I reach back for an image of mom and come up totally empty. Ditto dad, home, school, and friends, and I come back empty….I’m blank. I’m like a computer with it’s a hard drive wiped clean. You can reboot it and it’s operating system works fine. But when you look for a document file to open, nothing’s there. Not even my own name.
All I see are football players who push people out of the way and are supposed to be my friends. They eye each other like they don’t believe me. I don’t blame them for not believing me. I'm surrounded by all these people and I’m still alone.
"This is a rare opportunity to rebuild yourself from ground up. Don’t squander it. Millions would want a blank canvas." I’m struggling to find the person I was, and he wants me to change? What was wrong with the old me that now I have to be somebody else?
Meanwhile, his football buddies, Aaron and Bear (other POV characters), are loud and obnoxious and wonder why he'd rather hang out with the video kids than with them. Chase tags along when they go to a local nursing home for their community service. He finds out that he'd also been sentenced to service and discovers the awful prank the three of them pulled off. He befriends Mr. Solway, a Korean vet, who jokes that they are "memory loss buddies." This friendship proves pivotal in the book.
Aaron wonders, "Is the old Ambrose trapped in there and will come out and be normal?" Chase wonders the same thing. His new normal is being a stranger in a strange land. "I’m definitely famous at school, but am I famous good or famous bad? Everyone has a slightly different version of me. Who should I believe?"
As Chase searches for who he once was and who he is now, his father pushes him to become the champion football prayer he once was. Returning memories of feeling powerful and confidant on the football field layer in more conflict for Chase.
Korman's ability to delve deeply into Chase's POV makes this book an insightful look at bullying. In moments of awareness, Chase realizes that he and his friends bullied others to feel better about themselves, and that he’ll never be able to erase their memories of who he was before his concussion.
The last third of the book moves quickly through misunderstandings between characters, lies, complicated motivations, high stakes, and ultimately to Chase taking responsibility for his behavior before falling off the roof.
It's the mix of good and bad that makes my head spin....
The big question is what kind of person is Chase going to be now? He gave the medal back--that's a plus. But there are minuses too, like at school, when he lied to cover up for his old friends. I'm not saying that to make him look bad; I'm trying to give you a totally honest picture of Chase today. Thanks to falling off that roof, he's been given a chance to restart his whole life.
A Mini-Author Interview (via Twitter)
CAROL: The multiple POV works so well for this story. Why did you decide to use it?
Audio CD Giveaway
Bonus: Here is an audio snippet from Brendan's POV.