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Literature / Restart

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Restart is a 2017 juvenile novel by Gordon Korman.

Chase Ambrose falls off of a roof and wakes up in the hospital with amnesia. He soon learns that he is a middle schooler and a star athlete. He then slowly finds out more things about who he used to be. The chapters from Chase's point of view are interleaved with chapters narrated by other characters, including Shoshanna Weber, who remembers exactly who Chase used to be and doesn't like him at all after what Chase did to her twin brother, Bear and Aaron, Chase's best friends who want the Chase they knew back, and Brendan Espinoza, who is one of the first people to realize that Chase might not be who he used to be. Soon it no longer becomes a question of who Chase used to be but about who Chase is going to be.

No relation with the Brazilian band from 2000s.


This work provides examples of:

  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: Sums up Shoshanna's and Joel's initial reaction to Chase's accident. Considering some of the things he's done to Joel, its kind of justified.
  • All Crushes are Unrequited: Brendan, for Kimberly; Kimberly, for Chase.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Downplayed but Chase is rather shocked to discover he was a bully before his amnesia.
  • Amnesiacs are Innocent: Downplayed. Even though Chase has no memories and is given a fresh start he still feels like he has to properly make up for what he did as a bully.
  • The Atoner: Chase becomes this after his bout of amnesia but most of the student body doesn't believe it at first.
  • Big Brother Bully: Before the accident, Chase was this to his four year old half sister. One of the first memories he gets back is ripping her favorite teddy bears head off. Afterwards, he tries to be a Cool Big Bro instead.
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  • Brainless Beauty: Kimberly is a fairly pretty character, and also one of the shallower POV characters (although lacking the meanness required for Alpha Bitch territory).
  • Calling the Old Man Out: After Chase finds out about his bad rep at school and how he got sentenced to community service before he got his amnesia he calls his mom out for not preparing him for it. His mom tries to explain she was trying not to hurt Chase while he was recovering but Chase accuses her of trying to pretend his history as a bully didn't happen.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Not a sequel but Chase contrasts Wallace who was the protagonist in an earlier Gordan Korman Novel No More Dead Dogs. Both of them are Football players who helped with their school's championship game. However, Chase is the star football player of his town and a Jerk Jock school bully until his redemption whereas Wallace was a benchwarmer who only won the game by accident and is generally a Nice Guy but tends to get in trouble due to his Brutal Honesty. Also both of them get into school clubs besides Football but while Wallace had no choice but to get involved in Drama as it was part of a punishment Chase willing joins the Video Club after he gets invited when Brendan starts to realize Chase is a much better person post amnesia.
  • Cool Old Guy: Mr. Solway in Shoshanna and Chase's eyes.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Even though he has amnesia Chase still has to atone for what he's done and it's not easy but in the end, everyone has accepted his Heel–Face Turn to the point when he's arrested for stealing Mr Solway's Medal Of Honor he's given overwhelming support to the point the case is dropped and the story ends with Chase becoming a better person.
  • Easily Forgiven: To a certain extent. Brendan goes from afraid of Chase to inviting him to join the video club pretty easily, but it takes half the book before the Webers are willing to give him another chance.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: It's suggested that despite his bully reputation Chase and his mother were still close with Chase's mom convinced that even when Chase was a bully there was some good inside him.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Aaron and Bear can't understand why Chase would want to spend time with the "nerds" in the video club. They also seem completely baffled that Chase is so mad at them after they frame him for an attack on the music room.
  • Extreme Doormat: Dr. Fitzwallace. While he does offer some support to the victims of the bullying and subtly urge Chase to try and be a better person now that he has a clean slate, he lacks the courage to actively punish wrongdoers, especially when it comes down to a "my word vs. your word" conflict involving the jocks.
  • Faking Amnesia: Bear and Aaron become convinced that Chase is doing this as time goes on so he won't have to give them their cut of the profits from Mr Solway's Medal of Honor. It takes Chase admitting he doesn't remember stealing Mr Solway's medal for them to finally realize Chase's amnesia is for real.
  • Fake Memories: This happens to Chase at one point. Dreaming about the piano incident but he knows it wasn't his memory coming back because the kid at the piano wasn't Joel.
  • Falling into the Plot: It begins with the main character Chase falling off the roof of his house and getting amnesia.
  • Hollywood Midlife Crisis: It's implied Chase's dad is going through one given his second wife is said to be around his oldest son's age, he is clearly hung up on his glory days as a high school football champion and he buys a fancy sports car around the middle of the book.
  • I Hate Past Me: By the end, Chase really begins to hate the person he was pre amnesia for understandable reasons.
  • Identity Amnesia: The entire premise is based on this. Jerk Jock Chase falls off the roof and hits his head going into a coma. When he wakes up he's forgotten everything about his life.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: While doing mandated community service Chase becomes close to a Koren War Vet named Mr Solway. He's borderline Senile but he and Chase really bond with each other to the point where when Chase is put on trial for stealing his medal of honor pre amnesia Mr Solway sticks up for him and persuades the judge to get the case dropped.
  • Jerk Jock: Aaron and Bear, Chase's pre-accident best friends. Apparently, before the accident, Chase was the worst of them but he gets better. It's implied that Chase's father was this in high school as well.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Aaron and Bear seem rough around the edges and naughty but still with a soft center as they have several Pet the Dog moments with Chase and it does appear their friendship with him is genuine but the moment they reveal themselves as this is when in an attempt to get Chase away from his new friends they frame him for a bullying attack and when Chase tries to return Solway's Medal of Honor try to stop him because they still expect Chase to hold to his end of the deal to sell it and split the money.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Zigzagged. Aaron and Bear don't get directly punished at the end for their misbehavior throughout the book but the whole series of events exposed just how detestable they are, losing a lot of respect from their peers and have become the outcasts of the school.
    • Chase was one for many years(See Screw the Rules, I Have Connections! below) but near the end, he defies this trope. During his trial for stealing Mr. Solway's medal, he's given a chance to get off scot-free but given how often he would do anything he could to beat the rap before Chase decides doing so would prove he hasn't changed at all. Fortunately, Mr. Solway arrives to bail Chase out by speaking on his behalf.
  • Like a Son to Me: Shoshanna speculates that the reason Mr Solway likes Chase so much is because he's like the grandson he never had because he and his deceased wife never had kids.
  • Lovable Jock: Chase after his character development.
  • Lying to Protect Your Feelings: More like an omission but Chase's mother doesn't tell him about the fact he got in trouble with the law when he wakes up with amnesia and tries to hide his bad reputation from Chase initially to protect him.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In-Universe Chase considers him stealing Mr. Solway's medal of honor to be this for him. Fortunately, his new friends and Mr Solway himself are willing to forgive him.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: Chase (and certain others) being to realize his changed personality might be this. Even when he turns himself in for stealing Mr. Solway's Medal of Honor before the accident, Mr. Solway keeps Chase from being convicted in juvenile court by claiming to have loaned it to him, feeling that he is a different person and can make the most of that change.
  • Parental Favoritism: Mr. Ambrosa makes it clear he prefers Chase over his eldest son Johnny due to Chase's interest in sports.
  • Prank Gone Too Far: Before his accident during a talent show Chase, Aaron and Bear put Cherry Bombs in a piano Joel was playing. The bombs went off in the middle of his performance nearly giving Joel a heart attack and sending the crowd into a panic. This time the school didn't brush it under the rug and it led to the three being sentenced to community service.
  • Redemption Rejection: The Weber's understandable don't believe Chase's attitude change is genuine at first and it takes seeing he really has changed for them to warm up to him.
  • Reformed Bully: Chase.
  • Regained Memories Sequence: Happens to Chase a few times in the book as he slowly but surely regains bits and pieces of his memory.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Part of the reason Chase in the backstory was so awful to Joel is that he could get away with it, since he was the town sports hero and the son of the previous town sports hero. It wasn't until his bad behavior resulted in school property being damaged that he was finally thrown the book. Fellow athletes Aaron and Bear also successfully use this, as Dr. Fitzwallace wants very badly to believe their version of the fire extinguisher incident.
  • Social Media Before Reason: Turns out this is the reason the entire plot happened at all. Chase was hiding the Medal of Honor he stole from Solway on his roof and after he finished he saw his overweight neighbor doing some yoga through the neighbor's sunroof. Chase found the image so funny he decided to take a photo of it...while still climbing down from the roof. He lost his grip and fell off hitting his head causing his amnesia.
  • Sports Dad: Chase's father.
  • Used To Bea Sweet Kid: It's implied by his mother that Chase wasn't always the bully he was pre-amnesia and In-Universe Chase wonders if Aaron and Bear were this and if he was a Toxic Friend Influence toward them.
  • Villainous Friendship: The closest thing to a virtue that Aaron, Bear, and pre-amnesia Chase have is a strong sense of respect and loyalty for each other, even during times of adversity. It falls apart after Bear and Aaron frame Chase for wrecking the music room and hurting Joel again leading to Chase being an outcast.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back!: Aaron and Bear try to invoke this; they do succeed in convincing the video club that Chase hasn't changed...until Brendan finds the video of the fire extinguisher incident.
  • Women Prefer Strong Men: Kimberly, for Chase. Until the end where she gets a crush on Brendan