Categories
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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More by Gordon Korman

Ungifted

The Unteachables

Unplugged

Categories
Book Reviews

Book Review: Unplugged by Gordon Korman

Image via Goodreads

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

ABOUT: As the son of the world’s most famous tech billionaire, Jett Baranov has always gotten exactly what he wanted. So, when his father’s private jet drops him in the middle of Little Rock, Arkansas, at a wellness camp called the Oasis, Jett can’t believe it. He’s forced to hand over his cell phone, eat grainy veggie patties, and participate in wholesome activities with the other kids.

At the Oasis, he meets Grace, who is his polar opposite. She thrives in the wellness atmosphere and resents Jett’s terrible attitude. Then there’s Tyrell, who suffers from a dizzying list of food allergies that render him constantly itchy. And also Brooklynne, a girl who definitely seems to be hiding something.

As the weeks go on, Jett starts to get used to the unplugged life and even bonds with the other kids over their discovery of a baby lizard-turned-pet, Needles. But he can’t help noticing that the adults at the Oasis are acting really strange…

Jett is determined to get to the bottom of things, but can he convince the other kids that he is no longer just a spoiled brat making trouble?

 

My Review: Unplugged was a lot of fun and an enjoyable read. This page-turner had an interesting mystery and an unexpected antagonist, both of which absorbed my full attention.

I like that the story takes place in a camp-like setting. Oasis of Mind and Body Wellness is a health program that focuses on fostering healthy lifestyles and habits through meditation, nutrition, and exercise. There is also no technology allowed. It’s an alluring place to send a spoiled, rich, troublemaker like Jett Baranov, one of the main characters, to reinvent himself.

Unplugged is told through alternating POVs, mostly Jett, Grace, Tyrell, and Brooklynne’s. I enjoyed getting to know these characters who grew so much over the course of a wild adventure, each overcoming personal challenges. Jett’s behavior I think is in part from a lack of parental attention/nurturing, so for him bad attention is better than no attention all. Grace lives and breathes everything Oasis stands for and is a no-nonsense rule follower. Tyrell, unfortunately plagued by several allergies, wishes he was braver. And Brooklynne’s a mysterious loner who just wants to be like everyone else and make friends. All four are well-rounded and likable characters.

I love the adventure these kids suddenly find themselves on. I love Needles, a lizard, they end up secretly taking care of. Jett’s father is interesting as he’s a highly intelligent inventor and tech billionaire who’s inventions have revolutionized and connected the globe in a way that I can see happening in reality in the future. One thing I (personally) didn’t like was bugs frequently being brought up. I also couldn’t get over the fact that Tyrell, who seems to be allergic to everything at Oasis, keeps being forced to attend.

Unplugged was a great middle grade story. Korman is a fantastic storyteller who I whole-heartedly recommend. I can’t wait to read more of his work!


More by Gordon Korman

The Unteachables

Ungifted
Ungifted (#1)

Categories
Books of the Month

[March 2021] Book of the Month: The Unteachables by Gordon Korman

Image via Goodreads

Title: The Unteachables
Author: Gordon Korman
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Recommended?: Yes

Goodreads Summary: The Unteachables are a notorious class of misfits, delinquents, and academic train wrecks. Like Aldo, with anger management issues; Parker, who can’t read; Kiana, who doesn’t even belong in the class—or any class; and Elaine (rhymes with pain). The Unteachables have been removed from the student body and isolated in room 117.

Their teacher is Mr. Zachary Kermit, the most burned-out teacher in all of Greenwich. He was once a rising star, but his career was shattered by a cheating scandal that still haunts him. After years of phoning it in, he is finally one year away from early retirement. But the superintendent has his own plans to torpedo that idea—and it involves assigning Mr. Kermit to the Unteachables.

The Unteachables never thought they’d find a teacher who had a worse attitude than they did. And Mr. Kermit never thought he would actually care about teaching again. Over the course of a school year, though, room 117 will experience mayhem, destruction—and maybe even a shot at redemption.

Categories
Bookish Memes Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday – 11/18/20

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where you spotlight a highly anticipated book.


Happy Wednesday, Bookworms!

I’ve really enjoyed Gordon Korman’s books so far. He writes really great and well told middle grade novels. And the book I’m eagerly waiting on holds that same high appeal. 😊

Unplugged by Gordon Korman has an air of mystery that’s compelling. Unplugging – or taking a break from tech – to notice what’s happening in the world around us. I think the story holds a lot of appeal to a wide range of readers because of how much technology is apart of our daily lives and how healthy it is to regularly take a break from it.

Side note, how cool is the cover?! So cute and creative!

Unplugged is set to be released January 5, 2021 from Balzer + Bray.

Image via Goodreads

ABOUT: As the son of the world’s most famous tech billionaire, spoiled Jett Baranov has always gotten what he wanted. So when his father’s private jet drops him in the middle of a place called the Oasis, Jett can’t believe it. He’s forced to hand over his cell phone, eat grainy veggie patties, and participate in wholesome activities with the other kids whom he has absolutely no interest in hanging out with.

As the weeks go on, Jett starts to get used to the unplugged life and even bonds with the other kids over their discovery of a baby-lizard-turned-pet, Needles. But he can’t help noticing that the adults at the Oasis are acting really strange. Could it be all those suspicious “meditation” sessions?

Jett is determined to get to the bottom of things, but can he convince the other kids that he is no longer just a spoiled brat making trouble?


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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Categories
About Books Bookish Lists Spotlight

Mid-Year Look Back 2019: Favorite New Authors & Books (so far)

Favorite New Authors

 

Favorite Books Read

Categories
TBR Lists

TBR At A Glance – 6/4/19

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Currently Reading

  • Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova (Brooklyn Brujas, book 1)

 

Reading Next

  • Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

  • Angelbound by Christina Bauer (Angelbound Origins, book 1)

 

Recent Reviews

 

Reviews Coming Soon

  • June 5Adulthood Is A Myth & Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen (Sarah’s Scribbles, books 1  & 2)

  • June 11Squint by Chad Morris & Shelly Brown

  • June 12Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova (Brooklyn Brujas, book 1)

  • June 17Dragonslayer by Duncan M. Hamilton (Dragonslayer, book 1) (ARC review)

Categories
Book Reviews

Book Review: The Unteachables by Gordon Korman

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Middle Grade
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Summary (via Goodreads):
What happens when the worst class of kids in school is paired with the worst teacher?

The Unteachables are a notorious class of misfits, delinquents, and academic train wrecks. Like Aldo, with anger management issues; Parker, who can’t read; Kiana, who doesn’t even belong in the class—or any class; and Elaine (rhymes with pain). The Unteachables have been removed from the student body and isolated in room 117.

Their teacher is Mr. Zachary Kermit, the most burned-out teacher in all of Greenwich. He was once a rising star, but his career was shattered by a cheating scandal that still haunts him. After years of phoning it in, he is finally one year away from early retirement. But the superintendent has his own plans to torpedo that idea—and it involves assigning Mr. Kermit to the Unteachables.

The Unteachables never thought they’d find a teacher who had a worse attitude than they did. And Mr. Kermit never thought he would actually care about teaching again. Over the course of a school year, though, room 117 will experience mayhem, destruction—and maybe even a shot at redemption.

~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
The Unteachables is a modern day, middle school version of The Breakfast Club. It depicts a random group of kids that they school system has given up on, unteachable. However, it’s quickly revealed that not all methods work for the same kids. I found the story to be highly relatable from both the kids of room SCS – 8 and Mr. Kermit’s perspective.

Korman paints a funny, well-written story that is expertly told through multiple points of view. There aren’t too many principle characters and each voice is distinct and likable.

I enjoyed reading this book and got through it fairly quickly. There’s a lesson in it for all, especially through all the hilarious, memorable antics. Korman accurately depicts middle school life from the top to the bottom.

Categories
TBR Lists

TBR At A Glance – 5/21/19

***UPDATED 5/22/19***

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Currently Reading

  • Squint by Chad Morris & Shelly Brown

 

Reading Next

  • The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty

  • Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova (Brooklyn Brujas, book 1)

 

Recent Reviews

 

Reviews Coming Soon

  • MAY 23 – The Unteachables by Gordon Korman

  • MAY 24 – Wolfsong  by T. J. Klune (Green Creek, book 1)

  • MAY 27Avoiding Alpha by Aileen Erin (Alpha Girl, book 2)

  • MAY 28 – Alpha Divided by Aileen Erin (Alpha Girl, book 3)

  • MAY 29 – Counting Fence Posts by Kelly Jensen (Counting, book 1)

  • MAY 30 – Counting Down by Kelly Jensen (Counting, book 2)

  • MAY 31 – Counting On You by Kelly Jensen (Counting, book 3)

  • JUNE 5Adulthood Is A Myth & Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen (Sarah’s Scribbles, books 1  & 2)

Categories
TBR Lists

TBR At A Glance – 5/2/19

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Currently Reading

  • Dragonslayer by Duncan M. Hamilton (ARC)
  • Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller
  • Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen (Dark Shores, book 1) (ARC)

Reading Next

  • Squint by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown
  • The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty
  • The Unteachables by Gordon Korman
  • Avoiding Alpha by Aileen Erin (Alpha Girl, book 2)
  • Alpha Divided by Aileen Erin (Alpha Girl, book 3)
  • Wolfsong by T. J. Klune (Green Creek, book 1)

Recent Reviews

Reviews Coming Soon

  • TOMORROWAll For You by Dana Marie Bell (The Nephilim, book 1)
  • MAY 7 Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen (Dark Shores, book 1)
  • MAY 14Zane: The Wild One, Art by Eko Yumi, Original Novel by Bronwyn Jameson
  • MAY 16The Heir from Nowhere, Art by Yu Mahara, Original Novel by Trish Morey
Categories
Book Reviews

Book Review: Ungifted by Gordon Korman

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Middle Grade
Series: Ungifted, book 1
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Summary (via Goodreads):
The word gifted has never been applied to a kid like Donovan Curtis. It’s usually more like Don’t try this at home. So when the troublemaker pulls a major prank at his middle school, he thinks he’s finally gone too far. But thanks to a mix-up by one of the administrators, instead of getting in trouble, Donovan is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction (ASD), a special program for gifted and talented students.

It wasn’t exactly what Donovan had intended, but there couldn’t be a more perfect hideout for someone like him. That is, if he can manage to fool people whose IQs are above genius level. And that becomes harder and harder as the students and teachers of ASD grow to realize that Donovan may not be good at math or science (or just about anything). But after an ongoing experiment with a live human (sister), an unforgettably dramatic middle-school dance, and the most astonishing come-from-behind robot victory ever, Donovan shows that his gifts might be exactly what the ASD students never knew they needed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
I loved Ungifted. From a compelling plot to very likable characters to humorous writing, Ungifted is a reading must.

I was very intrigued by this story. Here you have a troublemaker kid, Donovan (love the name), who by mistakes ends up in a gifted program. While there he must fake what he is sorely not: a genius. As improbable of this happening in real life, I feel readers can relate to not only kids like Donovan but also to Chloe and the other children at ASD. They all feel like they don’t belong in some way and struggle (and later come to realize) to find a place to belong.

I really liked getting the kids at ASD Chloe, Noah, Abigail, Latrell, Jacey, Kevin, and their teacher, Mr. Osborne (aka Oz). I also loved that the team’s robot (see the cover) is called Tin Man Metallica Squarepants and how the name came to be.

This is just a really fun story. Everything comes full circle almost seamlessly. There’s the added tension and suspense in wondering if/when Donovan will get caught. Not to mention as a reader, you learn what makes you “gifted” in your own way.

I had a really great reading experience and would highly recommend it to everyone. I have a good feeling Gordon Korman is going to become one of my new favorite authors. I’m so glad I found this book.