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Have you ever wanted to have a fresh start in your life? Erase your past and create a new future for yourself? In the book Restart by Gordan Korman, an eighth grader named Chase Ambrose is given the opportunity to restart his life after he accidentally falls off his roof. He wakes up in the hospital surrounded by unknown people staring at him with worry. The strangers were really his friends and family but he doesn't remember them. The doctor explains that the fall caused him to have amnesia which means he had lost his memory.

In the book, Chase has almost two minds: one from the past, and one from the present. His friends and family started by telling him everything good about his past. Then they strike him with examples of bad things he did before he fell off his roof. In his past, he was a popular athlete but he bullied unpopular kids at his school, was rude to teachers and was even sent to juvenile court for his destructive behavior. He is shocked to hear that he was this kind of person before because he doesn’t feel like he is that person anymore. Throughout the story, Chase struggles to figure out how to create a new life for himself. He is being pulled by his friends and his teammates who want the old athletic Chase back versus his family and everybody at his school who wants to keep the new nicer version.

Beyond the question of whether Chase would restart his life or would be pulled back to his old one, the book explores the idea of starting over. I can’t imagine not remembering any of my friends and family or anything I did in the past. I would not want to know if I had behaved poorly or if I hurt people. Before the accident, Chase’s number one priority was to be athletic and popular even if he had to be rude to everyone else. Even though people tell Chase about his life in the past, he still wants to be kinder as he is creating his new future. I recommend this book to all people because it is about more than just a random teenage boy who plays sports. What makes it unique is the way that it explores the question of who you are and if your mind is revealing your true self or if it is just someone being possessed by their own memories. That is a question that Chase has to figure out on his own in the inspiring story Restart.

Restart by Gordon Korman. Scholastic, 2020. Buy the book here and support Stone Soup in the process!

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