cover image You Only Live Once, David Bravo

You Only Live Once, David Bravo

Mark Oshiro. HarperCollins, $16.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-300815-1

In California, an 11-year-old given the chance for a redo makes mistakes over—and over—again in a joyful novel with a pick-your-path vibe. For David Bravo, a transracial adoptee of Latinx descent, the first week of middle school is riddled with mistakes and disappointments: he gets food poisoning from hot-lunch spinach, accidentally hurts his closest friend during cross-country, and is bullied about his adoption during a presentation on family heritage. The solution to his do-over desires shows up at his back door: a magical hairless hound, Fea, who communicates telepathically and can send him into the body of his past self. For David, it’s the perfect way to fix his relationship with his best friend; for Fea, it’s another step toward finishing her job as a “non-corporeal timeline guide.” As Fea and David endeavor to repair his timeline, it rapidly becomes apparent that fixing small mistakes is not what destiny has in store. Through turns both lighthearted and deeply moving, Oshiro (The Insiders) identifies how day-to-day choices (“Do I quickly make a decision before desks are occupied? Oh, absolutely not”) can have long-term effects in this novel of self-discovery that reminds readers: “The future is unwritten.... That’s always up to you.” Ages 8–12. Agent: DongWon Song, Howard Morhaim Literary. (Sept.)