Taking Down Evelyn Tait

Poppy Nwosu

Taking Down Evelyn Tait
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Taking Down Evelyn Tait

Poppy Nwosu

The door creaks open and standing in the entrance is my absolute worst nightmare.

Perfect hair, perfect teeth, perfect brain.

Perfect sneer.

Evelyn Tait.


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.

Taking Down Evelyn Tait is a story about family, friends and embracing who you are. Even if that person is kind of weird.

‘Lottie has the worst of intentions, jumps to conclusions, and behaves badly - in short, she’s exactly the sort of character I absolutely adore! I reckon Lottie will go down as one of the great characters of OzYA lit - and deservedly so.’ - Gabrielle Williams

‘A delicate, layered story about revenge, relationships, and learning to be kind. I adored this one.’ - Jodi McAlister

‘Lottie is mischief personified and she is a glorious blaze of magnetic energy on every page.’ - C. G. Drews

Review

This novel is an engaging comedy of manners set around a blended family and a high-school friendship group. Lottie is a black-clothed heavy metal fan and school troublemaker whose best friend falls in love with her worst enemy, the school good girl, Evelyn Tait. Unfortunately, Lottie also has to share a room with her nemesis, because they have been stepsisters for the past year.

With the help of her other best friend, who happens to be the boy next door, Lottie decides on an evil plan to outwit her enemy – to be even more virtuous than Evelyn. But can it be done by this self-confessed rebel? And why is the cutest boy in school, who she’s had a crush on forever, suddenly paying attention to her? Is it her bad-girl persona or her sudden good-girl vibe that is drawing him in?

Lottie is a wonderfully memorable character with a very distinctive voice and a whole lot of attitude. Her witty repartee in her regular meetings with the school principal are particularly delightful. This story has understated diversity in family groupings, ethnicity and sexuality that is just part of their everyday lives, as it should be. Poppy Nwosu captures the uncertainties and jealousies of high school perfectly, with her story mining similar territory to her Readings YA Prize shortlisted debut, Making Friends with Alice Dyson, to excellent effect. This is an utterly delightful read that you will devour like a cheeky bar of chocolate. Suitable for readers aged 12+.


Angela Crocombe is the manager of Readings Kids.

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