Book Reviews

Book Review: Restart by Gordon Korman

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Cover of "Restart" by Gordon Korman
Image via Goodreads

Genre: Middle Grade
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: 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.


REVIEW: Restart is a remarkable story and another reason why I practically devour and adore anything by Gordon Korman. Every book of his I’ve read has been 5 well-deserved stars and Restart is no exception.

Chase Ambrose is a football star, an all-around athlete, and a huge bully until one fall from a roof gives him amnesia, forgetting everything prior to waking up. Who he is now is a complete 180 on who he was, so it’s difficult for every character (kids and adults) to reconcile with. It’s a precarious fine line Chase walks, which hooked me into the story.

I was as fascinated as I was conflicted by Chase’s story because 1) he has a second chance to be a better person than he was (a precious gift) and 2) at times I wondered if the amnesia was …too convenient? But I think Korman did a great job presenting varying, realistic reactions towards Chase. While I had misgivings and worried about how Chase would cope with this divided, contrary existence, I was rooting for Chase to do better and be better and be happy.

Restart has a lot of exceptional character development and I loved the varying points of view in each chapter. I think that was crucial to the conundrum the story presents because other characters’ thoughts and feelings would provide the reader with necessary insight and influence how the story ended. There were good times, bad times, sad times, and surprisingly funny times that all balanced well together. I also loved the relationships that formed and the satisfying conclusion to the story.

Restart was amazing, thought-provoking, entertaining, and enjoyable.

CW: bullying (see resources below)

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