Restart

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Restart (ebook)

by Gordon Korman

AR Level 5.1, 9 points

 

Imagine coming out of a coma and learning you were the most hated, feared, and worshipped person at school.  Chase Ambrose fell off a roof, and when he woke up, he’s horrified to learn that he, the star quarterback, used to beat people up, break the law, steal, tease, and it got so bad, one kid even moved to a boarding school.  Chase, who had a serious head injury, now wants to change his life.  He enjoys spending time with the elderly in a retirement home, and makes friends with an old war hero.  He joins the video club, despite his former friends making fun of him and his new friends.  Chase is put into several situations that prove while he has changed, he is still not perfect.  He is, however, taking advantage of his second chance, as though he has gotten a “restart” in life.

What I liked about this book was that it was told from multiple perspectives, but it didn’t repeat the same situations.  For example, if something happened through Chase’s perspective, the story picked up from someone else’s POV after that situation.  There was no overlap in narration.  I, as an adult, felt for Chase’s character, so I’m sure that students will also be able to relate to either being bullied or the remorse of being the bully themselves.  I think it has a good message.

What I didn’t like about this book was that his friends didn’t get what was coming to them.  It bothered me that his friends were so awful, yet Chase kept his mouth shut and didn’t let them get what was coming to them.  It was kind of hard to believe that 13 year olds could be that evil without getting themselves into more trouble that they did.  Surely kids with that kind of record get caught.  That may be my thinking as a teacher and an adult.  I’m sure it’s more believable to child readers.

Book 16 of summer 2017!

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Fenway and Hattie

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Fenway and Hattie (paperback)

by Victoria J. Coe

AR Level 3.6, 4 points

 

Fenway and Hattie is about a little girl and her dog.  Only, the little girl, Hattie, is growing up, and the dog, Fenway, doesn’t understand, and feels that he’s losing her.  Fenway is a Jack Russell Terrier, which is a very intelligent and energetic breed.  They move to a home with a huge back yard (“dog park”) and Fenway is faced with his nemeses… the awful squirrels.  Hattie meets Angel, a girl next door who plays baseball, and they start playing together.  It is clear to everyone but Fenway that Fenway is in desperate need of some training, and everyone’s frustration stems from lack of understanding.  Did I mention the entire story is told from the point of view of Fenway?  That is what makes this book; it’s (only) saving grace!

What I liked about this book is that it will get the attention of my lower readers.  It is only a 3.6, and it is a cute story.  I really like that the POV is that of a dog, because we often wonder what our pets (and babies) are really thinking.  It doesn’t have a lot of higher level vocabulary, but readers are forced to make inferences and draw conclusions left and right due to the fact that a dog narrator doesn’t understand what is going on, but we as humans do!

What I didn’t like about this book is that I wanted to like it, but couldn’t really get into it.  I got frustrated with Fenway, because he was being annoying.  I didn’t blame Hattie for putting him in his own room and putting up the gate.  I cans ay that as a grown up pet-owner, but I’m sure most people would see this as a cute, heart-warming story of a girl and her dog.

Book 41 of 40 (40 Book Challenge)