REVIEW: 'Taking Down Evelyn Tait' by Poppy Nwosu Is The Positive Book We All Need Right Now
Hello Fellow Readerholics,
This has been a tough few weeks for everyone and unfortunately there isn’t much we can do other than wash our hands and stay away from people (a skill I have been honing for the past 15 years). On the bright side this has given many of us the opportunity to read more books and have some positivity in our lives. I was recently lucky enough to receive an ARC for ‘Taking Down Evelyn Tait’ by Poppy Nwosu, courtesy of Wakefield Press. The book is released on April 1st and I encourage you to all get yourselves copies because it is a masterpiece and it happens to be a very uplifting book to read during self isolation.
The door creaks open and standing in the entrance is my absolute worst nightmare.
Perfect hair, perfect teeth, perfect brain.
Impulsive Lottie – heavy-metal fan, expert tomato-grower and frequent visitor to the principal’s office – is in even more trouble than usual.
Her best friend Grace has dropped an unlikely bombshell: she’s dating Lottie’s mortal enemy, good-girl Evelyn Tait.
Studious Jude, the boy next door, has the perfect war plan. Lottie will beat Evelyn at her own good-girl game, unveiling Miss Perfect’s sinister side in the process.
Taking life more seriously starts as fun, but soon offers its own rewards . . . so long as Lottie can manage gorgeous Sebastian’s sudden interest, Jude acting weird, and the discovery that she might actually be good at something.
If you couldn’t tell from my gushing above, I really loved this book. It was everything ‘Making Friends With Alice Dyson’ was… and wasn’t. I think that really worked in its favour. This book also happens to be super lighthearted which is great, especially right now.
I suppose I’ll start the way I always start, by telling you about the characters and how much I generally like them. Lottie is an absolute disaster-child and I love her for it! She’s messy, somewhat melodramatic and if you could put all of the parts of her personality together and somehow find if she’s likeable or not, she definitely shouldn’t be well liked. Yet here we are. I happened to really, really like her and all of her quirky mannerisms and her ‘unlikeable’ character made her so much more real and it was brilliant. I also really appreciated the other characters in the novel. Evelyn herself is also quite an interesting character because for a while I seriously hated her but her character arc was woven in a way that made it impossible to not like (or at least tolerate) her and anyone who knows me would know that it isn’t hard for me to hate a character but for me to eventually like them means talent.
I also really loved her relationship with the main love interest (idk if its a spoiler or not, so he’s staying nameless). Their relationship was just very cute and wholesome and I really did ship it. I loved how they were always there for each other and it just made my little heart happy.
I thought it was important to mention a very specific trope that often comes up in regards to characters such as Lottie and how this book addressed it. You may know it as the ‘I’m/You’re not like other girls’ trope, I know it as a raging hatred, same thing. I’ve found in many YA books, characters that are unique like Lottie often come with this weird superiority complex in which they think that because they’re a little quirky they’re better than every other female to exist. This trope enrages me like no other, if you couldn’t already tell. I felt the book dealt with this stupid stereotype/trope really, really well. In one part of the book, a guy tells Lottie that she ‘isn’t like other girls’ and instead of feeling weird and smug like I often see in books, she hesitates because a) she’s an individual but still ‘normal’ and b) other girls are cool, why wouldn’t she want to be like them? I really appreciated this response because its what I’ve been saying the whole time and it is just so nice to see nobody hating on girls with more ‘typical’ interests. Yay!
The struggles of both Evelyn and Lottie were so realistic and the insight into their individual home lives made their character arcs just so much more appealing to me. They both shared a lot of the same fears but for different reasons which I found to be really interesting. Speaking of their character arcs… they were just so satisfying! It was so good to see them begin to learn to accept each other and for Lottie to realise that maybe it’s ok to be a nice person was just ahhh. Lovely! Brilliant! Never done before (not really, but it was great to see).
I also wanted to give a shoutout to the chapter titles because they were just, everything to me. They were so fun and entertaining to read. This is a big compliment coming from me because I never usually pay attention to them 🙂
Overall, this book was fun, with a great plot and a surprising amount of substance. I’m giving it a 4.5/5.
*Just to note: This book releases on April 1 and I encourage you to all grab a copy. The book launch (like many others) was cancelled and it is an important time now more than ever to be supporting our #LoveOzYa authors!
Your Favourite Bookworm