Bibliophile | ‘Taking Down Evelyn Tait’ is a joyous teen journey of discovery

Taking Down Evelyn Tait
by Poppy Nwosu
Wakefield Press

Sixteen year-old Charlotte (Lottie) Murphy is a frequent visitor to her principal’s office – so frequent that they seem to be on a first name basis. In the first chapter of this Young Adult book is titled How to Lose Your Best Friend and Your Breakfast. Excellent, Lottie manages to score another visit even though she feels the incident wasn’t her fault.

As they were on the train to school, Lottie’s best friend Grace Singh informed her that she was in love with Lottie’s mortal enemy Evelyn Tait. Grace had always preferred girls, so that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that Evelyn, otherwise known as Miss Perfect was kind, nice and sweet to everyone while being perfectly nasty to Lottie.

After her mother left, her father got together with Celeste and, not only does she now have baby brother Leo, but Celeste’s 16 year-old daughter has been added to the family. While Lottie has a history of getting into trouble again and again, her evil new step sister has a super power – she manages to get away with all the dastardly deeds she comes up with to make Lottie’s life a complete misery.

The only person Lottie can turn to is her next door neighbour Jude, with whom she has been friends forever. Jude is struggling with his own family problems but he agrees to help Lottie with her experiment to beat Lottie at her own game. As Lottie attempts to become even more perfect than Evelyn, she is continually challenged but she actually enjoys some positives.

She does, however, become distracted from her plan for world domination by the beautiful Sebastian, whom she has secretly watched from afar for a considerable amount of time, who starts to take an interest in her while Jude starts behaving quite weirdly. Also, she realizes that there is the chance that she might actually be good at something.

Taking Down Evelyn Tait is a joyous journey of teenage discovery that is full of humour and embarrassing truths. As family dynamics and friendships change, it shows how healing one part of your life can open up new worlds of possibility.

Lezly Herbert

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