A review by btwnprintedpgs
The Takedown by Lily Chu

challenging emotional hopeful lighthearted reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


Whew, that was too relatable, oof. RTC

This book was relatable to the point it felt like a personal attack, and I both resent being called out and also applaud Lily Chu for it.

Dee is a Diversity and Inclusion consultant, Teddy is the heir of a huge fashion business, and chaos ensues when Teddy's family business is thrust in the spotlight for terrible D&I practices (in that there wasn't really any D&I). The main plot was hard to get through - the micro-agressions, white privilege, and outright racism - it was a wild storm. However, so many great conversations came out of it and it was a huge undertaking on Chu's part to write about and shine a light on some of these issues.

The personal attack was Dee's family. The way they sweep everything under a facade of toxic positivity and general avoidance. It was a bit too real at times, and I commend Chu for really hitting me where it hurts. So much of my family was reflected in this book and it was an oof. Dee's growth through it was amazing, even though it takes her a while to fully settle into it (relatable, as well).

While I liked Dee, I loved Teddy. He was my favourite part of the story. Lily Chu always makes her men so real and outside of the conventional "manly man" template. Teddy is a fashion designer who loves art and isn't intimidated by a smart woman and he's almost entirely green flags and I love him for it. He and Dee really click and seeing their relationship with each other develop and grow was a lot of fun, despite the growing pains.

The book was a ride and while I definitely didn't like confronting some of my own issues as I read it, a book where you see yourself reflected and your experiences shared is really a testament to Chu's ability to write real and relatable characters. That ending also was so vindicating, my goodness!

Rep: biracial MCs, bisexual secondary character

TW: toxic positivity, biphobia, racism, micro-aggressions, racial slurs, bullying, sexism; mentions fatphobia, cancer, death of a parent

eARC gifted via Colored Pages Book Tours by Sourcebooks Casablanca via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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