Chase’s memory just went out the window.
Chase doesn’t remember falling off the roof. He doesn’t remember hitting his head. He doesn’t, in fact, remember anything. He wakes up in a hospital room and suddenly has to learn his whole life all over again . . . starting with his own name.
He knows he’s Chase. But who is Chase? When he gets back to school, he sees that different kids have very different reactions to his return.
Some kids treat him like a hero. Some kids are clearly afraid of him.
One girl in particular is so angry with him that she pours her frozen yogurt on his head the first chance she gets.
Pretty soon, it’s not only a question of who Chase is–it’s a question of who he was . . . and who he’s going to be.
Description taken from Goodreads.
When I cracked open Restart for the first time, I was worried that Gordon Korman had lost his touch.
Despite the fact that I no longer read middle-grade as my primary (or even secondary) genre anymore, I still read plenty of it, and it tends to center around my favorite authors or up-and-coming folks I noted when I was blogging on Tweens Read Too. And by far, Gordon Korman is one of my favorite writers in MG lit, which made the blow of the slow beginning even worse.
No, Gordon Korman hasn’t lost his touch, but this also isn’t his best work yet. The pacing is off in the beginning, the character archetypes are very close to those in Korman’s earlier works (particularly Ungifted), and it takes until about the middle-end of the book to fully recognize the depth and meaning of the story.
In spite of all the things I just mentioned, it’s well worth the wait. The characters are recognizable, but they have their individual personalities and circumstances. Korman brought out layers and flaws to his characters that I haven’t seen before in his writing, and that was very pleasantly surprising. There were three character developments that happen in the story that I especially loved. I’ll spare the spoilers for those of you who haven’t read the book yet, but for those of you who have–it was Joel, Shoshanna, and, of course, Chase. I thought the interactions between these characters perfectly highlighted the immense flaws (this one is more Shoshanna and Chase) to each character and the strengths that each one develops (less Shoshanna than Joel and Chase).
The book was just as heartwarming as the author’s other books. It struck a chord that Ungifted didn’t, as much as I love Ungifted. The story was about the person you choose to be, but it was also about bullying and the debate over whether or not people can truly change. Overall, I thought it was a great story, and I would still wholeheartedly recommend it, but not as a first Gordon Korman book. If it’s to an older audience or someone who’s already a fan, maybe then. 3.5 stars.