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The Taking of Jake Livingston cover art

The Taking of Jake Livingston

Written by: Ryan Douglass
Narrated by: Kevin R. Free,Michael Crouch
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Publisher's Summary

An Instant New York Times Best Seller!

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.

©2021 Ryan Douglass (P)2021 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

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

“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

“A teenage version of Get Out, and you will not be disappointed.... Author Douglass looks at race and trauma and death with a comical and horror-esque twist.” (The Root

What listeners say about The Taking of Jake Livingston

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  • TheColorNerd
  • 14-10-21

Brings up too much trauma

I am graduated and gone from high school and college, but I was part of the post-columbine active shooter culture. This book brought me right back to the terror of the American schooling system as I experienced it. There's a strong focus on school shooting, and I thought I could handle it, but about an hour and a half in I just can't stomach the reminder of how scared I was in high school. It's not often that I return an Audible title, but this one is going back because I just can't put myself through the pain of reading it.

It does seem to be a well-written YA novel. The narration fits the story well -- sometimes too well for my nerves in the sections narrated by the school shooter -- and the voices are fairly well differentiated. I wouldn't say it's not appropriate for the YA audience, but I would recommend screening it before giving it to a child. Things that are scary in adulthood sometimes aren't so scary to a younger person, and I think this is likely the case here. I read books about school shootings while I was in school and didn't find them a fraction as disturbing as I found this book now.

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  • Torrie
  • 19-07-21

A more grown up, darker Paranorman

I loved this. Loved the concept of deadworld. Choices were made for voicing girls. lol

3 people found this helpful

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  • Double B
  • 14-01-22

SO BAD

I listened to this book because of a suggestion online. The story is rather lame and lacks hype or significance. The worst part about it all though is the onslaught of “trendy” drama. The main character is a gay black kid who of course attends an all white school. The endless suggestions of “white privilege”, “white homophobia”, and “victim because black” is smeared everywhere. Literally skipped multiple sections of the book and raced to the end in hopes of some sort of enjoyment, but was progressively disappointed. If you slurp up the mainstream garbage being thrown around, you’ll love the title! Would rate negative stars across the board if I could.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-11-22

WOW WHAT A GREAT BOOK

Douglass does a great job of utilizing imagery to set the scene and create character development. I finished this book so quickly! He did a really great job filling in any gaps or questions, so no sequel is needed but I’d honestly read the whole series. Overall this book was great right out the gate and finished just as well! An addictive read!

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  • Carmilla
  • 12-10-22

loved every second of it

i read this book in one day, it was amazing, fun and intriguing. i highly recommend it to supernatural lovers and lgbtqia readers

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  • Tanisha
  • 12-01-23

That was a nail biter!!!

So lemme just say the descriptions and attention to detail were on point! ( kinda gross) but on point. The author does a great job at showing the parallels between the protagonist and antagonist, but also how family and positive influence can be the difference! It’s a relatively short listen, but a great story!

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  • Jahneil gilbert
  • 10-01-23

First audible

I enjoyed the story and the narrators, they were the first ones I’ve found that actually sounded good like they’re voices belonged to their character, Great book

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  • The Fourth Summers Brother
  • 12-12-22

A breath of fresh air

I've read plenty of books dealing with mediums, but never one quite like this. The protagonist, Jake, truly grows on you until you can't help but feel protective of him. Sawyer is a legitimately terrifying antagonist, one that I was constantly afraid of what he would do. The supporting cast is very life-like, and round out this tale nicely. The Taking of Jake Livingston is delightful story!

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  • Kt
  • 25-10-22

A little too much trauma

So, performance-wise this was a fine book. However, I couldn't really get into the story, and found the POV of the school shooter frustrating as it really seemed to be trying to justify actions. Did not finish.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 13-09-22

is this me but supernatural?

I found Jake very relatable, this book has every genera I love how this story fits with anyone's life though any character it's scary how well you can relate to any character 10/10 recommend

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 03-11-21

a not to me missed ya thriller

A fabtsically gripping YA thriller about a boy called Jake, who as a medium becomes haunted by the sprint of a high school shooter.
Expertly performed in multiple POV this story touches on issues surrounding, homophones, racism, mental health and the teen experience.

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  • hansondf
  • 12-10-21

Gripping and Fun!

I loved the way the story split across two perspectives, the distinct voices of both Jake and Sawyer made them feel distinctive and the relationships Jake and Sawyer had with not only their peers and family but with the reader felt believable and intimate 💖💕