Do-Over Review

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DO-OVER is a coming-of-age novel by Christine Hurley Deriso that deals with the insecurities and self-esteem problems that plague middle-school students. After Elsa Alden's mother dies suddenly, the 12-year-old's father decides that they should move to Harbin Springs and live with Elsa's grandmother. Elsa always enjoyed visiting there and is eager to escape from her problems with the Slice Girls clique at her current middle school. Unfortunately, Elsa learns that all middle schools are basically the same. They each have a popular crowd that's very hard to get into. Her first day of school is so awful, she wishes she could just do it over again.
Elsa gets her wish when her dead mother pays her a visit one evening. Her mom grants her the power to rewind time 10 seconds by using a special locket. Now she can undo all of those embarrassing moments, like spilling chocolate milk on her shirt or saying the wrong thing in front of the popular crowd. Her mother advises Elsa to stay true to herself, but that proves to be more difficult than she thought. Elsa uses her power to become friends with Darcy, Jade, Jen and Carter, the most popular girls at Harbin Springs Middle School. After a few weeks, though, Elsa isn't so sure these girls are really her pals. With friends like these, who needs enemies?
Elsa does meet one nice person at school, Martin King, who is popularity suicide for her. He's brainy and wears both glasses and braces. Three strikes and you're out! Although Martin is the first person who treats Elsa like a real friend, she decides that she can't risk her new reputation as a popular girl by hanging out with a boy like him. Now that she has the popularity she's always dreamed of, why doesn't her life seem perfect?
DO-OVER will appeal to both boys and girls in their middle school years. It is a tender, heartwarming novel with believable dialogue and realistic characters. Even though the plot is far-fetched, the author makes it seem believable.
--- Reviewed by Renee Kirchner (

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Imagine having the power to turn back time. Not 100 years—just 10 seconds. Enough to take back those embarrassing missteps and wrong answers.Elsa's mom died suddenly one year ago, but she appears one night to grant Elsa do-over power. Elsa thinks she dreamt it until she utters the words the next morning and watches her whole world rewind 10 seconds.Elsa needs the do-over power to become cool at her new school. It's fun taking people's answers and being a star student one day, and gossip queen the next. Even the ultra-popular Slice Girls want to be her friend now. Elsa can re-do anything until she gets it right. So why doesn't her new life feel so perfect?

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