TEEN LIBRARIAN'S REVIEW:
If you're one of the many high school students stressing about the SATs, your GPA, and where you'll go to college, "The Taker" might be just the book for you. It's a breezy, fast-paced novel about high school junior Carly, who bombs the SAT and then contracts with the shady, mysterious Taker to re-take the SAT for her. There's one catch, though. Taker, who Carly only meets once in a shadowy corner of a mall parking lot, insists that Carly take an intensive SAT prep course so that people won't be surprised when her scores jump astronomically. Carly decides to have her geeky but sweet neighbor Ronald Gross work with her one-on-one. Ronald's methods may be a bit unusual — he takes her "duck" bowling and constructs his own tailored problems — but, ever so slowly, Carly begins to do better on the practice tests. More importantly, she starts to actually understand the questions and answers. As Carly's confidence increases, she decides she wants out of her hasty deal with the Taker. The problem? The Taker has disappeared and his e-mail has been deactivated.
I really enjoyed this novel. Carly is a very authentic, believable character, and the reader can completely understand all the pressure she's under from her parents, teachers, guidance counselors, and friends. Carly's blossoming friendship with Ronald — and her growing disgust with her jock boyfriend Brad — are nice touches that make the story ring true. Even better, the ultimate "lesson" of the book, that you really can only do your best and then just accept the consequences, is a good one to remember. Especially when everyone else seems to have forgotten it!
I think this is a great novel for high school age readers. There's nothing terribly offensive here, aside from a few instances of harsh language, which seem fitting for the story. Definitely recommended.