Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Review: Takedown

Publish December 3, 2013

17170555Takedown Allison van Diepen 978-1-4424-8690-4 Simon and Schuster Sept. 2013. 280 pp. Ages 14 and up. In Takedown, Allison Van Diepen’s eighth teen novel, Darren’s got a lot of catching up to do. After taking the fall for two of Diamond Tony’s dealers, Darren spent two years in juvie, plotting payback for the gang that put him behind bars. He secretly longs for the lovely and alluring Jessica Thomas, and he’s working hard to finish high school so he can go to university, but those dreams are on hold until Diamond Tony and his entire operation are off the streets. Acting as an informant, Darren infiltrates Diamond Tony’s gang and begins to leak its secrets. When a dangerous turf war erupts, Darren loses his police contact, and, suddenly, he’s alone. Now, Darren must keep a step ahead of the police, his own gang, and their rivals without breaking his cover and risking those he loves. Turns out, payback is expensive and Darren hasn’t calculated all of the costs. An authentic voice in urban fiction, Allison Van Diepen writes from her own experiences as a high school teacher in New York City and Ottawa. Thought-provoking and illuminating, Takedown reflects the tragedy of inner-city youth, who make impossible choices to survive and become defined by their circumstances, unable to shed the stigma of poverty and addiction. Van Diepen presents gang life through the disillusioned voice of Darren, who defines success as the ability to get even, get educated, and get out of the ghetto. Gritty and uncompromising, Darren’s story is ultimately emancipatory, honestly articulating the lived reality of the inner-city with dignity and respect. Karen Doerksen Karen Doerksen lives in Sherwood Park, Alberta with her husband and four children. She works for the Edmonton Public Library, and holds a master’s degree in Library and Information Studies from the University of Alberta. Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. This review, and all of our children’s book reviews, are free to reprint and repost. Download the files here or Contact Us for more information. Word: Takedown PDF: Takedown