Thank you to the Redditor I’ve already forgotten for turning me onto Gordon Korman books; I hadn’t heard of him before someone posted about their crush’s shared love of his stuff. For whatever reason (price, it was price. I can’t resist something if it’s inexpensive enough) I was curious enough to buy this to see what the fuss was about, and was pleasantly surprised by how charming his writing is. So often young adult condescends to its readers, but Korman writes well realized characters with believable motivation.
Restart follows Chase Ambrose as he wakes up from a coma brought about by a fall off of his roof, remembering nothing of his life until that point. The reader gets a jump on Chase learning what his former self was like, with multiple point-of-view characters reacting to Chase’s injury and recovery. His football buddies miss the “old” Chase, and are shocked when he befriends a/v club nerds, including, reluctantly, the sister of one of his biggest bullying victims.
It’s not exactly a novel premise, but Korman works wonders with it (for example, not completely demonizing sports – Chase likes football even after his injury) and resists the easiest ways to extricate his protagonist from complications. When charged with an actual crime, even with the whole town rallying to vouch for his character, a judge would still not overlook that a crime was committed – Korman doesn’t evade that reality. He also doesn’t make Old Chase a complete mystery in the face of New Chase – New Chase equivocates, enjoys feeling powerful, and buys into his father’s bravado at times.
Here’s the point in a review where I’d usually say “I’m going to have to read more Korman” but thanks to Drunk Octothorp’s Amazon-ing, the next one’s already at my house. Thanks, Drunk Octothorp!