4.6 16
by Sharon G. Flake

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Award-winning author, Sharon G. Flake, presents a powerful novel about a teen boy and girl, each tackling disabilities.

Autumn and Adonis have nothing in common and everything in common. Autumn is outgoing and has lots of friends. Adonis is shy and not so eager to connect with people. But even with their differences, the two have one thing in common ?


Award-winning author, Sharon G. Flake, presents a powerful novel about a teen boy and girl, each tackling disabilities.

Autumn and Adonis have nothing in common and everything in common. Autumn is outgoing and has lots of friends. Adonis is shy and not so eager to connect with people. But even with their differences, the two have one thing in common ? they’re each dealing with a handicap. For Autumn, who has a learning disability, reading is a painful struggle that makes it hard to focus in class. But as her school’s most aggressive team wrestler, Autumn can take down any problem. Adonis is confined to a wheelchair. He has no legs. He can’t walk or dance. But he’s a strong reader who loves books. Even so, Adonis has a secret he knows someone like Autumn can heal.

In time, Autumn and Adonis are forced to see that our greatest weaknesses can turn into the assets that forever change us and those we love.

Told in alternating voices, Takedown explores issues of self-discovery, friendship, and what it means to be different.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ninth-graders Autumn and Adonis are polar opposites. Academics don’t come easy for Autumn, especially reading, but she’s a killer wrestler and the only girl on the school team. Adonis was born without legs, but is self-confident, disciplined, and an exceptional student; he’s also kind of a jerk. She’s crazy about him anyway, but he wants nothing to do with her: “Nothing about her appeals to me. All those muscles. Not to mention her IQ. I’m sure it’s exceptionally low.” Flake (You Don’t Even Know Me) avoids tidiness, constructing two authentic, distinct voices that expose the strengths and flaws of both teenagers—Adonis is cerebral, conceited, and eloquent, while Autumn’s narration is openhearted and raw (“If grades was trees, mine would be the root.... Nobody did worse on this test than me”). The unflinching honesty with which Flake approaches her characters is what sells this story; the romantic tension and fiery back-and-forth between these headstrong teens and their respective efforts to make the most of their lives, only sweeten the deal. Ages 10–14. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
Autumn is the only girl on the high school wrestling team, an aggressive opponent who can take down most guys on the mat, even as she struggles to read at grade level. Adonis is the brilliant, arrogant boy who serves as manager of the wrestling team. Despite having been born without legs, Adonis exudes confidence in his own perfection: "I do not dull my light so other people will feel better about themselves." But Autumn and Adonis meet their match in each other. Autumn decides that she is in love with Adonis and pursues him as aggressively as she challenges fellow wrestlers in a tournament, while Adonis resists her overtures with snobbish disdain: "Nothing about her appeals to me. All those muscles. Not to mention her IQ. I'm sure it's exceptionally low." In chapters alternating between Autumn's sassy, in-your-face, African-American vernacular voice, and Adonis's formal intellectual diction, Coretta Scott King honoree Sharon G. Flake creates two compelling characters—an irresistible force and an immoveable object—and sets them on a trajectory to unseat the other' deepest assumptions. Family dynamics, peer relationships, and teacher-student interactions throughout the novel are complex and multi-layered. Flake refuses to allow readers to pity Adonis for his physical disability or to pity Autumn for her academic challenges. Instead, despite Adonis's cold conceit and Autumn's brash pushiness, Flake gets us to root for both of them. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
VOYA - Amanda MacGregor
Opposites (somewhat reluctantly) attract in this stirring story about two teens with very different personalities and abilities. Autumn is the only girl on the school's wrestling team. She is honest, compassionate, bold, and a great cook. Despite her commitment to athletics, she does not put the same effort into her schoolwork and struggles, especially with reading. Adonis is articulate, driven, reserved, and not particularly nice to Autumn. Born without legs from the thigh down, Adonis manages the wrestling team. He does not appreciate Autumn's crush on him. Unimpressed with her grades and how she speaks (things like, "[She] say I barely know him. She right."), Adonis writes Autumn off. When she starts to volunteer at the library, to spend more time with him, he begins to see Autumn's desire to do better in school and understands there is more to her than what he perceives. Autumn and Adonis take turns narrating the story, each in their own distinctive voice. The inner struggles both teenagers face are revealed to the reader long before they are revealed to each other, allowing glimpses of their vulnerability. Moving and thoughtful, such characters are not often seen in young adult literature. Adonis and Autumn may feel their disabilities set them apart from other teenagers, but their desires to overcome adversity and be seen as their best are important and universal themes. Reviewer: Amanda MacGregor
Kirkus Reviews
Two unlikely teens find a connection despite the reluctance of one and the vastly different life obstacles they confront. Autumn Knight is good at several things: She's a great friend, a terrific cook and a fiercely competitive wrestler, the only girl on her team. She is not good at reading or most of her other school subjects. Despite this, she is drawn to the smartest boy in school and determined that he will like her in return. Adonis Miller, severely physically disabled since birth, wants no part of Autumn. She is everything he hates: "I despise her. Nothing about her appeals to me. All those muscles. Not to mention her IQ. I'm sure it's exceptionally low." Since he was a little boy, he has striven to be the best at whatever he attempts, from academics to school leadership. His role as manager of the wrestling team often brings him into contact with Autumn, and he has trouble reconciling the successful athlete with the irritating girl who haunts his dreams. This brilliantly realized story is told alternately in their two distinctive voices, and readers will cheer Autumn's spirit and Adonis' drive. The narrative is further enriched by intriguing secondary characters, including Autumn's best friend Patricia (aka Peaches), who has her own secrets, and the loving parents and caring teachers of both teens. An uplifting story that convincingly celebrates the power of perseverance. (Fiction. 14 & up)
From the Publisher


* "The unflinching honesty with which Flake approaches her characters is what sells this story."--PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, starred review

* "This brilliantly realized story is told alternately in their two distinctive voices, and readers will cheer Autumn's spirit and Adonis' drive."--KIRKUS, starred review

School Library Journal
Gr 6–10—Two African American students with disabilities-Autumn, who struggles to learn to read, and Adonis, who was born without legs-learn that they are not so different after all in this unexceptional novel. Autumn is the only girl on the wrestling team, and though she excels at sports and cooking, she can't find success in the classroom. She is in love with Adonis, who finds her annoying and pushes her away at every opportunity. Adonis is an A student, almost too perfect, and rigid when it comes to his views on other people-especially Autumn. Given that he dreams about her and thinks about her constantly, however, readers will suspect that he has some hidden feelings. Told from alternating points of view, the story mostly dwells on the teens' school problems and spends less time on their potential romance. Parents and teachers all seem too good to be true, and the outcome is entirely predictable. The main characters are unique and interesting, but while the novel has a well-meaning message, it is didactic and lacks real drama. Teens are likely to be more interested in the romance and friendships than in the constant focus on Autumn's poor reading skills and will miss the gritty details and urban settings they may have expected from this author. Those who loved Flake's excellent The Skin I'm In (1998) and Who Am I Without You? (2004, both Hyperion) will be drawn to this novel but may ultimately find it disappointing.—Miranda Doyle, Lake Oswego School District, OR

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 5.70(h) x 1.00(d)
HL460L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Sharon G. Flake exploded onto the literary scene with her novel THE SKIN I'M IN, in 1998, and was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start. Since then she has become a multiple Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award winner and has been hailed as the voice of middle-grade youth and a Rising Star by The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. Many of Sharon’s novels have received ALA Notable and Best Books for Young Adults citations from the American Library Association. Her writing has been applauded for its on-point narrative that explores issues affecting teens from all walks of life. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Please visit Sharon’s website:

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Pinned 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book about two people who are meant to be together. Talkative learning-disabilited Autumn is the only girl wrestler at her school and she is the best at what she do. Wheel-chair bound Adonis is the wrestling manager and an honour roll student. Autumn has loved Adonis for years and he has ignored her for years. Through a very trying school year, both of these characters change and grow and learn to love one another. This is a great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im 14 years old and she in my favorite author in the world ........ she's awesome!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Grrrrreeeeaaaaaaattttttttt book ,great suspense!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
They have this book at my book fair this week.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What brave characters
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was fairly good. Had a good time reading it. It really gets into the emotional stress of two very different issues. Being very smart with no real friends while trying hard to live down a horrible bullying incedent, IE. Adonis; and being an insperational and succesful athlete while struggling with accademics that could end your reputation all the while being infatuated with someone that is your complete opposite, IE. Autumn. In my opinion, the book seemed incomplete. The way they left off gave no real indication if things are going to get better or not. Aside from that, though, the book was very entertaining indeed and was well worth the read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In this book there are three main characters. Their names are Autumn, Adonis, and Peaches.  Autumn and Peaches are best friends. Adonis is different though he has no legs, but that doesn't stop Autumn  from liking him. Autumn really likes Adonis, she tries and tries to get with him, but Adonis doesn't feel the same  way. He dislikes regulars, because of a tragic event that happened to him. The only reason he actually talks to  her, is because she is on the wrestling team. Autumn is kicked off the wrestling team, because of her bad grades.  At first Autumn doesn't go to class and spends time in the library. This is how her and Adonis began working  together. Adam wonders if her and Adonis we'll get together, or will she have to move on. One day trying to talk  to Adonis out of getting Peaches in trouble, she finds out his tragedy and that changes their relationship.  I really enjoyed this book. I love how Autumn knows Adonis doesn't like her, but she never gives up. I also admire her  determination, her determination for Adonis is shown in this quote "[...] I love you Adonis more than Peaches who  is like a sister to me." This doesn't change how Adonis feels though. This is shown in the quote, "Leave me alone.  I don't like I will never like you Autumn." I would recommend this book it has romance, a little bit of comedy, and  also education.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just finished it. I think it wasfabulously written. Greatly detailed totally visualizable. It totally deserved that Corretta Scott King award
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Hey," she said.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great and interesting. With hearing how both think and feel you get the understanding of thier struggles and how they deal with them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a very interseting book and i highly encourage everyone to read this book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heidi_G More than 1 year ago
Flake once again scores a hit with this book about best friends, possible romance, standing up for yourself (both literally and figuratively).  Autumn is a star wrestler but she can't read.  Adonis is in a wheelchair and despite warnings from her BFF, Autumn likes the guy. A lot.  And she demonstrates her feelings in ways that embarass Adonis.  Autumn's grades drop so low that she is no longer allowed to wrestle.  She spends time in the library to be closer to Adonis but still he pushes her away.   Overall, I liked the story.  Autumn struggles with academics, has supportive teachers and parents, and realizes that her BFF sometimes cheats to get what she wants.  It was troubling to read about her continued efforts to become Adonis' girlfriend when he continually verbally pushed her away.  But that is the way of some teens--to keep trying despite overwhelming odds against them.  The struggle Adonis has with doing the right thing is spot-on realistic.  One bit concern is the cover photo.  The model needs a bit more meat on her bones to look like a wrestler of the caliber Autumn is written to be.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago