Takedown   ISBN 1-889199-04-4      

$12.00 trade paperback, $2.99 Kindle edition

205 pages

Written by Ellyn Bache and her late husband, Terry, under the pen name E.M.J. Benjamin, this is a teen novel about a high school wrestler who thinks the biggest battle of his senior year will be for the state wrestling championship.  But he soon faces a much greater challenge when, inexplicably, he begins having seizures and is diagnosed with epilepsy.  Soon, everything he values is threatened.  His wrestling career . . . his driving privileges . . his relationship with his girlfriend . . . even his college scholarship.  During one harrowing wrestling season, he has to re-invent his whole life. 

Takedown was a finalist for the “Foreword Magazine” Book of the Year Award and was nominated as a “Best Books for Young Adults” by the American Library Association.


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From Reviewers

“A fast-paced novel with emotional depth. The writing is tight and punchy, and it’s easy to get drawn into the book because Jake’s problem is gripping …. The book succeeds on many levels. Jake’s voice is strong and distinct, and the dialogue rings true …. As the book builds to its climax, Jake must wrestle with the demons within and decide where he stands on issues such as trust, honesty, and integrity [before he is] ready for the fight of his life at the state championship …. While ‘Takedown’ is about a young male wrestler, this is not a ‘guy’ book. Male and female readers will identify with Jake’s struggle to regain control over his life, and to build a new life. It’s a journey well worth reading about.”
 –Greensboro (NC) News & Record

“Benjamin’s fictional portrait of a teen athlete overcoming adversity will greatly appeal to young adults, especially males involved with sports …. The book is an exciting read with a positive lesson, not to mention insight into an often-misunderstood disorder.”
–Today’s Librarian

“During a harrowing season in which [the protagonist] has to revise all his plans, he learns that a ‘takedown’ in life can be handled with the same grace and determination as a takedown on the wrestling mats.”
–Amateur Wrestling News

“An entertaining, believable portrait [in which] Jake and his buddies talk and act like real teenagers, dripping with irony. (I liked the nickname for Jake’s mean-tempered English teacher, ‘The Mackerel.’) …. This novel should appeal strongly to young readers with a taste for sports yarns — especially boys who wouldn’t normally be caught dead with a book.”
–Wilmington (NC) Star-News

“Good books about the hardships of student athletes are hard to find. This one is a keeper.”
–The Alan Review

“This readable selection offers YAs an insight into high school wrestling that few have attempted. The [writing team] combination of a novelist and a high school wrestling coach lends credibility to the story, which includes discussion of the pressures of drugs, athletic competition, and issues about girls competing in traditionally male sports. This tale should appeal to younger boys, especially those interested in wrestling. It is well written and an easy read. I would highly recommend this book to middle school readers, especially reluctant readers, because it moves rapidly and has a simple, easy-to-follow plot.”

“A compelling and engaging novel from first page to last.”
–Children’s Bookwatch

Praise for Takedown from Educators

“I am a teacher with epilepsy who discovered Takedown this year. My eighth grade class loved it! I was diagnosed in eighth grade and wanted absolutely no one to know of my condition. I was sure the other children would laugh at me. I also feared that parents would forbid their children from hanging around me. Even as I moved off to college, I wanted as few people as possible to know. I cannot believe how much I relate to the character, Jake. In my class, both the boys and the girls relate to him and to how he wants to hide his differences from others. The book made the students more accepting of differences and tell me they will really work to be more open-minded. Takedown helped me teach them that epilepsy is not a bad thing or something that only weird people get. I have ordered more copies and plan to use it for my Handicap Awareness through Literature unit.”
–Kathleen Caruso, Resurrection School, Lansing, MI

“As a retired high school guidance director of twenty-eight years I found Takedown an immensely wonderful read. The heart of almost every high school was captured to perfection by the author, right down to Ms. Macris, the Mackerel – a staple of every faculty. Jake’s ability to share his feelings and his struggles with decisions make him a role model for every teenager with a problem, whether minor or major. That includes all of the youngsters at some point over the high school years. Takedown belongs on every counselor’s bookshelf, it has so much to offer each student who reads it.”
–Betty Zoeller, Retired Director of Guidance Paterson Catholic High School, Paterson, NJ

Takedown is a delightful, fast-paced, well-written volume, suitable for upper middle school and high school students, and highly recommended for their parents, teachers, and counselors as well. Jake, a successful high school senior both in the classroom and in varsity athletics, must learn to deal with many of the problems of our current society–socio-economic, racial, sexism, working parents, and less-than-perfect adults. Learning to deal honestly with others and with himself and how to turn problems into opportunities are lessons for life. Jake grows in the process, as do we all.”
–Nancy S. Marks, Retired School Counselor (National Certified Counselor) Hoggard High School, Wilmington, NC

Praise for Takedown from Teens

Takedown is a great book because it tells about everyday problems a teenager faces with his friends. About how you are scared to be your real self in front of your friends. It also shows what a tough sport wrestling can be and that you can still accomplish something if you keep working hard at it even if you have some major setbacks.”
–Jeff C., age 15, 9th Grade, Westbrook, MN

“I would like to tell you that I enjoyed your book very much! It was neat how the man that was blind, Gary, taught Jake not to be ashamed of his disability. The reason I liked that was because he saw it through someone with a totally different disability. It was interesting to see how the disability affected Jake when it came to playing sports. I play sports and never think about how different it is when you have a disability. I hope to find out about other books you have written, so I can read them also.”
–Rita D., 7th grade, Resurrection School, Lansing, MI

“Thank you for writing this novel. I have had epilepsy since a major car wreck in 1994, which afterwards I was partially paralyzed, in a five-day coma, and it gave me seizures — both complex-partial and grand mal. I was on 2-5 anti-convulsants, taken two or three times a day, and still having 5-50 seizures in a day. I had brain surgery in ’98, which helped a lot, and VNS surgery in ’99, which mostly cured my epilepsy. It still affects me in two aspects of my life, though: social situations and driving. I [liked the] advice you have on how I should look at my situation so I can live my life more confidently. Thanks again.”
–Matthew F.

“Hi, I’m an eighth grader at Soldotna Middle School. I’m in the middle of reading Takedown and was wondering what made you decide for him to have seizures? It’s a good book!”
–Robert F., Soldotna, AK

“I really enjoy wrestling and I don’t like to ever read, but my dad bought me the book, Takedown, and I liked reading it. It was a good book, and was wondering if you have any other good books like it ’cause I would really like to read them!”
–Sean S., Show Low, AZ

“Hi. My name is Chris and I am in 7th grade. I have been wrestling for four years in the IKWF (Illinois Kids Wrestling Federation). It is competitive wrestling for 14 and younger. I am reading your book and I love it. I do not like reading but I can’t stop reading this one.”
–Chris N., Naperville, IL

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