You Only Live Once, David Bravo by Mark Oshiro

Published by HarperCollins

Summary:  Middle school is off to a rough start for David. On one particularly bad day he messes up a presentation on his family heritage (he’s adopted), gets food poisoning before a big cross-country race, and causes an accident that injures his best friend, Antoine, ruining Antoine’s dreams of making the varsity cross-country team.  When he wishes for a do-over, he gets a visit from a wisecracking time-traveling dog.  Fea, as David nicknames her, is on a mission to help him straighten out his life. Reliving the most recent day doesn’t take care of it, so David has to travel deeper into his past. Fea also helps him acknowledge the romantic feelings he has for Antoine by sharing her regrets from her own life. It turns out she was once a human who loved a girl in high school but never had the courage to tell her.  The forays into the past start to reveal interesting clues about David’s birth and adoption, and everything comes together with a few surprising plot twists.  384 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  Although this story addresses the serious topics of being yourself and living life without regrets, it is also a ton of fun with a narrator who has a great self-deprecating sense of humor and a plot that adeptly handles the intricacies of time travel.  Betsy Bird has this on the fall edition of her Newbery predictions list.  We shall see in just a few short months.

Cons:  The plot twists at the end required some suspension of disbelief.

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