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Takedown

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“You’re only as good as your partner.” Mikayla is a wrestler; when you grow up in a house full of brothers who are die-hard mat heads, it's in your DNA. She even has a wrestling name: Mickey. Some people don’t want a girl on the team. But that won’t stop her. She's determined to work hard, and win. Lev is determined too--he's going to make it to the state championship. He's “You’re only as good as your partner.” Mikayla is a wrestler; when you grow up in a house full of brothers who are die-hard mat heads, it's in your DNA. She even has a wrestling name: Mickey. Some people don’t want a girl on the team. But that won’t stop her. She's determined to work hard, and win. Lev is determined too--he's going to make it to the state championship. He's used to training with his two buddies as the Fearsome Threesome. But at the beginning of sixth grade, he's paired with a new partner—a girl. This better not get in the way of his goal. Mickey and Lev work hard together, and find a way to become friends. But at States, there can only be one winner. This warmhearted, engaging novel by the author of the highly praised The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary explores competition among athletes, how it influences family and friendships, and what happens when one girl wants to break barriers in a sport dominated by boys.


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“You’re only as good as your partner.” Mikayla is a wrestler; when you grow up in a house full of brothers who are die-hard mat heads, it's in your DNA. She even has a wrestling name: Mickey. Some people don’t want a girl on the team. But that won’t stop her. She's determined to work hard, and win. Lev is determined too--he's going to make it to the state championship. He's “You’re only as good as your partner.” Mikayla is a wrestler; when you grow up in a house full of brothers who are die-hard mat heads, it's in your DNA. She even has a wrestling name: Mickey. Some people don’t want a girl on the team. But that won’t stop her. She's determined to work hard, and win. Lev is determined too--he's going to make it to the state championship. He's used to training with his two buddies as the Fearsome Threesome. But at the beginning of sixth grade, he's paired with a new partner—a girl. This better not get in the way of his goal. Mickey and Lev work hard together, and find a way to become friends. But at States, there can only be one winner. This warmhearted, engaging novel by the author of the highly praised The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary explores competition among athletes, how it influences family and friendships, and what happens when one girl wants to break barriers in a sport dominated by boys.

30 review for Takedown

  1. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    5/5 Takedown is a novel aimed at middle-grade readers, aged 9-12. I’m incredibly outside that age range, yet I found this book quite a satisfying read. The two protagonists, Mykayla and Lev, are sixth-grade wrestlers who have just moved up from their town rec teams to a traveling team. Their story is told in alternating first-person narratives. Mykala (Mickey) Delgado is the third child and only daughter of a wrestling family. Her older brothers are both wrestlers on their high school teams. Mick 5/5 Takedown is a novel aimed at middle-grade readers, aged 9-12. I’m incredibly outside that age range, yet I found this book quite a satisfying read. The two protagonists, Mykayla and Lev, are sixth-grade wrestlers who have just moved up from their town rec teams to a traveling team. Their story is told in alternating first-person narratives. Mykala (Mickey) Delgado is the third child and only daughter of a wrestling family. Her older brothers are both wrestlers on their high school teams. Mickey has always tagged along after her brothers and had followed them into the sport of wrestling at the rec team level. As both her brothers had played for the Eagles traveling team when they were in middle school, Mickey went there to enroll. But as it turned out, the coach of the Eagles did not allow girls onto his team. So Mickey headed over to enroll with the Gladiators, where she was welcomed to the team by the coach. That’s where she meets Lev Sofer, who is the younger of two children; his older sister is a fierce field hockey player. As wrestlers compete in weight categories, Mykala and Lev were assigned to each other as practice partners. And that is where our story begins. Although a reader will learn quite a bit about middle school wrestling, as we follow both our protagonists throughout the entire season, that’s hardly all this book is about. The families and friends of both Lev and Mickey figure prominently. In addition to seeing how Mickey and Lev deal family and social-emotional situations, we see them both at school, navigating all the other issues middle-class American eleven year-old sixth graders come across as they mature. And we see what happens when a young girl determined to wrestle on a middle-school travel team comes up against some folks who think girls can’t (shouldn’t) wrestle. There are no wrong notes anywhere in the book. At the same time the book is very entertaining; I strongly suspect young readers will love both of the characters as we follow along as they also take in some key life lessons about finding themselves and their place in the world. I’ll be trying the book out this summer on my rising fourth-grade granddaughter. And I wouldn’t be surprised if her high school age brother and male cousin also end up liking it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Scott Fillner

    Wow!!! Shouldn’t be surprised at all after reading her last story, @LauraShovan this story is...wonderful! The characters are memorable and the wrestling vernacular is just spot on. There is a great flow to this story as well. Can’t wait for others to read! #Bookjourney

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tricia Clasen

    Note: I was fortunate to have the opportunity to read this as an ARC. Laura Shovan has done an excellent job of alternating points of view. While this middle-grade novel focuses on a girl who is wrestling boys, the story also delves into important middle-grade issues of family dynamics and fitting in. Shovan has been strategic in crafting characters who mesh gender expectations without feeling like caricatures. Both Mikayla and Lev are likeable and complicated enough not to seem shallow while als Note: I was fortunate to have the opportunity to read this as an ARC. Laura Shovan has done an excellent job of alternating points of view. While this middle-grade novel focuses on a girl who is wrestling boys, the story also delves into important middle-grade issues of family dynamics and fitting in. Shovan has been strategic in crafting characters who mesh gender expectations without feeling like caricatures. Both Mikayla and Lev are likeable and complicated enough not to seem shallow while also having appropraite "kid" voices. At the end of the day, you root for both of them to make the right choices and to acheive their goals. This novels crosses so many genres, I can't imagine it would be difficult for teachers and librarians to find readers interested in a book with human interest, action and boundary-pushing!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jenn Bishop

    To be fair, she had me at "female wrestler." I'm on the quest to read more books about sporty girls, and "The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary," Laura Shovan's debut novel in verse was one of my favorites of 2016. So, when I heard about TAKEDOWN, coming out in spring 2018, I knew I had to get my hands on an ARC. It's told in chapters that alternate between Mickey (real name Mikayla), a girl wrestler, and Lev, the boy who starts off as her wrestling partner and becomes a true friend. Now, a To be fair, she had me at "female wrestler." I'm on the quest to read more books about sporty girls, and "The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary," Laura Shovan's debut novel in verse was one of my favorites of 2016. So, when I heard about TAKEDOWN, coming out in spring 2018, I knew I had to get my hands on an ARC. It's told in chapters that alternate between Mickey (real name Mikayla), a girl wrestler, and Lev, the boy who starts off as her wrestling partner and becomes a true friend. Now, admittedly, I know next to nothing about wrestling when I started the book, but now I feel like I actually do! The wrestling scenes are vividly imagined, with enough explanation to clue in a wrestling noob like me. As an author of a sporty book, I know that the sports story must be balanced with other elements for readers who might not be a huge sports fan, and Shovan does this so well. The contrasting depictions of Lev's and Mickey's families add depth and heart the story. Kids who grow up in sporty households will recognize Mickey's experience with her older brothers and father, all wrestlers. And kids who see how much their family's schedule becomes dominated by endless after school activities and sports practices and car rides and competitions will see this over-scheduled reality reflected in Lev's yearning for the quieter family times, like their traditional Shabbat dinner. This is a fantastic story that will serve so many purposes in classroom collections. Keep an eye out for it in 2018!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Karina

    I had the privilege of reading an advance manuscript for this book, and I loved it! A much-needed wrestling story that features sixth graders Lev and Mikayla who are vying for the state championship title. Along the way they battle bullies, sexism, and family troubles. Beautifully written with an intriguing plot, I think this book is going to be much loved by readers!

  6. 3 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    Public Library Copy Mikayle has wrestled in a rec league for many years, always with her friend Kenna. They hold their own, and don't let anyone give them grief because they are female in a sport where most of the participants are male. When they start middle school, Mikayla is really excited to be on the travel team her brothers were on, the Eagles. When she and Kenna go to the first meeting, however , Coach Spence says that girls are not allowed, and he's on the local board, so there's no way t Public Library Copy Mikayle has wrestled in a rec league for many years, always with her friend Kenna. They hold their own, and don't let anyone give them grief because they are female in a sport where most of the participants are male. When they start middle school, Mikayla is really excited to be on the travel team her brothers were on, the Eagles. When she and Kenna go to the first meeting, however , Coach Spence says that girls are not allowed, and he's on the local board, so there's no way they can even appeal. This is enough to encourage Kenna to pursue other interests, much to Mikayla's dismay. She decides to see if another travel team, the Gladiators, will take her. Luckily, Coach Billy is much more open minded, and tells his athletes that they are not to go easy on "Mickey" (as she likes to be called when she's wrestling) on treat her as anything but a teammate. Mickey is partnered with Lev, who isn't thrilled at the guff his friends give him about working with a girl. Mickey isn't thrilled, either, because she's always worked with Kenna. The two make their peace early on, especially since Mickey's brother Evan, a talented high school wrestler, is dating Lev's sister Dalia, and has always been super nice to Lev. Wrestling is a hard sport, and Mickey tries her best even when other teams refuse to compete against her, and she finds that it's harder to win at traveling wrestling than it was in the rec league. Lev struggles with the time commitment of wrestling, and the fact that he doesn't have time to do anything else. When Evan makes an unsportsmanlike move at a meet, both Mickey and Lev struggle with how to address his actions, and it effects them and their families in very different ways. Lev and Mickey are both dedicated wrestlers with years of practice behind them who are now moving to the next level. Issues particular to wrestling, such as cutting weight and being sportsmanlike, are addressed brilliantly. In contrast to Martino's 2005 Pinned, the idea of cutting weight is highly discouraged, and we see only one wrestler try it, briefly, with unsatisfactory results. Like Martino's 2011 Perfected by Girls, we also see that there are not yet consistent rules concerning girls involved in the sport, and that the culture is somewhat slow in accepting them. Lev and Mickey are both struggling with this, but they both do a good job at learning to work with each other, and Lev is a great teammate when he needs to stand up for his partner. They even manage to have some fun with it, including a specially decorated "girl" trophy amongst the official ones during a meet. I do think that girls and boys have started working better together in the last 10-15 years, and we need to see this reflected in middle grade literature. The family issues that both Lev and Mickey face are realistic and important to the story as well. Mickey's parents are divorced and juggling three children's sports schedules, and Evan has chosen to live with their father. Lev's family is very busy, and he feels that they don't get enough time together as a family. There are also issues with friends that come into play in the story and are well done. There are so few middle grade novels about wrestling-- a smattering of Jake Maddox and Matt Christopher titles, Klass' Wrestling with Honor (1990), Spinelli's There's a Girl in My Hammerlock (1991), Wallace's Wrestling Sturbridge (1996), Flake's Pinned (2012, and this does have a girl wrestler!) and the new Petruck's Boy Bites Bug (2018). I believe the reason there are so few is that the culture of wrestling is one that must be experienced in order to convey convincingly. Shovan's son wrestled, and her experiences with teams clearly show. My own disappointment was that since the Gladiators and Eagles are travel teams and not school teams, there were no girls serving as statisticians. My elder daughter was a wrestling stat and team manager for six years; she was such a part of the team that the boys got her hew own pair of wresting shoes when she graduated. Nonetheless, I am absolutely thrilled to have Takedown to include in my middle school collection.

  7. 3 out of 5

    Kathie

    Thank you to #bookportage for a free ARC of TAKEDOWN. All opinions are my own. . I truly, madly, deeply LOVED this book. I really enjoy reading books where a female character is working had to prove herself in a male-dominated sport. Mikayla is a wrestler, and comes from a wrestling family. When she decides to join a travel team, and her best friend decides to quit wrestling with her, Mikayla faces resistance from coaches and players. At the same time, Lev is assigned to be her new partner, and he Thank you to #bookportage for a free ARC of TAKEDOWN. All opinions are my own. . I truly, madly, deeply LOVED this book. I really enjoy reading books where a female character is working had to prove herself in a male-dominated sport. Mikayla is a wrestler, and comes from a wrestling family. When she decides to join a travel team, and her best friend decides to quit wrestling with her, Mikayla faces resistance from coaches and players. At the same time, Lev is assigned to be her new partner, and he is struggling with his own commitment to the sport. Told in alternating voices, the story feels like a full course meal from seeing so many details, characters and perspectives. This is another one of my favorite #MgLit reads from this year, and an excellent addition to classrooms and libraries.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    Great story about a girl and boy both in the world of wrestling. Themes of friendship, family, and being your very best!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Stacy Mozer

    I could not put down this new novel by Laura Shovan. A full review and interview will be coming to Sporty Girl Books before the book releases in June 2018. For now, I will just tell you that this book should be on your TBR list.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Wendy MacKnight

    I don’t know anything about wrestling, but I know good stories when I read them, and this one deserves to win a state championship. Told from a dual perspective by Mickey and Lev, tossed together when Mickey has to change wrestling teams because she’s a girl, this wonderful story of friendship, sport, and finding your true self is an absolute winner! Laura Shovan for the takedown!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lorie Barber

    What an original, inspiring story of two wrestlers, Mikayla & Lev. Told in alternating points of view, Takedown is less a sports story and more about friendship and finding who you are. I loved Mikayla’s spunk as much as I was drawn to Lev’s thoughtfulness, and the supporting characters were beautifully developed. It’s not often we get an original middle grade sports story, but this is one, and I’m proud to share it with my students.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Middle-Grade books are not always my favorites. I realize their simple plots are necessary for younger readers, but while I enjoy many, I prefer older YA novels. This time, however, I knew that Laura Shovan's new book, just out, would be good. Her first novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, is marvelous and so creative. So now, Takedown, about wrestling? I have a nephew who wrestled and while I liked watching and rooting for him, it isn't a favorite sport. From the first two chapt Middle-Grade books are not always my favorites. I realize their simple plots are necessary for younger readers, but while I enjoy many, I prefer older YA novels. This time, however, I knew that Laura Shovan's new book, just out, would be good. Her first novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, is marvelous and so creative. So now, Takedown, about wrestling? I have a nephew who wrestled and while I liked watching and rooting for him, it isn't a favorite sport. From the first two chapters, I'm captured by the lives of Mikayla (Mickey) and Lev, two opposites, two who will be thrown together by their love of wrestling. Both are hanging out in their lives at the beginning of middle school; both are pre-teens. And the friendships each thought were set in cement begin to crumble. This pre-puberty time means change, and it's no different for these two. For most of the book, wrestling on a more competitive "travel" team fills each of their lives, along with family and school and friendships. Inside, Mikayla wishes her father would pay more attention to her own wrestling as he does for her two older brothers' wrestling. Inside, Lev wishes his older sister would pay more attention to him as she used to do. These are only two of the troubles these two young middle-schoolers face. Mickey stays strong in her quest to be a great wrestler, but it's a fight often with unhappy consequences because she's a girl. Lev's nerves continue to be an inner struggle so he finds that writing and doodling in a notebook helps. His poetry is important, though he hesitates to share. Laura beautifully lets Lev and Mickey share their thoughts in alternating chapters, each time making me want to find out more. What will Mickey do when she discovers her best friend Kenna wants to quit wrestling and move on to other fun in school, and with other friends? "Kenna studies my face. Now she has this secret life with a vocabulary I know nothing about. Until middle school started, we were always together. How different could we be after just a few weeks? A lot. I tell myself." What will Lev do when he discovers Mickey, a girl, is going to be his practice partner? "I follow Mickey to the gym. "My sister says you're thinking about quitting."/"What do you care?"/"You're good," I tell her. "For a first-year Gladiator, you're really good." Laura manages to help us find sympathy for both and to root for them as they navigate their lives that aren't so simple anymore. The basic plot is there, making us readers ask what will happen to both these young people who are growing up and finding that what used to be isn't necessarily going to stay. These people in the lives of Lev and Mikayla are regular people who struggle in their own lives. From old friends to beloved family members, we come to care for them, too, and that makes a marvelous story of a few months in the lives of two middle schoolers. I'm very glad that Laura wrote about wrestling, and Lev and Mikayla, too!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Casey Lyall

    The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary was one of my favourite reads of 2016. This year, Laura Shovan has brought her incredible characterization skills to a prose novel with Takedown. I'm not a sporty person, but I do enjoy a good sports story and this one is great! Mickey and Lev are newly matched up partners on their wrestling team. Both are determined to make it to the state championships and after a bumpy start, they begin to see each other as allies rather than obstacles. I loved the d The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary was one of my favourite reads of 2016. This year, Laura Shovan has brought her incredible characterization skills to a prose novel with Takedown. I'm not a sporty person, but I do enjoy a good sports story and this one is great! Mickey and Lev are newly matched up partners on their wrestling team. Both are determined to make it to the state championships and after a bumpy start, they begin to see each other as allies rather than obstacles. I loved the dual POV in this book. Mickey and Lev's voices were woven seamlessly throughout the narrative, giving the reader an in-depth look into their lives, dreams, and inner turmoil. Their friendship has a natural build that I really enjoyed. I also loved the heart of this novel - dreams. The importance of chasing after them and being persistent. Knowing that the first person who has to believe in you is YOU. But also the very important flip side of how important and difficult it can be to re-evaluate your dreams and recognize when they've shifted. The process of accepting that what you thought you always wanted for yourself has changed and that it's ALLOWED to change. An overall excellent read that I greatly enjoyed.

  14. 3 out of 5

    Christina Hanson

    “She may be a noob and a girl, but Mickey is the best partner for me. Every time she walks into practice, she has to prove herself. She understands better than anyone what it means to work hard and push yourself.” • In Laura Shovan’s latest novel, Takedown, Lev has been a member of the Gladiators wrestling team for the past few years, and he has always dreamed of going to the state wrestling championship. Mikayla, or Mickey, has wrestling in her blood. Her two older brothers and her dad are obsess “She may be a noob and a girl, but Mickey is the best partner for me. Every time she walks into practice, she has to prove herself. She understands better than anyone what it means to work hard and push yourself.” • In Laura Shovan’s latest novel, Takedown, Lev has been a member of the Gladiators wrestling team for the past few years, and he has always dreamed of going to the state wrestling championship. Mikayla, or Mickey, has wrestling in her blood. Her two older brothers and her dad are obsessed with the sport, and she’s decided to follow in their footsteps and join the Eagles travel wrestling team. But when the coach isn’t keen on having a girl on the team, Mickey joins their rivals: the Gladiators. And who does Mickey get paired to train with? None other than Lev. Can they work together and help each other succeed on the mat? Or will having girl on the team be a negative distraction for Lev and his teammates? Takedown was a great book about competition, family, friendship, and perseverance. I can’t wait for you to meet Lev and Mickey when it’s released in June 2018! 💜📖🤼‍♀️🏆❤️

  15. 3 out of 5

    Janet

    I was fortunate enough to snag an ARC, but my 11-year-old son stole it before I could read it. Here is his review: "I wasn't sure at first that I liked it but as I read more and more I grew captivated especially during the tournaments as Mickey finally gets up to states I can easily support her. I loved the sad but happy ending and (view spoiler)[ you can tell that Lev is very disturbed by injuries that cause blood in wrestling which really shows why he quit or might quit. (hide spoiler)] Althou I was fortunate enough to snag an ARC, but my 11-year-old son stole it before I could read it. Here is his review: "I wasn't sure at first that I liked it but as I read more and more I grew captivated especially during the tournaments as Mickey finally gets up to states I can easily support her. I loved the sad but happy ending and (view spoiler)[ you can tell that Lev is very disturbed by injuries that cause blood in wrestling which really shows why he quit or might quit. (hide spoiler)] Although you might not feel this, I think it really brings out that girls are still being underestimated and that they're just as good as boys or even better. After I read it I realized that it is fantastic book and one of the best realistic fiction books I have ever read." I will add my own review very soon, now that he gave it back to me. :D

  16. 3 out of 5

    J.G. Formato

    I loved this book! Mikayla and Lev were so real and so relatable, I became wrapped up in their stories right away and had a hard time putting this book down. They each had their own unforgettable journey on their way to finding out who they really were, each with their own set of challenges. Oh! And I just have to say, I am not the biggest sports fan in the world, but the wrestling matches and practice sessions were written so vividly that they were easy and fun to follow. Beyond that, family and I loved this book! Mikayla and Lev were so real and so relatable, I became wrapped up in their stories right away and had a hard time putting this book down. They each had their own unforgettable journey on their way to finding out who they really were, each with their own set of challenges. Oh! And I just have to say, I am not the biggest sports fan in the world, but the wrestling matches and practice sessions were written so vividly that they were easy and fun to follow. Beyond that, family and friendship issues were explored beautifully. Both Mikayla and Lev had awesome, strong friendships outside of wrestling, and even if they didn't always run smoothly, they worked hard to preserve them. I also loved the way this book explored not only child/parent relationships, but the dynamics between younger siblings and teen siblings. From beginning to end, this was just a really cool book, and I definitely plan on sharing it with my students!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    In her supremely readable sophomore effort, Laura Shovan delivers a story of two wrestlers whose paths intersect, raising questions about what wrestling means to each of them. Lev and Mikayla have each been wrestling for years, but when the new season arrives the two find themselves on the same team, and paired as partners. Mikayla's determined to produce a successful season, even though many of her teammates struggle with the idea of having a girl on the team. Lev has his own challenges, with a In her supremely readable sophomore effort, Laura Shovan delivers a story of two wrestlers whose paths intersect, raising questions about what wrestling means to each of them. Lev and Mikayla have each been wrestling for years, but when the new season arrives the two find themselves on the same team, and paired as partners. Mikayla's determined to produce a successful season, even though many of her teammates struggle with the idea of having a girl on the team. Lev has his own challenges, with a burgeoning love for poetry leading him to question his commitment to his team and his partner. Over the course of the season, each kid experiences changes in their families and themselves that indicate things won't stay as they've always been, and that change is in a way, as unavoidable as growing up. Shovan portrays each character with warm-hearted accuracy which will inspire young readers to examine their own feelings about belonging, friendship, and family. This is a great read for fans of middle grade and much more than a sports book. Perfect for readers of THE CROSSOVER, GHOST, and LOST IN THE SUN. “You’re only as good as your partner.” I received an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Amber Webb

    I reviewed this book thanks to an ARC through #bookexcursion given to us by the author. Times are changing and more and more girls are competing in wrestling. Mickey wants it to be commonplace that girls are in the sport, but not too many others feel that way. She struggles with finding her place in her family, figuring out how she fits in this male dominated sport, discovering how to mesh old and new friendships and mix that with wrestling season, and just the general change that middle school p I reviewed this book thanks to an ARC through #bookexcursion given to us by the author. Times are changing and more and more girls are competing in wrestling. Mickey wants it to be commonplace that girls are in the sport, but not too many others feel that way. She struggles with finding her place in her family, figuring out how she fits in this male dominated sport, discovering how to mesh old and new friendships and mix that with wrestling season, and just the general change that middle school provides. It's a lot for one kid to be dealing with, but she soon figures out who she is, what she wants and who is in her corner. With the help of her family and friends, she battles her way through the wrestling ranks and discovers how strong she really is.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Petruck

    Full of Grrl Power!, Laura Shovan also deftly explores how girl power can separate as well as support. Why is Mikayla a girl wrestler? Why isn't see simply a wrestler? She's a good one, and not only good "for a girl." This is one of many reasons I recommend TAKEDOWN. Shovan is wonderful at exploring a range of meaningful characters and social-political issues (equally evidenced in her novel-in-verse The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary), doing so in an organic way that never makes the read Full of Grrl Power!, Laura Shovan also deftly explores how girl power can separate as well as support. Why is Mikayla a girl wrestler? Why isn't see simply a wrestler? She's a good one, and not only good "for a girl." This is one of many reasons I recommend TAKEDOWN. Shovan is wonderful at exploring a range of meaningful characters and social-political issues (equally evidenced in her novel-in-verse The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary), doing so in an organic way that never makes the reader feel overwhelmed or as if we're being "taught a lesson." Add in fun and funny middle grade interactions and hijinks, and TAKEDOWN earns a W for Win!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mike Grosso

    Laura Shovan has a gift for writing characters you'd want as friends. She had a classroom full of them in THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY, and in TAKEDOWN, we get to know two wonderful characters who make up a story of perseverance, family, and sexism that is more applicable than ever. If you loved THE LAST FIFTH GRADE and want to see what Shovan can do with the traditional narrative format, you will not be disappointed by TAKEDOWN.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    I was so excited when I heard that Laura Shovan was writing a middle grade novel and my expectations were totally met. Ms. Shovan gives such lively and distinct voices to her main characters (which should be no surprise to anyone who watched her breathe life into an entire class for Last 5th Grade at Emerson Elementary!). With a sports story that everyone will love and its themes of persistence, unlikely friendships, and finding yourself/your values, Takedown is already on my preorder list and w I was so excited when I heard that Laura Shovan was writing a middle grade novel and my expectations were totally met. Ms. Shovan gives such lively and distinct voices to her main characters (which should be no surprise to anyone who watched her breathe life into an entire class for Last 5th Grade at Emerson Elementary!). With a sports story that everyone will love and its themes of persistence, unlikely friendships, and finding yourself/your values, Takedown is already on my preorder list and will 100% be a read aloud next year for my 4th grade class. Read with #booktrek

  22. 5 out of 5

    J.H. Diehl

    You'll root for Mikayla Delgado and Lev Sofer as they wrestle - literally and figuratively - with being eleven, middle-school friendships, what family means to each of them, and their ambitions in the sport they both love. TAKEDOWN is a beautifully crafted novel, a sensitive portrait of two young athletes and the unique dynamics of their respective families, and an exploration of what it means to be a good sport and what it takes to transcend stereotypes. It's also an action-packed account of a You'll root for Mikayla Delgado and Lev Sofer as they wrestle - literally and figuratively - with being eleven, middle-school friendships, what family means to each of them, and their ambitions in the sport they both love. TAKEDOWN is a beautifully crafted novel, a sensitive portrait of two young athletes and the unique dynamics of their respective families, and an exploration of what it means to be a good sport and what it takes to transcend stereotypes. It's also an action-packed account of a wrestling season that left me guessing until the end - not to mention hungry for one of the Delgado family's after-match donuts. And there's some wonderful poetry, too. I highly recommend this book.

  23. 3 out of 5

    Erin Varley

    I simply loved this book. Mikayla and Lev are unforgettable characters who you would want as your own friends. Laura does a wonderful job of making the wrestling world accessible to all, especially those who know nothing of it, like me. This will most certainly be a well-loved title in my classroom library!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mark Vukovic

    Written by my 7th grade daughter Mabel: Takedown is a wonderful book that thoroughly explains confusing friendships, gender stereotypes, and performance standards. This book kept me on my toes and is hands down one of the best books I've read this summer. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it for anyone who is looking for an amazing read. Mabel

  25. 3 out of 5

    Aliza Werner

    I love this story from Laura Shovan about Mikayla, a girl participating in wrestling, a sport dominated by boys. Told from two perspectives, Mikayla and Lev, her wrestling partner, it deals with family and friendship themes and shattering gender expectations and stereotypes.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Laura Shovan

    I can't wait for readers to meet Lev and Mikayla!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kim Bahr

    The power of friendship!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    This book really surprised me. I didn’t think I would enjoy it much because I’m truly not a sporty person or a big sports fan. However, it’s a great story about family, friendship and finding your true self. The characters read very true to middle grade age and I think many readers will enjoy the story regardless if they play sports. And I know many of my fifth graders spend huge amounts of time involved in travel teams so the story is relevant to them. Definitely adding it to my class library.

  29. 3 out of 5

    Mae Respicio

    LOVED this book! It was a fun and realistic portrayal of middle grade friendships and family dynamics, and I especially appreciated the portrayal strong, smart Mikayla. This is a strong girl book for all readers!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Laura Mossa

    I received an ARC of Takedown to share with my #bookexcursion group in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Told in alternating points of view, Takedown is the story of two six grade wrestlers, Mikayla and Lev. In Mikayla’s family, wrestling is their thing. Ever since her parents’ divorce, wrestling is also the way Mikayla ensures one on one time with her father. At the start of the novel, Mikayla (known as Mickey on the mat) is ready to move up from a rec league and follow in I received an ARC of Takedown to share with my #bookexcursion group in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Told in alternating points of view, Takedown is the story of two six grade wrestlers, Mikayla and Lev. In Mikayla’s family, wrestling is their thing. Ever since her parents’ divorce, wrestling is also the way Mikayla ensures one on one time with her father. At the start of the novel, Mikayla (known as Mickey on the mat) is ready to move up from a rec league and follow in her brothers’ footsteps by joining the Eagles travel team. Coach Spence though is not willing to accept girl wrestlers. As a result, Mikayla makes the bold decision to join the Gladiators, the Eagles rival team. Lev also comes from an athletic family and has been a member of the Gladiators for a couple of years. His goal is to make it to States after losing to Coach Spence’s son, Nick last year. So when Coach Billy pairs him with Mickey for training, Lev is at first reluctant about having a girl partner. Slowly, Lev warms up to the idea and realizes that Mickey understands better than anyone what it means to work hard and push yourself. Sports has never been my thing but I devoured Takedown. Laura Shovan wrote an engaging and captivating story that will appeal to all readers. I absolutely loved the format of the novel hearing from both Mikayla’s and Lev’s perspective, which revealed their determination, competitiveness, and insecurities. Mikayla believes in herself but has to constantly prove to her family, peers, and coaches she is strong enough to wrestle. Through being Mickey’s partner, Lev recognizes not only her strength as a wrestler but also as a person. As the story unfolds, Lev learns that while wrestling is a part of his life, it does not have to be his whole life. Family and friendships are equally if not more important. Pre-order now so your copy will be delivered promptly on June 19, 2018. Can’t wait to get this book in readers’ hands!

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