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5.0 1
by Allison van Diepen

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Lauren Black
Darren lost two years of his life stuck in juvenile detention for a crime he did not commit. A member of a local gang, he took the fall for the notorious head of the city’s drug cartel, Diamond Tony. Finally out, Darren plots to get even. Darren lands work as an informant for the police and infiltrates Diamond Tony’s operation. The only problem is that he has now fallen for one of the prettiest girls in school, Jessica. When a rival drug cartel moves in on Diamond Tony’s turf, a deadly war breaks out, taking friends and enemies alike. Darren finds himself caught in the middle when a cop gets killed. Darren must stay on his game if he wants to protect himself and the ones he loves. The more he tries to get out, the more he gets sucked back in. If he makes even the smallest mistake, it could be his last. This heart-pumping thriller will suck readers in from the first chapter. Allison van Diepen tells a typical gang story well. Readers will find themselves rooting for characters they least expect, and the book’s shocking last chapter will leave readers in disbelief. Well done! Reviewer: Lauren Black; Ages 14 up.
VOYA - Walter Hogan
As a fifteen-year-old, Darren had briefly worked as a lookout for the gang run by Diamond Tony, the drug kingpin of a run-down Toronto neighborhood. But after being caught in a bust, Darren spent the next two years in "juvie". Now he is out and re-employed by the gang, but is secretly determined to bring down Diamond Tony to get his revenge for having "taken the rap." Darren's triple life as a high school student by day, drug dealer by night, and police informant, or "snitch," provides plenty of tension in this gritty urban novel. When he falls for nice girl Jessica, but cannot avoid endangering her, the stresses of Darren's life reach a breaking point. Narrated in the first-person by Darren, and punctuated with the rap lyrics he loves to compose, this tale of an urban youth struggling to escape the "hood" and its drug culture is filled with realistic details of inner city life. The characters are vivid, but some of their motivations and behaviors are not entirely convincing. Why, for example, did Diamond Tony never suspect that a subordinate who took the fall for the gang might not be entirely loyal thereafter? Darren himself is an odd and equivocal character. His role as a snitch and his personal revenge motivation are not particularly admirable; and yet his courage and virtuous abstinence from the drugs, sexual promiscuity, and violence surrounding him are the traits of a superhero. Overall, the novel's lively action will appeal to older teen fans of realistic urban fiction. Reviewer: Walter Hogan
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—When he was 15, Darren was locked up for his involvement with Toronto's most notorious drug cartel, despite the fact that he was only working as a lookout at the time. He knew that talking was suicide, so he kept his mouth shut and served his time. But during his two years in juvie, Darren quietly plotted his revenge. Now, he's a confidential informant for the police, working to take down the cartel's kingpin, a powerful drug lord named Diamond Tony. Darren finds himself in dangerous territory, however, when Tony's men gun down his supervising police officer for getting in their way. Darren is terrified that it's only a matter of time before his secret is out. Left on his own, caught in the middle of a turf war between Diamond Tony's operation and the Bloods, he has a decision to make. Should he continue with his plan to take down Diamond Tony, or should he get out while he can, before his family or his girlfriend is caught in the crossfire? Van Diepen has created a gritty, suspenseful, character-driven story that reveals the complexity of life in the projects in a major city without coming across as preachy. Drugs and violence are never glorified or presented in an overly graphic manner, and sexuality is also downplayed. This is a strong choice for reluctant readers. Purchase where urban fiction is popular.—Liz Overberg, Darlington School, Rome, GA
Kirkus Reviews
Multidimensional characters convincingly play on the sympathies of readers in this realistic and suspenseful urban drama. After being released from juvenile detention, Darren vows revenge against the leader of the drug-dealing gang for whom he took the fall. He's an intelligent young man with dreams of making it in the music world, a sweet adoration for his young brother, and a magnetic attraction to Jessica, a girl at school; Darren's also an informant for the police. By becoming a dealer for the same gang that pinned the blame on him, he hopes to provide tips that will help bring down the head of the organization, Diamond Tony. Short, action-filled chapters are expertly crafted to urge readers on, and the gradual revealing of details about Darren's family and background adds a layer of depth. Many chapters end with raps penned by Darren, often expressing his feelings about what's going on in his life, and while these fit well with his constructed persona, they feel a little awkward at times--perhaps since they are meant to be heard over a beat instead of read. While this does interrupt the flow of the narrative a bit, it does not detract overall from what is an exceedingly readable novel. A smart and believably gritty tale of the streets with genuine heart. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Product Details

Simon Pulse
Publication date:
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File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt



I slipped back into the alley and whispered into my cell, “It’s on. Pup’s approaching the car.”

Seconds ticked by. I watched Pup slide into his shiny black Mazda. Bass thumped inside. If the cops didn’t pounce soon, they’d lose him. That better not happen. I’d spent weeks tracking his movements in preparation for this. His car was definitely full of Diamond Dust and who knows what else.

Sirens wailed, and three cop cars streaked in from all sides. Pup slammed on the gas, ramming one of them. He flung open his door and started to run, but they were on him in seconds.

Pup put up an impressive fight, but it only got him zapped by a Taser. Finally they cuffed him and shoved him into the back of a cruiser. Off he went.

I smiled. Seeing Pup get arrested was a pleasure. He was a key player in Diamond Tony Walker’s operation. Cruel and unusual was his thing. That’s how he got his name—short for Sick Puppy.

Pulling my hood forward, I walked out of the alley and crossed the street, avoiding the security cameras around the all-night deli. Everybody knew those cameras didn’t miss a thing. If Diamond Tony suspected a snitch, he’d get the tapes. He could have anything he wanted in this neighborhood.

I wasn’t going to get sloppy. A sloppy informant is a dead informant.

Home was four blocks away. It was late and freezing cold, so everybody was staying inside. Even the drug fiends had found warm places to huddle.

When I got to my building, I saw two homeless guys slumped in between the front doors. They were probably too high to notice me, but I couldn’t risk it.

I circled around back and scaled the fire escape. It was loose in several places and clanked against the building as I went up three floors. Climbing into my bedroom, I kicked off my shoes, threw my jacket over a chair, and stretched out on the bed. I rubbed my hands together to warm them up. My heart was beating fast, the way it always did when I was creeping. Creeping and peeping, the kind of thing that could get me killed any day of the week.

I was four months out of juvie and a lot deeper into the game than before I went in. But I had to work for Diamond Tony if I was going to bring him down. I had a mission—and nothing was going to get in my way.

Pup’s arrest tonight was just the beginning.

Meet the Author

Allison van Diepen is the author of Street Pharm, Snitch, Raven, and Takedown. She teaches at an alternative high school in Ottawa, Canada. Visit her at AllisonvanDiepen.com.

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Takedown 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Omg ive read street pharm and this author is great