Corrie Wang’s The Takedown wasn’t really on my radar until I saw it on the Amazon editor’s picks for YA in April, but I’m so glad I snagged a last minute ARC on NetGalley. I could not put it down. There is a lot going on in this story beyond the very compelling mystery of who is trying to ruin Kyla, and it is both timely and engaging. The Takedown is publishing Tuesday, April 11, 2017, and it is well worth your time.
Kyla Cheng doesn’t expect you to like her. For the record, she doesn’t need you to. On track to be valedictorian, she’s president of her community club, a debate team champ, plus the yummy Mackenzie Rodriguez has firmly attached himself to her hip. She and her three high-powered best friends don’t just own their senior year at their exclusive Park Slope, Brooklyn high school, they practically define the hated species Popular. Kyla’s even managed to make it through high school completely unscathed.
Until someone takes issue with this arrangement.
A week before college applications are due, a video of Kyla “doing it” with her crush-worthy English teacher is uploaded to her school’s website. It instantly goes viral, but here’s the thing: it’s not Kyla in the video. With time running out, Kyla delves into a world of hackers, haters and creepy stalkers in an attempt to do the impossible-take something off the internet-all while dealing with the fallout from her own karmic footprint. Set in near-future Brooklyn, where privacy is a bygone luxury and every perfect profile masks damning secrets, The Takedown is a stylish, propulsive, and provocative whodunit, asking who would you rely on if your tech turned against you?
It was thought-provoking to follow Kyla through an experience that blurred her carefully cultivated and curated image. I really thought I would be cheering for the downfall of this queen bee, so imagine my surprise when her narrative voice spoke to me deeply. Some people will only see a teen drama with a scary message about personal privacy, but I saw it as a book that makes readers think about how actions will always have consequences – good and bad. Kyla’s character goes through a nice development without betraying her – she doesn’t have to become the things others want her to be in order to grow into a better version of herself – and that was really important to me as a reader. The messages are relevant and strong, and I think they can speak to a wide audience. And that mystery? It kept me guessing right up until the big reveal – bravo! This is definitely going on my high school classroom library wishlist, and it is a book I will highly recommend to my students. Language (some of it in annoying but relevant text talk) and situations are appropriate for grades 10+.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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