Archive for August 3, 2017

OLA Forest Kid Committee Summer Reading List: Restart

The eighth in our blog series on the OLA Forest Kid Committee Summer Reading List. Selected by kids for kids, the list has 20 great books for students grades 5 through 8. Follow along on the blog as I attempt to profile as many books on the list as I can before the school year starts up again.

Next up is Restart by Gordon Korman

The Haiku Review


Bully to blank slate / Chase has to make a hard choice / Old glory / fresh start

Major Players:

  • Chase Ambrose: Former football superstar and all-around middle school terror who falls off his roof, gets amnesia and has a chance to turn his life around
  • Aaron and Bear, Chase’s right-hand guys before the accident
  • Brendan, president of the school’s video club and former target of Chase’s aggression who chooses to give the tough-guy a second chance
  • Joel Weber, a musical genius who was chased out of school by Chase and his goons
  • Shoshanna Weber, Joel’s twin sister who has a tough time trusting the new Chase until they’re forced to work on a video project together.

One-Sentence Summary
When Chase Ambrose, alpha-male eighth-grader who liked to assert his dominance by scoring touchdowns and spiking dweebs, falls off his roof and loses his memory, he has to decide if he wants to return to his football-star glory or own up to his past mistakes and take a kinder, gentler path.

Authorial Anecdote
Gordon Korman is a superstar author who has written tons of books for middle graders including the 39 Clues and Swindle series as well as Ungifted, Schooled  and Slacker.

Quick Quotes
“When I got amnesia, I lost thirteen years of myself. I have to replace those memories using what I can pick up from other people. But everyone has a slightly different version of me — Mom, Dad, my friends, the kids at school, even frozen yogurt girl. For all I know, the lunch ladies know me better than anyone else.

Who should I believe?” (p. 43).

What’d I think?

9/10 vidiots
Gordon Korman’s Restart is a fantastically paced novel that expertly balances a number of fully realized voices, weaves in a mystery, features action and adventure all while painting a complex picture of a young boy trying to figure out who he was and who he wants to be. The concept is surprising: a bully loses his memory — and his hard-edged personality — and has to regain the trust of all the people he hurt in his past life. I liked that the book didn’t let Chase off the hook for things he did prior to his accident. Restart would be a great pick for character education, highlighting themes of responsibility and integrity without being didactic. A brilliant read with a big heart.

Check out the other posts in this series:

And stay tuned for more posts on the OLA Kid Committee Books!



August 3, 2017 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

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