also sees ghosts re-experiencing the moments of their death. He tries to avoid them as much as he can until his next door neighbour is murdered and one tries to take over his body. Sawyer’s story is told through his diary, describing his struggle with confiding in others about his desire to commit suicide. Eventually, he takes his life after committing a mass murder at his school. Unable to rest in peace, Sawyer needs Jake’s body to help him get his revenge. There is attempted rape in the story.


I would recommend this text to teens and young adults who struggle with navigating relationships and building self-esteem. The text portrays both adults and teens striving to navigate their romantic relationships. However, it seemed the female partners were persevering to maintain the relationships more. By having male main characters, it emphasizes the idea that relationships are built by both parties and that as a male, it is okay to communicate one’s feelings. The pacing of the author’s writing captured the feeling of being unable to handle everything that is going on. The one question that the text left me with was whether Jake, possessed by Sawyer, really killed Rod because news about it never reappeared in the story later.

Overall Rating: πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ—

3.5 – It was engaging

Ending: πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ• – 3/5

Plot: πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ• – 3/5

World-building: πŸŒ• πŸŒ• πŸŒ•πŸŒ•- 4/5

Characters: πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ• – 4/5

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