Award-winning author Gordon Korman has a knack for understanding the preteen brain. His characters’ voices have always had the ring of authenticity, allowing the reader to fully understand the motivations and feelings of the full cast. Korman’s latest standalone book, Restart, is no different.
The story begins with eighth-grader Chase Ambrose waking up in the hospital with amnesia. His mother, whom he doesn’t recognize, informs him that he fell off the roof of their house. Chase not only doesn’t remember that—he remembers nothing of his 13 years.
At first, Chase is desperate to get his memory back, but as he begins the school year and pieces together who he used to be, Chase starts to think that maybe it would be best not to know. Why are so many kids afraid of him? Why doesn’t he like the guys who used to be his best friends? Can he really start over as a “new” person?
Told in first-person chapters by Chase and several other characters, the story builds as the lost parts of a life are found and refitted. By using multiple voices—especially those of the bully and the victim—Korman has taken the subject of bullying to a new place. This refreshing perspective, along with his ability to uncannily tap into the middle schooler’s mind, makes Korman’s latest a must-have for any school or library.
Jennifer Bruer Kitchel is the librarian for a Pre-K through 8th level Catholic school.