Monday, July 3, 2017

The Takedown - Corrie Wang

Title: The Takedown
Author: Corrie Wang
Format: Hardcover


It would have been funny, if it just wasn’t.

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 and 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.


 Kyla Cheng is a senior at Park Prep, a Brooklyn private school.  She is "best friends" with Audra, Sharma, and Fawn - but really, they girls just hang out with each other out of habit, not true friendship or loyalty to each other.  Kyla is also bound to be her school valedictorian, chased for the position by someone she looks down on because that person is "The only person at Park Prep on an art track."  

Towards the beginning of the book, Kyla tells the reader that they won't like Kyla very much by the end of the story.  I agree - except it didn't take me until the end of the story to dislike Kyla (or her friends).  Once I describe the characters and the story, I think you'll see why!  So let's get to it.

 Kyla - The main character is Kyla Cheng.  Her real name is Kyla, but for some reason everyone calls her Kyle. So, just because of how she's referred to throughout the book, I'll call her Kyle.  She is petty and shallow throughout the whole book.  For example, she tells the story about ditching her former best friend Ailey to hang out with Audra, Sharma, and Fawn.  The short: Kyle and Ailey are sitting together.  Audra comes up to their table and tells Kyle they have one (yes one) open seat at their tablet.  (Because pulling up an extra chair for Ailey would just be too much fucking trouble, right?!)  So, Kyle sits with them, and when she asks if Ailey can sit with them too, Audra responds with: "Like I said, we only have four chairs."  So, instead of standing up for her friend, Kyle just looks at Ailey and shrugs her shoulders!  SHE JUST SHRUGS HER SHOULDERS!  (Kyle is like that throughout the entire book, not just to Ailey, but to her new "friends" and her not-a-boyfriend Mac as well.  She only ever thinks about what she wants and never genuinely cares about her friends - which is obvious from the fact that every time they are together, she only talks about what her plans are for her life and never asks what is going on with her friends.  

Audra - she's sort of the "leader" of her little gang of mean girls.  She, Fawn, and Sharma have been best friends since they were very young - so Kyle is really the new girl in the group.  I think that Audra is the ultimate teenage brat - she is a lot like Kyle - only caring about herself.  Now, look, I know that teenagers are at a very weird time in their life.  Psychology has learned over much time and study that teens are pretty arrogant - they just have this mindset that the world revolves around them.  (It's similar with 4 to 6 year olds.  They all go through this "I'm the shit, pay attention to me" phase.)  But, even the most arrogant teenager is usually caring enough to want to know what's going on with their friends.  In that respect, Audra and Kyle were actually kind of perfect for each other.

Sharma - she's kind of the "quiet" one in her group, and very good at hacking and technology.  She's very smart, and could go to any college she wanted.  

Fawn - is in love with food and comes across as sort of a hippie type. I think that she and Sharma are the two nicest girls in their little clique.  

Ailey - is still pissed that Kyle ditched her.  In fact, when Kyle's sex video gets dropped onto the schools Faculty Activities Board, Ailey is the one who copies it and shares it on the student activities board.  She really hates Kyle.

Mac - is probably the most well rounded character in the book.  He is also Kyle's not boyfriend (and eventually becomes her boyfriend kind of).  However, he also uses food to describe Kyle (like when he calls her his Szechuan Baguette.  It's never okay to refer to people as food.  Never. 


 The language in this book was a little....weird.  So, the novel takes place in the near future, and so if you think about how now kids talk in sort of text speak like LOL, and all that.  In this book, kids will say things like "BTCH" to call someone a bitch.  Or "FCK you" to say fuck.  If they are talking about clothing, they might say "That shirt equals awesome."  It's just a little different.  

This story was certainly intriguing.  There is some mystery, some love (between Mac and Kyle) and a lot of hate.  The technology was amazing - it was advanced enough that their is a program they have called WorldWide Facial Recognition, or WOOFER.  Woofer is attached to a program called Connectbook.  What WOOFER does is, if you take a picture with connectbook, WOOFER tags you, whoever you took the picture with, and all the people just walking around in the background just minding their own business.  So their names will be attached to your photo.  Basically, all your privacy is gone.  

I appreciated the fact that Kyle was going through something that was very hard for her, because even though I didn't care for her, I didn't want her to be cyberbullied.  Nobody deserves that.  

I think the twist at the end was good too - it threw me a bit because even though I should have seen it coming, I didn't. 

I would rate this book 4 stars.  Read it!

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