You Only Live Once, David Bravo

by Mark Oshiro (Author)

You Only Live Once, David Bravo
Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade

From Mark Oshiro, award-winning author of The Insiders, this time-bending adventure is perfect for fans of Sal and Gabi Break the Universe and When You Reach Me.

Middle school is the worst, especially for David Bravo. He doesn't have a single class with his best (okay, only) friend, Antoine. He has to give a class presentation about his heritage, but he's not sure how--or even if--he wants to explain to his new classmates that he's adopted. After he injures Antoine in an accident at cross-country practice, he just wishes he could do it all over. He doesn't expect his wish to summon a talking, shapeshifting, annoying dog, Fea, who claims that a choice in David's past actually did put him on the wrong timeline... and she can take him back to fix it. But when their first try (and the second, and the third) is a total disaster, David and Fea are left scrambling through timeline after timeline--on a quest that may lead them to answers in the most unexpected places.

Coco meets Sliding Doors in this laugh-out-loud, heartwarming middle grade novel that explores how our choices make us who we are.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review
This funny, brave, charming novel is packed full of delights.


A fresh, strong workout for the well-used Groundhog Day premise.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

In California, an 11-year-old given the chance for a redo makes mistakes over--and over--again in a joyful novel with a pick-your-path vibe. For David Bravo, a transracial adoptee of Latinx descent, the first week of middle school is riddled with mistakes and disappointments: he gets food poisoning from hot-lunch spinach, accidentally hurts his closest friend during cross-country, and is bullied about his adoption during a presentation on family heritage. The solution to his do-over desires shows up at his back door: a magical hairless hound, Fea, who communicates telepathically and can send him into the body of his past self. For David, it's the perfect way to fix his relationship with his best friend; for Fea, it's another step toward finishing her job as a "non-corporeal timeline guide." As Fea and David endeavor to repair his timeline, it rapidly becomes apparent that fixing small mistakes is not what destiny has in store. Through turns both lighthearted and deeply moving, Oshiro (The Insiders) identifies how day-to-day choices ("Do I quickly make a decision before desks are occupied? Oh, absolutely not") can have long-term effects in this novel of self-discovery that reminds readers: "The future is unwritten.... That's always up to you." Ages 8-12. Agent: DongWon Song, Howard Morhaim Literary. (Sept.)

Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"A beautiful story of friendship, love, family and finding yourself that made me laugh and cry from start to finish. This book will make you wish that you, too, had a witty xoloitzcuintli to take you on the greatest adventure of your life." — Maulik Pancholy, Stonewall Honor-winning author of The Best At It

"So funny, the pages practically turn themselves. This time-bendy, big-hearted story asks all the important questions middle-schoolers have about identity, culture, orientation, and managing anxiety, and addresses them with equal parts kindness, heft, and hilarity." — Carlos Hernandez, author of Sal & Gabi Break the Universe

Praise for The Insiders: "Sometimes hilarious, sometimes devastating, but always full of heart, The Insiders carves out a space for us all to be our true selves." — Kwame Mbalia, New York Times bestselling author of Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

"The story about finding your place and your people that I wish I'd had as a kid. Héctor has my whole heart and I want to hug him and keep him close, but he belongs out in the world where he can inspire readers to honor themselves. — New York Times bestselling author Adam Silvera

"A classic in the making." — Dhonielle Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Belles

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
September 20, 2022
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV019000 - Juvenile Fiction | Humorous Stories
JUV037000 - Juvenile Fiction | Fantasy & Magic
JUV039230 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Bullying
JUV064000 - Juvenile Fiction | Time Travel
JUV060000 - Juvenile Fiction | LGBT
Library of Congress categories

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