cover image Operation Do-Over

Operation Do-Over

Gordon Korman. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-303274-3

Korman (Unplugged) brings smart plotting to an absorbing time travel narrative that examines the long-term impact of actions. Mason Rolle has shared a “two-brain hive mind” with Tyrus Ehrlich since elementary school, initially bonding over a sports phobia and deep love of science and time travel. When new girl Ava Petrakis arrives from New York City and both boys develop crushes, the friends agree to a “non-Ava treaty” to maintain their friendship. But a time jump five years into the future reveals a terrible falling-out between them when Mason and Ava are caughkissing in a photo. Narration alternates between Mason at ages 12 and 17, until an incident sends 17-year-old Mason back to his 12-year-old body and life. Given this opportunity for a do-over, he seeks to right wrongs as well as try new things, leading to a climax in which both he and readers see what, if anything, has changed. Full of warmth and middle grade humor, the novel centers, among other protagonists who read as white, sympathetically flawed Mason, whose chatty narrative proves engaging at both ages, and whose desire to do right by his friend is inspiring. Ages 8–12. Agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. (Jan.)