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4.27  ·  Rating details ·  257 ratings  ·  83 reviews
“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'
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published June 19th 2018 by Wendy Lamb Books/Random House Children's Books
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Average rating 4.27  · 
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 ·  257 ratings  ·  83 reviews

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Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: kids, parents, teachers

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. Mic
Ms. Yingling
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Jenn Bishop
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Scott Fillner
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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!
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
My wrestling knowledge is next to nothing, yet I am still a huge fan of this book. Mickey (Mikayla) and Lev are training partners on the Gladiator wrestling team. They tell their story in alternating chapters. We learn different lessons from them individually as well as in their wrestling partnership. Lev's chapters often include poems as he works through his feelings in a notebook. Those were some of my favorite bits. I also loved the way Laura Shovan depicted each family and their struggle to ...more
Tricia Clasen
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Afoma Umesi
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Takedown follows two middle-schoolers, Mikayla (Mickey) and Lev, both of whom are wrestlers. I don’t know much about the sport itself and couldn’t picture a lot of the moves the kids performed in the book, but the stand out themes for me were friendship and identity. Both kids grew so much by the end of the book, it made my heart very happy. Plus, I love reading about sensitive male characters and Lev is just the sweetest boy!
Roxy Moreno
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The book “Takedown” by Laura Shovan is about a girl named Mickey and a boy named Lev. Mickey is the only girl wrestler on the team, and Lev is a wrestler who has a rivalry with a kid named Nick. Lev and Mickey become friends and partners in their wrestling team. Outside of the gym, Lev loves writing poems and is having trouble with his friend because wrestling is taking up his time. Mickey is having friend problems too because her friend dropped out of wrestling to be in drama. One day at a wres ...more
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
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.
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great story about a girl and boy both in the world of wrestling. Themes of friendship, family, and being your very best!
Lynn Weber
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
I loved this novel! It’s a middle school novel about two wrestlers—one a boy, one a girl—becoming friends and navigating challenges in their families and sense of themselves in the course of their first year in middle school. Serious and fun at the same time.
Wendy MacKnight
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-read
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!
C.J. Milbrandt
Mikayla wrestles just like her two older brothers. It's a Delgado family tradition. But being a girl on the mats often means working twice as hard as everyone else. Lev is part of the Gladiators traveling team, and the last thing he expected this season was being partnered with a girl. Can he make it to States, strapped with this noob?

Alternating POVs between Mickey and Lev, Shovan pulls us into two very different eleven-year-old's worlds. Family life, school life, friendships, and their commit
Lorie Barber
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.
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
Diane Magras
As you might guess from the kind of fiction I write, I'm rather big on gender equality. As I was reading TAKEDOWN, I saw what I love to see in female protagonists and aim for myself: Show girls being powerful in their own way, learning, thinking, and focusing on a lot more than "girl power" because there needs to be so much more. Laura Shovan nails that in this book. Mikayla wants not to be the girl who beats the other wrestlers, but the wrestler who beats the other wrestlers. She's been the sha ...more
Casey Lyall
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Christina Hanson
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“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
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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) Althou
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Amber Webb
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: readers curious about less-well-known sports
TAKEDOWN introduced me to wrestling, a sport I’d never been interested in before and knew nothing about.
The story is told through alternating first-person point of view by the two protagonists, Mikayla, one of the rare girls in the sport, who comes from a family of wrestlers, and Lev, who’s been wrestling for years with his two best friends.
The author does a great job giving us a glimpse into the world of wrestling, no previous knowledge is necessary to understand what’s going on as Mickey and L
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is about girl wrestlers, boy wrestlers who are embarrassed to have to fight a girl, and the heroes that we worship.

What happens when you're the only girl on a wrestling team? What if you're already an awkward boy and now your partner has bits that you feel weird grabbing?

That's only the first layer of this book. Laura Shovan is really brave in her exploration of wrestling, the challenges that come with breaking the gender barrier of the sport, and the violence that bubbles beneath sp
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent story. My daughter and I read this aloud together. It was tough for my 7 year old to follow because each chapter alternates point of view between two wrestling partners on a travel team, but the 9 year old had no problem. The story is about wrestling and the struggles of a girl wrestlers but it also has poetry, a diverse cast of characters, and is mostly a story about how to be a friend. The wrestling components were authentic and the characters were real and likeable. We loved it!

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 ...more
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved the changing perspectives for each chapter as it allowed the reader a deeper understanding of the two main characters and some of the other characters, as well. I know nothing about wrestling as a sport, but was interested throughout as the characters and their focus and motivation is so important as the story progresses. This is a good book and should allow for some quality conversation about situations that affect athletes and their families as well as typical middle grade school issue ...more
Mike Grosso
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
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Laura Shovan’s debut novel, THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY (Random House Kids, 2016), won multiple awards and is the 2018 Arnold Adoff Poetry Award for New Voices honor book. TAKEDOWN, her latest book for kids, is about the first girl on an all-boys’ wrestling team (Random House Kids, 2018). It is a Junior Library Guild and a PJ Our Way selection. A PLACE AT THE TABLE, a new middle gra ...more

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