The Retake

Delacorte. Dec. 2020. 272p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780593174142.
Gr 4-6–A charming tale for anyone who has ever wished they could turn back time. The first day of seventh grade does not go exactly how Zoe thought it would. While Zoe was touring civil war battlegrounds over summer break, her best friend Laura was moving on to boys, theater, and popular girls. Laura’s Instagram is now filled with photos of summer fun and first day of school preparations with her new friends. Zoe’s first day, on the other hand, is a nightmare. It’s a series of mishaps Zoe wishes she could undo, which includes forgetting her class schedule, having her phone taken by the principal, spilling her lunch in the cafeteria, and finding a stain on her white jeans. When her confiscated phone is returned to her by a mysterious secretary, she finds a new app installed on her phone. The app, “Retake,” turns out to be exactly what she needs—to retake the moments leading up to the end of her friendship with Laura and fix it. Calonita adds a pinch of magic as she writes about the relatable middle school experiences of friendship, growing up, and finding yourself. Readers will be immediately engaged by the character of Zoe and her experiences struggling through middle school while learning how to find her own happiness.
VERDICT A classic turn-back-time tale for the Instagram generation, readers won’t want to stop “scrolling” through the pages.

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