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!