Author: Gordon Korman
256 Pages–Ages 8-12
Chase’s memory just went out the window.
Chase doesn’t remember falling off the roof. He doesn’t remember hitting his head. He doesn’t, in fact, remember anything. He wakes up in a hospital room and suddenly has to learn his whole life all over again . . . starting with his own name.
He knows he’s Chase. But who is Chase? When he gets back to school, he sees that different kids have very different reactions to his return.
Some kids treat him like a hero. Some kids are clearly afraid of him.
One girl in particular is so angry with him that she pours her frozen yogurt on his head the first chance she gets.
Pretty soon, it’s not only a question of who Chase is–it’s a question of who he was . . . and who he’s going to be.
It’s a Gordon Korman book, what more is there to say? After reading the Masterminds trilogy, I’m willing to read anything that has Gordon Korman’s name on it.
This definitely isn’t my favorite Gordon Korman book, but I did really like it. This book is told in multiple perspectives, which seems to be a new popular storytelling method. It is nice to see the different perspectives of characters, instead of just guessing what they are feeling. Although I can’t say this is a terribly original idea, I think it’s one that is interesting to explore because there are so many different directions it can go. The direction Gordon Korman decided to go with was fun and actually quite thought provoking.
I do think there was sort of a disconnect between Chase being a bully and then Chase not wanting to be a bully. It’s heavily implied that Chase’s father played a large role in the previous Chase being a bully, but it still felt a little weird that Chase didn’t relapse into his old habits. Though, I will say I liked the tension between Chase and the video club members, especially him and Shoshanna.
Speaking of, I commend those video club members for not holding too much of a grudge against Chase, or at least for being able to get over the past. Especially Brendan Espinoza, who was able to take the first step in giving Chase a second chance. Eventually even the girl who hates him with the fire of a thousand suns, Shoshanna, decides to judge Chase based on the person he’s become instead of the person who he used to be. These types of feelings are well beyond even some full grown adults, and it’s definitely a lesson children should learn. As is the famous quote, “To err is human, to forgive divine,” which describes this book perfectly. Not only does everyone have to forgive Chase, but he has to learn to forgive himself when he figures out what kind of person he was.
Overall, this book is definitely worth a read, not only for Gordon Korman fans, but for most middle graders. The characters feel like geniune kids, maybe with the exception of the Brendan and Kimberley romance, and the situations feel very middle school-ish which makes the book easy to read.