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Literature / Rewind (William Sleator)

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A Speculative Fiction novel written by William Sleator in 1999.

The protagonist, an eleven-year-old boy named Pete, is killed by a car after having a fight with his parents. A mysterious voice gives him the opportunity of going back in time any moment before his death so that he can prevent it. This is not as easy as it seems.

Not to be confused with the other book, Rewind (Terry England), which is about adults who have turned into children by aliens.


Rewind provides examples of:

  • Aesoptinum: Pete's ability to come back at any point in his life seems to mainly exist to teach him a lesson about being mature and assertive.
  • Dead to Begin With: The book opens on Pete's funeral.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Though it doesn't cover the same amount of time every time, the plot still largely resembles one.
  • Hearing Voices: Pete. Although the voice he hears is quite real, and is likely some sort of God, angel or Psychopomp. Pete himself is pretty certain that it's God.
  • Look Both Ways
  • Mental Time Travel: The reason Pete can't prevent himself from running on to the road when he has the fight with his parents. He's feeling everything just as strongly as the moment it first happened and his response becomes involuntary.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The only way Pete can keep himself from dying.
  • Space Whale Aesop: If you aren't on the best terms with your parents then you will end up dead and will be resurrected repeatedly until you can appreciate and relate with them.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Pete initially finds that he can't control his emotions and leaving the quarrel unresolved means that he ends up running out into the road no matter what. Even sabotaging the car that hits him only leads to another car hitting him, and when he does manage to stay on the sidewalk a truck swerves onto it and hits him anyway. It takes him a while to realise that the only way to avert his fate is to reconcile with his parents and not have the fight in the first place.