Review Detail

 
Restart Featured
Young Adult Fiction
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0

Personality Do-Over

Middle grade mystery with an amnesic twist—a friendship-centric tale of lost-and-found.

Readers are introduced to a cruel boy who sustains brain trauma and loses his memory; a bitter girl who’s missing her twin brother after he was run out of town; and a sassy old veteran with a misplaced Medal of Honor. Chase Ambrose isn’t far into recovery when he realizes his former self was at the center of a lot of things he can’t remember, and frankly, isn’t sure he wants to know. But facing who and what he used to be may be the only way to rebuild his life into something his new self can be proud of.

The book alternates between a wide range of first-person present-tense POVs. Readers are given the distinct perspective of nearly every middle school character mentioned in the story at some point (the adult characters are excluded, but this feels in keeping with the needs of the target audience.) On the upside, this gave lots of breathing room between less interesting viewpoints along with a wider range of empathy potential. (i.e. Brandan Espinoza is a huge highlight and welcome bit of comedy relief.) On the downside, some characters seemed underrepresented, and less multi-dimensional. (i.e. Kimberly Tooley comes off as little more than a shallow, lovesick airhead.)

It was nice to see that losing his personal memories didn’t completely alter everything about Chase. He quickly discovers he’s retained his knowledge of football, and an innate love for its physical and competitive aspects. He may not remember being a star player, but he understands why his former self enjoyed the game.

My biggest complaint would have to be concerning Chase’s father. From the very beginning, it’s easy to see how the man’s narrow-minded selfishness must have a lot to do with why Chase was such a conscience-free terror before his head injury. He is volatile, entitled, pompous, and has no regard for even his own son’s health. But while his noxious behavior is consistent nearly until the end, there’s curiously little reflection on Chase’s part over how much his dad’s dysfunction must have influenced his former self. And close to the conclusion of the story, there’s a sudden attempt to salvage his father into something redeemable—which felt entirely too forced. I sincerely wish there’d been more organic development in that regard.

Ultimately though, this reader sees plenty of value in this tale of bullying, understanding, loyalty, and redemption. And with no objectionable words or material, I’d be comfortable recommending it for kids as young as 9.

Was this review helpful to you? 

Comments

 
 
Ordering 
 
Already have an account? or Create an account
 
 
 
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Dungeons & Dragons: Into the Jungle: An Endless Quest Book
Welcome to the Forgotten Realms Endless Quest books, where you...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Dungeons & Dragons: Big Trouble: An Endless Quest Book
Welcome to the Forgotten Realms Endless Quest books, where you...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Clink A Story of Cyberbullying
Click is the heroic story of a young girl who...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Stay Sweet
Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
On Blood Road (A Vietnam War Novel)
The last place on earth Taylor Sorenson wants to be...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Courageous
Aiden is the son of a fisherman on the south...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A Thousand Sisters: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II
In the early years of World War II, Josef Stalin...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler
Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party is gaining strength and becoming more...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
New Kid
Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Watch Hollow
Deep within the enchanted woods in the town of Watch...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Giant Days
Based on the hit graphic-novel series from BOOM! Studios, the...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Unteachables
The Unteachables are a notorious class of misfits, delinquents, and...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Tales from the Inner City
Tales from the Inner City is a collection of incredibly...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Gamer Army
After Rogan Webber levels up yet again on his favorite...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Eventown
The world tilted for Elodee this year, and now it’s...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Right as Rain
It’s been almost a year since Rain’s brother Guthrie died,...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Lord Garmadon, Evil Dad (The LEGO Ninjago Movie: Storybook)
 
3.0
"Ideal for beginning readers and avid young fans of the LEGO Ninjago Movie. Lord Gamadon is about as..."