Jake, Reinvented by Gordon Korman
Have you ever wanted a do-over: the chance to remake yourself into the person you’ve always wanted to be? Have you ever wanted to impress someone
so badly, you’d do anything? New guy Jake is suddenly the most popular kid at F. Scott Fitzgerald High. It’s only September and already his parties are the place to be on Friday nights. Jake drives a BMW, dresses like he walked out of a J. Crew ad, and has the reputation of being the best long snapper the football team has ever seen; everyone wants to be with him or be him. But all Jake wants is Didi, girlfriend to ruling quarterback, Todd. Jake has a history with Didi, one he’s trying to both resurrect and change and it isn’t long before he’s on a collision course with Todd, with devastating results.
Jake, Reinvented by Gordon Korman is a riff on The Great Gatsby and deals with similar themes of belonging, unrequited love, and reinvention of self. The story is told from the point of view of kicker and second-string quarterback—and moral compass—Rick.
Korman has published over 60 children’s and young adult novels. Jake, Reinvented, is written in a straightforward, uncluttered style aimed at young male readers. As the book was published in 2003, some may struggle with the fact that there is no mention of cellphones, text messages or computers anywhere, a reality for today’s teens. Additionally, some of the dialogue doesn’t ring quite true: Jake’s use of the word “baby” when addressing his buddies, feels awkward. Issues such as plagiarism, drinking, and sex are acknowledged yet presented in a low-key manner thereby avoiding a “preachy” feel. However, the inclusion of such topics does offer the possibility for healthy debate both in the classroom or at home.
Recommended with reservations.
VOYA review code: 3P.
Category: Contemporary realistic fiction
2003, Scholastic Canada Ltd., 213p., $22.99 Ages 13-and up.