Monday, September 9, 2013

ARC Review: Takedown by Allison van Diepen

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publishing Date: September 3rd, 2013
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 288 pgs
ISBN: 9781442463110
Source: Given to me by the publishers for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads:
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.

My Review: 

Earlier this year, we held our second annual Ottawa Blogger Meetup and we were pleasantly surprised to have a special guest visitor.  Allison van Diepen is a local area author who writes YA novels.  She really was a very delightful person to talk to and answered many of our questions about being an author and about the publishing world.  I was pretty happy to get a copy of Takedown in my grab bag to read.  Van Diepen shared that this novel was inspired by the television show The Wire.  The novel centers on Darren, fresh out of juvie, is now a civilian informant with the police. Darren deals drugs for a pretty powerful dealer and feeds information to the police about their operation.  Things get a little complicated when a turf war breaks out.  

 It took me a little while to get into this story because it's not something that I would typically read.  That being said, this is the type of story that I usually watch on TV or in movies so once I did get into this story it didn't take me long to read it.  I found myself wanting to more know more about that characters and what was going to happen next.  I quite liked Darren as a character because while he is trying to do the right thing, he finds himself sucked into the world that he is living in.  I think that this novel shows just how difficult it is to grow up in a neighbourhood like this and not get involved in illegal activity.  It's sad that this dark underworld preys on children and gets them in and hooked before they really understand just how dangerous it is.  It makes it very difficult to do the right thing and to keep your nose clean.  

I have to admit that there were a couple things that bothered me a bit about the book.  These are small things but things that bothered me nonetheless.  I wished that the minor characters were a little more developed.  I got little glimpses of the characters but felt like there was a whole lot more that could have been explored there.  I also think that the ending got tied up fairly quickly.  Again these are not things that made me dislike the story; in fact, I quite liked the story and would recommend it.  I really like that this is a novel that would appeal to both male and female readers.  Overall I give this a solid 3.5 stars.  

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