Operation Do-Over

by Gordon Korman (Author)

Operation Do-Over
Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade

Mason and Ty were once the very best of friends, like two nerdy sides of the same coin . . . until seventh grade, when Ava Petrakis came along. Now Mason can trace everything bad in his life to that terrible fight they had over the new girl. The one thing he'd give anything for is a do-over. But that can't happen in real life--can it?

As a science kid, Mason knows do-overs are impossible, so he can't believe it when he wakes up from a freak accident and finds himself magically transported back to seventh grade. His parents aren't yet divorced and his beloved sheepdog is still alive. Best of all, he and Ty haven't had their falling-out yet. It makes no logical sense, but Mason is determined to use this second chance to not only save his friendship (and his dog!) but do other things differently--like trying out for the football team and giving new friends a chance. There's just one person he'll be avoiding at all costs: Ava. But despite his best efforts, will he be able to stop the chain of events that made his previous life implode?

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Kirkus Reviews

A satisfying story—right up until readers are left wanting more. 

Publishers Weekly

Korman (Unplugged) brings smart plotting to an absorbing time travel narrative that examines the long-term impact of actions. Mason Rolle has shared a "two-brain hive mind" with Tyrus Ehrlich since elementary school, initially bonding over a sports phobia and deep love of science and time travel. When new girl Ava Petrakis arrives from New York City and both boys develop crushes, the friends agree to a "non-Ava treaty" to maintain their friendship. But a time jump five years into the future reveals a terrible falling-out between them when Mason and Ava are caughkissing in a photo. Narration alternates between Mason at ages 12 and 17, until an incident sends 17-year-old Mason back to his 12-year-old body and life. Given this opportunity for a do-over, he seeks to right wrongs as well as try new things, leading to a climax in which both he and readers see what, if anything, has changed. Full of warmth and middle grade humor, the novel centers, among other protagonists who read as white, sympathetically flawed Mason, whose chatty narrative proves engaging at both ages, and whose desire to do right by his friend is inspiring. Ages 8-12. Agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. (Jan.)

Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Balzer & Bray/Harperteen
Publication date
January 20, 2022
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV019000 - Juvenile Fiction | Humorous Stories
JUV002070 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Dogs
JUV035000 - Juvenile Fiction | School & Education
JUV013020 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | Marriage & Divorce
JUV064000 - Juvenile Fiction | Time Travel
Library of Congress categories

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