Taking Down Evelyn Tait (Poppy Nwosu, Wakefield)
Lottie is 16 and loves black metal, collecting curious words and making trouble, so her transformation into a goody two-shoes surprises herself as much as anyone else. But Lottie is playing the long game: to beat her nemesis at her own tricks. As she learns the meaning of the word ‘sonder’, Lottie begins to grow up and out of her teenage myopia to realise that everyone else’s lives do not revolve around her and the decisions she makes have real impact on other people. Warm, funny and wise, Taking Down Evelyn Tait examines disjointed family dynamics, complicated friendships, awkward teen romance and honouring your true self. This follow-up to Nwosu’s Making Friends With Alice Dyson, which was shortlisted for the Readings YA Prize and the Adelaide Festival Unpublished Manuscript Award, will win just as many hearts as its predecessor, and hits many of the same notes. The dockside suburb of Port Adelaide sings as its working-class roots bump up against gentrification, as teens sprawl across benches and hoon around its darkened streets. Some smouldering looks and steamy kisses stop short of giving the book anything more than a PG rating, opening it up to a broad readership of those aged 13 and older. Taking Down Evelyn Tait is a joyous and accessible read for fans of To All the Boys I Loved Before and 10 Things I Hate About You.
Annie Waters sells books, writes about books and podcasts about books