You can retake your photos…but what if could redo moments in your life too? With one magical app, Zoe is able to do just that! A smart and funny twist on time travel from New York Times bestselling author Jen Calonita, for fans for Disney’s Zapped and The Swap.
Zoe knows that the only thing harder than middle school is losing a best friend. She and Laura used to do everything together from taking silly selfies, to joining all the same clubs together and even throwing surprise birthday parties for one another.
But lately things have been weird between them. Now Laura will post a photo of her hanging out with other girls before responding to Zoe’s simple text. She doesn’t even want to sit with her at lunch anymore. Zoe is heartbroken–all she wants is for things to go back to normal.
But then a magical app downloads on her phone…and things get even weirder! Suddenly Zoe can travel back in time to moments where her and Laura started drifting apart. It is like a dream come true. A chance for Zoe to mend their friendship.
But as Zoe goes back to moments of middle school drama–sleepover games gone wrong, field trips with cliques and crushes, and school projects that bring on more-than-awkward encounters–she realizes that second chances don’t always go as planned and that sometimes you need to trust the magic of new beginnings.
The Retake is a picture-perfect look at tween friendship, that also explores more serious themes of social media pressure, bullying and what it means to be yourself.
Title: The Retake
Author: Jen Calonita
Publication Date: February 23, 2021
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Middle Grade, Sci-Fi, Contemporary
This book was so great! I loved the sci-fi of the time-travel app, the relatable struggles of a middle-schooler, and the realities of friendship.
This book was wonderful for so many reasons, but one thing I loved the most was the honestness of it. Our main character, Zoe, walks us through a lot of her struggles throughout the book. Most of the things she goes through are things I remember experiencing and feeling as a middle-school aged kid. She talks of loss of friends, lack of relationship with her older sister, and finding out who she is and what she enjoys. As she goes through these many challenges in her life, she voices a lot of her internal struggles. It’s an honest and vulnerable book.
As well, in true Calonita fashion, this book was quite funny. There are some fun references to modern things we have, like all the social media we use, and that adds to this fun adventure.
It was also fun to see how things unfolded as Zoe tried to change the past and save everything she thought she still needed. As Zoe worked to change the past, we were able to see Zoe’s attempts end in many different ways. It wasn’t the same outcome each time, which was great, because that enabled us to see how Zoe reacted to things and helped her see how she actually wanted things to be in the end. As well, with each plan, we got to learn more about our main character and the other people in her life.
The ending was perfect to me. With each failed time travel attempt, it became increasingly clear things could only end the one way. It was a good lesson for the main character and the reader that sometimes the things we want aren’t always the things we need.
Overall, this was another great book by Jen Calonita! It contained many great lessons for kids and adults alike and was a fun, modern take on time travel.
To check out my other reviews, click here. Or to check out more books by Jen Calonita, go to her GoodReads profile or her website.
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