This is a review of The Takedown by Corrie Wang.
I was sent this book by the author’s publicist in exchange for an honest review.
Overall Rating: ★★★★☆
Content Rating ★★★★☆
Writing Style Rating: ★★★★☆
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?
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As you can tell from the Goodreads synopsis, The Takedown is an intriguing read about how difficult it can be to remove something life-changing from the Internet. This fascinating novel brings to mind a lot of questions about our use of technology. Although Kylie is living sometime in the future (the book doesn’t give a date, but mid-late 2000’s seems to be a good guess), it is all too easy to imagine her issues as our own. Kylie lives in a world where social media isn’t just another fancy option–it’s a way of life (and yes, I realize we are quickly moving that direction!). People are glued to their “Docs,” and constantly browsing sites like “Connect Book,” “YurTube,” etc.. However, the technology in this story has progressed to where you are automatically tagged in anything with your face and you cannot permanently untag yourself. (Creepy, right?) This book especially calls out that fine print that we almost never read before hitting the “accept” box. It’s so easy to sign away our rights without giving it a second thought!
This book is unlike any other tech-crazy book I have ever read! Not only is it realistic with its approach to technology (some books are just too far-fetched to be relatable), it’s a MYSTERY book. You can bet this makes for an interesting genre combination. 😉 I’m no computer geek, but the unpredictable plot twists in The Takedown had me reading this book in just two sittings.
As I mentioned above–and I think it merits noting again–this book was realistic. The technology wasn’t anything I couldn’t easily imagine happening sometime in the near(ish) future. No hovercrafts or whatnot. This made it far easier for me to sympathize with Kylie’s issues. I always find it difficult to empathize with a character whose world seems ridiculously fictitious.
Throughout the book, you discover that Kylie is an extremely complicated character. Like all people, she is quite the cocktail of good and bad, kind and (unintentionally-but-nonetheless) cruel, understanding and unfeeling, etc.. Although she has “friends,” the video scandal forces her to reevaluate those friendships. I think we all can agree that social media has drastically changed how we create and maintain friendships, and not necessarily for the better…
The writing style of this book is actually kind of hilarious. Half the time, it’s like you’re reading someone’s texts. (“O-M-G! That dress!”) Other times, well… “All caps, WOW.” Yep, the author writes like that. However, it just adds flavor to the text–there isn’t enough thrown in to hinder the reading process.
This is sort of a tough one for me. See, there were some parts of the book (regarding Kylie’s friends) that made me (and Kylie, haha) more than a little uncomfortable. However, it’s a bit hard to explain in a book review. See, it’s the sort of thing where I’d have to write an entire 15-page essay explaining exactly why I personally objected to it and in what conditions those particular objections apply. Complicated, right? Soooooo if you read all of this review (including the breakdown at the end) and are concerned about something, you’re welcome to shoot me an email and I’ll give you a more detailed idea of what bothered me! But I’ll say here that it was nothing explicit and nothing I think most parents would necessarily object to their mid-older teens reading. (And you know I tend to be picky there!) It was more of a personal thing.
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Overall, I would recommend this book to all you geeks. 😉 It wasn’t my favorite book (I’m not a geek, remember!) but I definitely enjoyed it. I found The Takedown to be intriguing, well-written, and relatable. Definition of a well-rounded 4 star novel! 🙂
Creepiness content: 4
Grief content: 3
Language content: 4
Religion content: 2
Romance content: 4
Sexual content: 6
Violence content: 1