Restart - Summary

Gordon Korman

Restart Book Cover


In the captivating novel “Restart” by Gordon Korman, the author explores the theme of second chances through the story of Chase Ambrose, a middle school student who suffers from amnesia after a fall from a roof. This book summary will delve into the intriguing plot, highlighting key events, character development, and the underlying messages conveyed throughout the narrative. By incorporating examples and anecdotes from the book, we will gain a deeper understanding of the thought-provoking themes explored in “Restart.”

The Fall and Amnesia

The story begins with Chase Ambrose waking up in the hospital after a fall from the roof of his house. He has no recollection of who he is, his past, or the people around him. This incident leads to a unique opportunity for Chase to start over and redefine himself. Korman effectively portrays Chase’s confusion and vulnerability, allowing readers to empathize with his situation.

The Bully Turned Victim

One of the most significant aspects of “Restart” is the exploration of the bully-victim dynamic. Prior to his fall, Chase was the epitome of a bully, tormenting his classmates and making their lives miserable. However, his amnesia erases these memories, and he is left to face the consequences of his past actions. Korman masterfully portrays Chase’s transformation from a bully to a victim, as he experiences firsthand the pain and isolation he once inflicted on others.

Redemption and Forgiveness

Throughout the novel, Korman emphasizes the themes of redemption and forgiveness. As Chase begins to rebuild his life, he is faced with the challenge of making amends with those he has hurt. The author skillfully weaves in examples and anecdotes that showcase Chase’s growth and his efforts to seek forgiveness. Through these interactions, Korman highlights the importance of taking responsibility for one’s actions and the power of forgiveness in healing relationships.

The Power of Friendship

Another prominent theme in “Restart” is the power of friendship. As Chase navigates his new reality, he forms unexpected friendships with students he once bullied. These relationships play a pivotal role in his journey of self-discovery and personal growth. Korman demonstrates how genuine connections can transform individuals, fostering empathy, compassion, and understanding.

Uncovering the Truth

As Chase delves deeper into his past, he begins to uncover the truth about the person he used to be. Through encounters with former friends and acquaintances, he learns about his previous actions and the impact they had on others. Korman masterfully integrates these revelations into the narrative, creating suspense and keeping readers engaged.

Confronting the Past

In “Restart,” Chase is forced to confront his past and the person he used to be. The author skillfully depicts the internal struggle Chase faces as he grapples with his former identity. Korman utilizes anecdotes and examples to illustrate the challenges and emotional turmoil that arise from confronting one’s past mistakes.

Building Empathy and Understanding

Through Chase’s journey, Korman emphasizes the importance of empathy and understanding. As Chase begins to understand the pain he caused others, he develops a newfound empathy that drives him to make amends and become a better person. The author effectively conveys this message through powerful scenes and interactions, encouraging readers to reflect on their own actions and the impact they may have on others.

Overcoming Stereotypes

Korman challenges stereotypes throughout “Restart” by portraying characters who defy expectations. As Chase interacts with his classmates, he discovers that they are not defined solely by their labels or past experiences. The author uses anecdotes and examples to break down stereotypes, encouraging readers to see beyond surface-level judgments and embrace the complexities of individuals.

The Importance of Self-Reflection

Throughout the novel, Korman emphasizes the significance of self-reflection. As Chase grapples with his amnesia, he is given the opportunity to examine his own identity and values. Through introspection, he begins to question his past actions and the person he once was. Korman effectively conveys the message that self-reflection is essential for personal growth and transformation.

Embracing Second Chances

“Restart” ultimately highlights the power of second chances. Through Chase’s journey, Korman demonstrates that it is never too late to change, grow, and make amends. The author skillfully weaves examples and anecdotes to showcase the transformative potential of second chances, inspiring readers to embrace their own opportunities for growth and redemption.


In “Restart” by Gordon Korman, the theme of second chances is expertly explored through the story of Chase Ambrose. Through the use of examples and anecdotes, Korman creates a persuasive and engaging narrative that delves into the complexities of identity, redemption, and forgiveness. This book summary has provided a glimpse into the thought-provoking themes and captivating plot of “Restart,” leaving readers eager to embark on their own journey of self-discovery and personal growth.

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