3 out of 4 stars
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Who wants a rewind?
I think a lot of us would answer that question with a loud and enthusiastic, YES! There’s at least one bad decision, wrong turn, embarrassing gaffe, poor choice, or awful accident in each and every one of our lives that we’d like the chance to do over. In Neil Milton’s Who Wants a Rewind? That exact question is offered up in the first chapter of the book to the main character, and the reader gets to follow along as she recalls the exact moment where she’d like the rewind button to be pushed.
Lauren and Michelle are long-time pals just out of high school. Michelle is the kind of girl most of us know – stable family, parents who care about her, works hard in school, a good friend. Conversely, Lauren is the girl all the others are warned about. Her family isn’t too stable, with her dad’s live-in girlfriend doing the lion’s share of the actual parenting. She’s chummy with the local drug dealer, as well as his favorite customer, and her sense of right and wrong is heavily skewed. Despite these obvious differences, the girls genuinely care for each other and want the best for one another.
Their night out starts out like many do – a group of friends dancing together at the local nightclub. But that’s where the good times end. Lauren wants Michelle to relax and have fun, more than she usually does, so she takes it upon herself to slip Michelle some drugs, unbeknownst to her friend. Michelle’s reaction is predictably extreme – she hasn’t been a regular user like Lauren and trips out more than her friend thought she would. Actually, that’s giving Lauren too much credit. The more we learn about Lauren, the more we learn that thinking things through is not her standard operating procedure.
Author Neil Milton does an excellent job creating a cautionary tale of how bad choices, whether they be habitual or a one-time event, can have far-reaching consequences. He’s clearly passionate about this theme and it’s repeated throughout the story. Some of Milton’s writing can be a bit tough to follow, and some of the characters lacked depth and development.
Who Wants a Rewind? could easily be classified a YA fiction, but like a lot of YA, the appeal is certainly wider than just teens. Much of this story takes place in 1997, the year I graduated from high school, so I easily related to the main characters. But now, nearly twenty years later, I am a mom of two daughters and I cringe when I think of them in Michelle or Lauren’s positions. I think parents and teens could both enjoy this story together, and perhaps share some open and honest conversations about goals, priorities, and ultimately, how life doesn’t really give us a rewind.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I did have a hard time following some of the plot, but Milton's passion for the subject matter was evident, and his characters were immensely relatable.
Who Wants a Rewind?
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