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15 February 2021 OPERATION DO-OVER by Gordon Korman, HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, January 2022, 304p., ISBN: 978-0-06-303274-3


“If I had ever been here before

I would probably know just what to do

Don’t you?

If I had ever been here before

On another time around the wheel

I would probably know just how to deal

With all of you”

– David Crosby, “Déjà Vu” (1970)


Have you ever wished you could pull a Tyrone Davis, and Turn Back the Hands of Time? That’s what somehow accidentally happens to Mason Rolle.


“‘It was five years ago, Mason,’ she pleads. ‘Don’t you think it’s time for both of you to put it behind you? You were children back then. You’ll be going to college soon. You were such wonderful, close friends. How can you throw all that away?’

I stare at her, my face hardening to stone. She’s a hundred percent right. Ty and I were close. That’s the whole problem. The two of us had been best friends ever since Gymboree. No–the word friends doesn’t come close to describing what we had. We were synched, like two devices on the same identity. Each of our families understood that it had adopted an extra son.

Until Ava came.

It wasn’t her fault. That’s the one thing Ty and I still agree on. And when Ava realized what had happened because of her, she was totally devastated. Even now, five years later, she walks on eggshells around us for fear of doing any more damage.”


It is uncanny how Mason Rolle and Ty Ehrlich share the same interests and frequently blurt out the same thoughts in unison. How they are utterly inseparable. That is, until seventh grade, when Ava Petrakis moves to town.


Ava is attractive, super-nice, and instantly popular. What’s more, she’s on the same level of brainy geekdom as the two lifelong friends. She ignores the overtures from the popular kids, preferring to hang with Mason and Ty.


Unfortunately, Ava's arrival eventually and inadvertently causes the boys’ longtime friendship to end. Now, five years after her arrival, the boys, who are now 17 years old, are sworn enemies.


Ty and Mason share a lifelong obsession with time travel. So Mason, who narrates OPERATION DO-OVER, has a head start on evaluating the situation when he awakens to find that he has somehow traveled back in time. Instead of being in his senior year of high school, he finds that he is again in seventh grade. 


How and why has he time traveled? Is he doomed to repeat those entire five years all over again? Will everything that took place the first time around repeat itself, or can he prevent the bad stuff from happening again? And if he can fix the things that happened the first time around, will there be unintended consequences?


Shades of Marty McFly! OPERATION DO-OVER is a fun and fascinating blast of contemporary fiction melded with sci-fi. It’s totally appropriate for both elementary and middle school collections, and it will undoubtedly inspire some young readers to participate in their local science fairs.


“We have all been here before…We have all been here before…”


Richie Partington, MLIS

Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com






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