Author: Gordon Korman
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Basic plot: A bully named Chase is given a second chance at life when he falls from the roof and wakes up with amnesia. He can’t remember a thing about his past shenanigans… which frustrates his former buddies. And worries his former victims.
1) Chase. I like how Chase has to navigate the old Chase with his feelings as the new Chase.
2) This bully story shows that bullies are complex beings. Many books treat them in a 2-dimensional way. At one point in the book, somebody conjectures whether or not the old “bully” Chase felt remorse over the piano incident. Since we only get to know the new Chase, it seems that maybe he did, in his secret heart of hearts.
3) I liked the fact that Chase does the wrong thing by sticking up for his old friends during the fire extinguisher incident. It shows that his transformation is not so pristine (and therefore it is more realistic). The old and new Chase are still the same Chase. It’s just that the new Chase has the chance to change some of his patterns of behavior. This incident created some real moments of conflict that moved the story along nicely.
4) I liked the Senior Citizen angle to the story. Cranky Mr. Solway was a great addition to the cast of characters. And I’m a sucker for anything that touches on recording oral history from people who lived in momentous times.
WHAT’S NOT COOL…
1) The mom is pretty much a non-entity. Chase lives with her, yet we get to know the dad and his new wife (Chase’s stepmom) better than we get to know his mother. I felt she was rather 2-dimensional.
2) Flip cameras?! I felt the video club was using technology from a bygone era. This is 2017. Do they even make flip cameras anymore when the kids probably have better cameras on their smartphones? (And yes, I know about video production, so this was a biggie for me!)
My rating is 3.5 Stars (out of 5) – I liked the book. It has the “Korman-touch”. I would compare it to some of his other books like: Pop, Ungifted, and Schooled. All these books have a character you can root for.