Thursday, September 5, 2013

Takedown by Allison van Diepen

Takedown by Allison Van Diepen
Release Date - September 3, 2013
Publisher Website -  Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  288 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
A teen infiltrates a drug ring to settle a vendetta in this fast-paced novel from the author of Street Pharm and Snitch.Darren took the fall for Diamond Tony, the notorious head of the city’s drug cartel. Two years later, Darren’s finally out of juvie—and determined to get even.

Working as an informant for the police, Darren infiltrates Diamond Tony’s operation. But falling for sweet, innocent Jessica was not part of that plan. She’s a distraction—and a liability. She’s also everything Darren dreamed about while he was locked up, and with her, he has the promise of a fresh start.

When a deadly turf war breaks out between Diamond Tony and the Bloods, Darren gets caught in the crossfire. The cops think he’s playing both sides, and any mistake could be his last. Darren has to stay on his game if he’s going to protect Jessica—and if he’s going to stay alive.
Drugs, lies, betrayal, and grittiness. Takedown has it all. A novel that surprised me, provided something unique, and had a strong character voice.

Darren is a character who has made mistakes, paid for them, and is now trying to redeem himself. He had an eye opening experience in juvenile detention and comes out angry, and determined. He wants nothing more than payback, and is willing to go to any lengths to get it. His voice read incredibly authentic. I could picture this character clearly in my mind, and felt his motivations. He is really the only character that this happens with as the secondary ones don't come to life in the same way. His a sympathetic character whom you instantly want something more for. His desire to create a better life for his younger brother is heartwarming and provides a warmth to a character that is otherwise cold with revenge.

Due to the world Darren is inhabiting, the entire novels is read on edge. You're all too aware that at anytime Darren's true nature could be revealed, and everything could come crashing down around him. The consequences for this would be catastrophic and deadly. Allison van Diepen pulls no punches and makes it abundantly clear that these streets Darren walk are dangerous. It resulted in some unexpected developments. The novel went a few places I wasn't expecting it to (and some that I was expecting). It's those moments that made the novel stand out to me, because the predictable route was deliberately left.

Jessica, and Darren's sister serve as a sort of conscience for Darren. The old Darren, anyways. The one who would have gotten into trouble. They are often also the voice of reason. I saw potential in Jessica, and  but their role just wasn't expanded upon enough. Darren's mother is deplorable, and yet, even though you don't agree with it, you understand her motivations.

 The ending of this novel is the only way it could have ended. It shows that no matter what, this lifestyle never really lets go once it has you. Even if you claw your way out, there is always going to be someone, or something to remind you where you started.

Gritty, and intense in a way that I had not expected. Takedown is very different from most YA out there, and  unlike anything I had previous read. That is exactly why you should pick this one up.


  1. Sounds very interesting. The lack of side character depth is an issue, but I think the dangerous premise is fun enough to maybe make up for it. I hadn't heard of this book before so thanks for bringing it to my attention!

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

  2. What was diamond Tony's character like?


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