A teen infiltrates a drug ring to settle a vendetta in this fast-paced novel from the author of Street Pharm and Snitch.
Darren took the fall for Diamond Tony, the notorious head of the city’s drug cartel. Two years later, Darren’s finally out of juvie—and determined to get even.
Working as an informant for the police, Darren infiltrates Diamond Tony’s operation. But falling for sweet, innocent Jessica was not part of that plan. She’s a distraction—and a liability. She’s also everything Darren dreamed about while he was locked up, and with her, he has the promise of a fresh start.
When a deadly turf war breaks out between Diamond Tony and the Bloods, Darren gets caught in the crossfire. The cops think he’s playing both sides, and any mistake could be his last. Darren has to stay on his game if he’s going to protect Jessica—and if he’s going to stay alive.
Hello Allison, it’s great to have you back on YA Fresh! Please tell us about your latest novel, TAKEDOWN.
Allison: Great to be here, Kelly! TAKEDOWN is about a teen who comes out of juvie and wants to settle a score with a drug kingpin. School Library Journal called it the “Y.A. version of The Wire.”
How did the idea for this novel come about?
Allison: I love stories about an underdog who takes on a seemingly impossible mission. In this case, it’s Darren trying to bring down the kingpin who terrorizes his neighbourhood. And to achieve his mission, Darren has to do something taboo—he has to be an informant for the police.
Could you share some interesting characteristics of your main character(s)?
Allison: My main character, Darren, is smart, determined, and tough as nails. But he also loves his little brother and his girlfriend so much, and would do ANYTHING to protect them. As for Diamond Tony, he brings evil badass to another level. He HAS to be taken down, and Darren’s just the one to do it.
What is one of your favorite quotes from TAKEDOWN?
Allison: My favorite quotes are Darren’s rap lyrics, which appear throughout the book. Here’s a short one called The Mission: Before I left juvie/I told the cops I had a plan/To bring down Diamond Tony/Number-one wanted man/They gave me some green, an ID number and a phone/It was better than nothing/I would’ve done it on my own.
What's up next, Allison? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.
Allison: I’m writing a book called ON THE EDGE about a teen who witnesses a murder, and falls in love with the leader of a mysterious street gang. Stay tuned! And don’t forget to look me up on Facebook for the latest updates.
Allison van Diepen is the author of Street Pharm, Snitch, Raven, The Oracle of Dating series, The Vampire Stalker and Takedown. Her novels have been named ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers and New York City Public Library Books for the Teen Age. She holds degrees in History and Education, and teaches at an alternative school in Ottawa, Canada. Visit her website, www.allisonvandiepen.com.