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!

Ramona Blue

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Ramona Blue (audiobook)

by Julie Murphy

 

Ramona is a high school senior in Eulogy, Mississippi, a small town on the gulf that was impacted by Katrina.  In fact, Ramona, her sister, and dad live in an old FEMA trailer in a trailer park.  They are very poor, and Ramona feels the financial burden when her older sister gets pregnant.  Ramona has always identified as lesbian, but she questions this when she falls for her best friend, who is a boy.  She and Freddy recently broke up with their girl friends and have rekindled their childhood friendship.  With a baby on the way, Ramona holds several jobs and thinks little of her own needs.  This story describes Ramona’s journey and all that she comes to terms with, whether it is her future outside of Eulogy, her sexual identity, her feelings for her family, or her long blue hair.

What I liked about this book was that Ramona is a character you feel compassion for.  You want the best for her, and you want others to treat her right.  Actually, most of the characters are well-written, and you feel like these are your friends.  I like books that appeal to my emotions.  I also appreciate books that make me think about things I cannot relate to so I can put myself into someone else’s shoes, and this definitely made me think.

What I didn’t like about this book was that I wanted to know more about Ramona’s future.  I guess there wasn’t really anything I disliked.  It was engaging and kept me reading.

Book 3 of summer 2017!