Do you ever wish that you could start over with a clean slate? Or re-do a part of your life? Chase didn’t realize that he needed a restart, but he got one after falling off the roof and suffering from amnesia. In Gordon Kormon’s novel Restart, readers get a chance to see middle school from a variety of perspectives as Chase tries to get his memory back and figure out who he wants to be.
Before the fall, Chase is the big man on campus. He is the captain of the football team and people follow his lead. Unfortunately, his lead includes making fun of others and intimidating people with pranks that can jar them emotionally and physically. When he falls off the roof, he is lucky to be alive, but in many ways, he is also fortunate that he gets amnesia and doesn’t remember the jerk he was.
What follows is a book, told from various perspectives, that shows Chase trying to figure out who he is and bizarrely becoming friends with the people who hated him the most. At the same time, his two previous best friends and pranksters don’t understand what has happened to their loudmouthed athletic friend. They just want him to go back to being who he was and lead the team to victory.
Korman excels when he writes from various perspectives, as in Ungifted. When the book is told in Chase’s voice, you see the confusion he gets when people are afraid of him, including his own step-sister. You see him trying to be a good person, but simply not knowing where he fits in. He is so reviled that one character actually dumps a cup of frozen yogurt over his head. When told from the other characters’ perspectives readers can get a sense of what it feels like to be bullied, what it feels like to enjoy things that are different from the popular kids, and even what the bullies themselves feel.
I knew that the book sounded interesting just by reading the back cover at one of our school book fairs. But when I finally got to read it, it was a cover to cover kind of experience. Restart is a great MG read.