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The Taker

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  839 Ratings  ·  126 Reviews
Carly Biels tanks on the SAT's, and when she gets a mysterious note from The Taker, she can't resist the stranger's offer to take the test for her. Once she's hired someone to take the test for her, what if she gets caught?
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 8th 2006 by Hyperion Books for Children
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Dec 29, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Lindsay by: Ali
So I am going to be in the minority here because the average rating for this book is 3.8 or something, but I am also probably one of the oldest people to read this book so not a huge surprise there. In this book, Carly Biels seems to have it all - popularity, the most desirable boyfriend, Princeton pedigree - but when she bombs the SAT, her world comes crashing down. Even to a girl with good moral fiber, a mysterious text from "the Taker" promising an SAT score good enough for any university can ...more
J. M. Steele’s The Taker is about high school senior Carly who got a 1710 on her SATs. While she is grieving over such a score, she receives an anonymous message from the Taker, someone who promises to take the SATs for her if she did not speak about him and follows all the conditions which he sets. Over the course of the book, Carly was forced to be tutored by Ronald, someone from a lower clique as she was, and who would help her improve her scores dramatically. Stuck with Ronald, Carly not onl ...more
Aug 28, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of the YA SAT genre
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 11, 2011 rated it liked it
SATs. I know absolutely nothing about them. In Canada to apply for university you just submit your senior grades each term. Apparently in the US there's fancy essay writing and tests? Eek! As soon as I heard The Taker was about SATs I jumped at the chance to delve into the magical world of American standardized testing. The scenario? Very cute and probable. The execution? Less than likable, but the ending chapters left me with a warm fuzzyish feeling so 3 stars!

If I could've made some small adju
Jennifer Wardrip
May 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Reviewed by Safia Abdul for

Carly Biel's story is one that struggles between right and wrong. Carly is a good student and a likable character in this novel, but she has one flaw--test-taking. After bombing the SATs the first time around, Carly has one more chance to do better. Only one more chance to fulfill her (and her father's) dream of attending Princeton, where her boyfriend will be. Study really, really hard...right? But this route is becoming increasingly frustrating for C
Reyhan Can
Dec 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Taker by J.M.Steele is a good book to read. The challenges in this book is Carly being seen with Ronald, a nerd. Also the other challege is that Carly doesn't know who the Taker is. The thing that makes this book special is that you don't know what is going come next. Also you don't know who the taker will be and you just get in to it more.The things I like about this book is how Ronald trys to get close with Carly but Carly doesn't like Ronald like that. The main character of this book is C ...more
Melissa Pilakowski
Really? The narrator in this book wants to study creative writing at Princeton next year, but sounds like a vapid fifteen-year-old. While a few strong words are sprinkled through the opening chapters, the overall writing style needs a solid editing.

As for the storyline, I don't buy it. She texts her SAT scores to her best friend, then gets a mysterious text back from "The Taker," and she just passes it off as a prank? Anyone with the brains she insists she has would be a little more unnerved abo
Mar 06, 2014 added it
The Taker
J.M. Steele
All she had to do was take the SAT’s and pass, but that didn’t happen. Carly Biels is a senior in highschool and has to take the dreadful SAT’s, but she is confident that she can pass them with no help at all. But when it comes to the real test, she fails. What will happen when Carly gets a secret text stating, “I can help you. The Taker”? Will Carly accept the help she is offered and face the consequences of the mysterious “The Taker”? This is the biggest decision in her lif
Dec 29, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: juniors and seniors in high school
Shelves: young-adult
Eh. This book was an easy light read, but the adult me just couldn't stand the brutality of the high school social structure in this book. Carly is a senior who takes advantage of geeky kid Ronald (who she's ignored the entire 10 years he's lived across the street from her) to help her prepare for the SAT's after she bombs them the first time around. Clearly, Ronald is the cool one in this book, and Carly's lacrosse playing hero of a boyfriend Brad is the kind of guy who would have made me feel ...more
Jenny Clark
Sep 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
Umm so yea... I'm not sure where to start... I honostly had to roll my eyes at a lot of this. When it was written, I was only about 2 years younger then the MC and none of the partying went on, at least not to that extent. The whole teen boy thing too, like really not every guy just wants that... sheesh. And for being so smart, Carly seemed to carr way too much about being popular. So she don't like the partys? Don't go. Brad was a jerk. He was nice once. And that even still had ulterior motives ...more
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Review, By Bardia Morshedian

The book "The Taker" by J. M. Steele, is about how a high school girl overcomes her biggest challenge. Carly Biels is wanting to get accepted into Princeton College and the only thing she needs is a good SAT score. Unfortunately when she gets her scores back, the are not what she was expecting them to be. Once reality kicks in, she is faced with the fact that with these scores she can no get into Princeton. She has to do something to get her grades up and that is when
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Steele, J.M. The Taker, 350 p. Hyperion –

Carly must get into Princeton, but she tanks the SAT and only has eight weeks to study for the final retake. Then she receives a text message from “The Taker”, who promises to raise her score at least three hundred points, but she must study and act as if she is working hard on her own. For her tutor she enlists Ronald Gross – the nerdy guy who has lived across the street, and whom she has ignored, forever. Along the way Carly learns about lies and love,
Oct 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
I hated the main character who was too much like the brainless self-absorbed all-about-me teen of today (apologies if you're a teenager that isn't lumped into that box). I hated that she wasn't good enough for the other guy interested in her, and I HATED the twist. Who 'the taker' is was the stupidest ending ever AND I'm sorry but if I had been in her shoes that is NOT how I would have reacted.
And frankly, no one stops to think about how this is cheating? That doesn't affect anyone's outlook on
Josey C.
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: quarter-1
This book is definitely one of my favorite books that I have read. The story line is very real and easy to connect to. It's about a girl, Carly, who's in high school and about to take her SAT test. When she gets her scores, she realizes that her dad's dream of her going to Princeton for college is never going to happen. She's doomed. Throughout the book she has to find a way to get a better score on her final test while having to deal with her social life at school too. I think it's very relatab ...more
Nov 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: contempary
I checked out this book because the second book in the trilogy I am reading had been checked out. I wanted something fun, interesting, and easy to tide me over until the other book came back, and this book delivered very well. Overall good book that I enjoyed reading, although nothing spectacular.
Jan 11, 2018 rated it liked it
main character is really dumb yet is apparently eligible for Princeton university? most characters don't have depth and don't seem like real people/realistic. white people are strange
Becky Boudreau
Super high in the trope department, super dated, still super cute.

Full review coming on September 21st for Throwback Thursday.
Imani Allen
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really liked it I was very interesting
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
***SPOILER ALERT*** I was recommended this book by the school librarians and was not sure if I would like this book, because I did not want a book that would be much like the books I already had to read in class. However, they recommended the perfect book for me! This is an amazing book to read if someone is going through the college selection process and the SAT's and everything that has to do with that (I've been seeing this as my sisters apply to colleges). This book was easy to connect to, ...more
Apr 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: stressed out SAT people
Shelves: 2008
When Carly Biels bombs the SATs, everything in her life begins to fall apart. Her parent’s high expectations of her becomes stricter, her dream of attending Princeton seems miles away, and worst of all, she has to attend tutoring sessions with Ronald Gross. (Pronounced like “floss” as they say.) The answer to her problems comes in a phone call from the Taker. For one promise, the Taker will take the SATs for Carly, ensuring her at least a 2200 to get back to her Princeton road.

Seeing as I’m fam
Jan 12, 2012 rated it liked it
A test you failed and retaking but sure you are going to flunk it? Three letters: SAT. Those are the special words for the arches of your future. Carly doesn't know what to do when she gets a bad score on her SAT. But then there is a mysterious text from "The Taker". Carly agrees to the condition under desperation but what is she really getting herself into?

I'm telling you there is a reason my mind change between from a two stars to a three. First of all how the tension grew at the end and I fel
Izzy Ringer
Jan 03, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ir
The Taker, is about a senior in high school named Carly. She has the perfect life: Jock boyfriend, two closest friends, and a good spot in the social ring of Guilford High. But as soon as the SAT's come around the corner, Carly's life is turned upside down. Her father is pressuring her to get into Princeton, but, once she just got her SAT scores back, she found out she bombed it. The say she got her SAT scores, she receives a mysterious text message from someone known as the "Taker", who might j ...more
Jun 04, 2013 added it
Carly Beil has had a dream of going to Princeton University her whole life. Everything seems prefect in her world, but things quickly comes crumbling down when she receives her SAT scores. They're not high enough to be accepted to Princeton, and her boyfriend also seems to be unfaithful. When out of nowhere, The Taker, a mysterious man whom supposedly takes other peoples' SAT scores, contacts Carly and asks her if she wants him to. With what she has at stake, she accepts the offer. Regardless of ...more
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: la-2
So....I actually never read the whole thing. I read the beginning, some random pages in the middle and the end. Just couldn't bring myself to read this - so obsessively focused on the kids really feel this way? I hope not.

From School Library Journal:
Grade 6 Up–Carly Biels should have it made. She has a terrific boyfriend, good friends, and she's popular. Okay, her parents have really high expectations and her dad is a Princeton alum, but she's got decent grades, so that should help he
Anayhi Garrido
Oct 11, 2016 rated it liked it
In The Taker, the main character, Carly took the SAT and didn’t get a good score. She studies really hard with Ronald, the nerd that goes to her school. Then she took the practice test and improved 150 points. When the real test comes, she got a 2200. Carly gets really stressed out, so her friends took her horse back riding. She loves it because that is what they used to do when they were little. She loves her boyfriend and plans to go to Princeton, so they could be together. Carly always goes t ...more
Carly has had the perfect high school experience: good grades, dating the lacrosse captain, and a shoo-in for Princeton (grades + legacy = acceptance). She's never been stellar at standardized tests, but she figured she'd do well enough. She figured wrong. She completely tanks the SATs. She has one chance to take them again, and her entire future is riding on it. She's desperate. How can she possibly pull them up enough in time? On the other hand, not going to Princeton is not an option. Then sh ...more
Jan 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
A humorous and fun read, albeit typical.

Carly is a nice, well-rounded character. Although she starts off as that character you just want to hate - the one with the all-too-perfect grades, boyfriend, parents, and lifestyle. But she eventually eases into situations nicely and less stereotypically. As for Brad, he's pretty much your typical meathead jock of a boyfriend; you don't quite hate him but you don't quite like him. He's just there. Ronald is, of course, such a sweetie. And we all want the
Jul 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
Carly Biels is smart, cute, and has a hot boyfriend. But when it comes to taking standardized tests, she freezes. When she tanks the SAT, it looks like her dreams of going to Princeton (where her dad went) are dead. Enter "The Taker" - a mysterious person who offers to take the test for her and improve her scores. But she has to appear to be studying and prepping anyway. Carly accepts the deal and enters into a studying arrangement with geek next door Ronald, and things get complex. If you haven ...more
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Upper Elementary ...: The Taker (iffy) 3 4 Jul 12, 2014 10:11AM  
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