My reading has changed over this last year. For some reason (?) I have been having trouble finding and sticking with a good read. Do you have the same problem? Many of my friends seem to be in the same reading slump, even author friends. The solution? Re-reading some favorite authors has pulled me out of my reading slump.
Have you read Gordon Korman’s middle grade realistic fiction? His themes and dialogues are relatable and authentic. Not being a young male, I am surprised and delighted to understand his male characters. He brings his readers into the heads of characters, both male and female.
This weekend I re-read RESTART. Many authors have written plots about bullies. They attempt to show why the bully is angry and picks on weaker characters. We try to understand why these young people are antagonizing other students physically and psychologically. Korman twists his plot in RESTART showing the reader how the bully can be just like the victims without having been bullied himself.
Chase Ambrose, the main character in this contemporary novel, wakes up in a hospital from a coma caused by a fall off his roof. His life at home and school is an awakening to amnesia and the life he used to have. This bully does not know why people at his school keep a wide berth from him; in fact, they seem afraid of him. He doesn’t remember terrorizing other young people at school and even his young stepsister. Two of his football teammates want him to continue pranking others and he is clueless about his role in their previous incidents.
Can characters (and bullies) change? Gordon Korman expertly introduces conflicts for Chase to handle at Hiawassee Middle School. This author brings us into the point of view of other characters who despise Chase for his former behavior.
Read this realistic story to see if you think bullies can change. Gordon Korman’s books always surprise me with his twists that reveal the humanity of ‘tweens. I wish I could write middle grade realism as Korman does with humor and authenticity. I recommend this re-read and other titles such as Ungifted, Supergifted, and The Unteachables.
I am posting this blog post on Greg Pattridge’s blog Always in the Middle on MMGM where you can read other reviews of some great titles for young readers.
Happy Reading in August!