Restart by Gordon Korman

By Ben, 27 March 2022

I first heard of Restart (ages 10+) a middle grade, realistic fiction novel about second chances, from my daughter while she was still in middle school and a keen participant for her school in the Battle of the Books competition. It was the only book she had willingly read several times, and enjoyed each time. So when I found a copy among the piles of donated books in our local secondhand bookshop for kids, Rebooked, I took that as a sign. I had to read it too.

And as usual, Ben came along for the ride.

M: How’s your Sunday going so far?
B: Fine (sniffle).
M: Hmmm. I hope you’re more talkative about the book! So, tell me. What is Restart about?
B: It’s about this 13-year-old boy called Chase Ambrose who falls off the roof of his house and he hurts his head and gets amnesia, so he forgets everything before the accident.
M: Like what everything? Like who his mom is?
B: Yeah, he forgets who people are, and who he was, what he was like and what he did before the accident.
M: That’s kinda scary huh? How would you feel if that happened to you?
B: I’d feel sad, scared and worried. Maybe depressed even.
M: So did Chase feel all this?
B: Yeah, I think so.
M: And what happened next?
B: Well, he started school again and met his friends and found out they were actually jerks and bullies, and he wondered how he could have been friends with them before. Then he joined the video club, where his friends said all the nerds hung out.
M: Oh, we have to be careful not to reveal any spoilers! There are a few “a-ha!” moments in this book, right?
B: Oh yeah. OK, let’s see (thinking). So in video club, he made friends with this kid called Brendan and the kids started liking him because he was now a nice kid, not like before the accident. Chase started helping Brendan make YouTube videos because Brendan wanted to go viral.
M: Well, I can’t ask you much more because any more information, and we’d spoilt it for kids who haven’t read it yet. Let’s see. If you were to use three words to describe the book, what words would you use?
B: (thinking) Interesting. Page-turner, because you want to find out what is going to happen next. And it had a clever plot.
M: Hmmm, clever plot is two words though, but I’ll take it.
B: (taking over the keyboard) Then type it like this, cleverplot.
M: OK, smart aleck.
B: That’s two words!

(For ages 10 and up).

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