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Publisher's Summary

“A book about a time-traveling app? I’m in! Jen Calonita strikes again with a coming-of-age middle grade full of wit and a little bit of magic.“ (Sarah Mlynowski, New York Times best-selling author of the Whatever After and Upside Down Magic series)

"A brilliant friendship story that champions kindness, resilience and the courage to challenge long held expectations - both of others and of yourself." (Lauren Myracle, co-author of the New York Times best-selling Upside-Down Magic series)

You can retake your photos...but what if could redo moments in your life too? With one magical app, Zoe is able to do just that! A smart and funny twist on time travel from New York Times best-selling author Jen Calonita, for fans for Disney's Zapped and The Swap

Zoe knows that the only thing harder than middle school is losing a best friend. She and Laura used to do everything together from taking silly selfies, to joining all the same clubs together and even throwing surprise birthday parties for one another. 

But lately things have been weird between them. Now Laura will post a photo of her hanging out with other girls before responding to Zoe's simple text. She doesn't even want to sit with her at lunch anymore. Zoe is heartbroken - all she wants is for things to go back to normal.

But then a magical app downloads on her phone...and things get even weirder! Suddenly Zoe can travel back in time to moments where her and Laura started drifting apart. It is like a dream come true. A chance for Zoe to mend their friendship. 

But as Zoe goes back to moments of middle school drama - sleepover games gone wrong, field trips with cliques and crushes, and school projects that bring on more-than-awkward encounters - she realizes that second chances don't always go as planned and that sometimes you need to trust the magic of new beginnings.

The Retake is a picture-perfect look at tween friendship, that also explores more serious themes of social media pressure, bullying, and what it means to be yourself.

"Jen Calonita puts a magical spin on all-to-real middle school drama. Warm, witty and wise, The Retakeis for anyone who has broken up with a best friend and wished they could go back to the way it used to be." (Megan McCaferty, author of True to Your Selfie and Jessica Darling’s It List series)

"As addictive as your favorite app, you won't be able to put it down." (Stacy McAnulty, the author of The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl)

©2021 Jen Calonita (P)2022 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

“While the notion of traveling back in time to repair the present isn’t new to middle-grade fiction, many readers will empathize with Zoe’s determination to succeed and her mishaps along the way, while sharing her confusion over the overlapping, conflicting memories that she has created.” (Booklist)

"Jen Calonita puts a magical spin on all-too-real middle school drama. Warm, witty and wise, The Retake is for anyone who has broken up with a best friend and wished they could go back to the way it used to be." (Megan McCafferty, author of True to Your Selfie and Jessica Darling’s It List series)

"The Retake offers a new filter on friendships, growing up, and sometimes growing apart. It's heartbreaking at times and yet so much fun! I wish I could have read it when I was navigating junior high.... Wait! Is there an app for that?" (Mari Mancusi, author of The Camelot Code: The Once and Future Geek)

What listeners say about The Retake

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Adorable, fun story

I have always loved time travel plots and I am a big fan of this author which is why I bought this book despite being in my 30s lol. I highly recommend this if you are looking for a book for your tween or teen, though I truly think anyone of any age can still enjoy and appreciate it. I mostly enjoy reading YA myself bc it gives me inspiration for my own writing.

I also thoroughly enjoyed this book bc the setting is Long Island where I was born and raised. Aquatopia is clearly a parody of the famous waterpark we have here called Splish Splash. I could imagine the rides so well. The water proof phone cases were very amusing!

I was not the biggest fan of this particular narrator but she grew on me as the story progressed. The accent was a little thick and distracting imo for the actual narration but she did the voices well. The writing is wonderful. Descriptive yet simple and flows very nicely. It was an excellent mix of dialogue and narration. Nowadays I feel like most books suffer from too much of one or the other, regardless of the genre. I personally prefer third person narration vs first person but this book was very well done and the writing was not sloppy at all.

Zoe is a very likable, relatable character. I think tweens and teens can really learn a lesson from her plight, despite the fantasy elements. Middle school is a super turbulent time for a multitude of reasons and Jen Calonita clearly remembers what it’s like whereas so many adults seem to transform and detach entirely from their former selves.

(Spoilers) Since this is a time travel story, you obviously need to go into it suspending disbelief. We can all relate to wishing for a retake, no matter how old we are. Old as I am, I really wanted to slap Laura at times though I cannot deny I was very much like her if not worse in middle school. But the writer does a great job showing you things from her perspective too. People are all so different but you can still find common ground.

I think that four retakes was the perfect amount and the rules of the app were easy to follow within its own realm. I think it was a nice modern take to have it be on the phone and it was clever that it was nearly frying the phone as a result haha. It’s so easy to change your personality from day to day when you’re a tween depending on whose around. And change can be upsetting no matter how old you are. But when you’re young and everything is new and you don’t have coping skills yet, it can be even worse.

I loved how Zoe didn’t even realize that she’d been somewhat neglecting Taryn for Laura just like Laura was doing to her. Life really is all about balance and poor Zoe was really being “all or nothing” with Laura and vice versa. I am so happy with the ending, how they stayed friends but also branched out on their own too. Relationships are ever changing.

My one critique if any was that I suspected Claire may have also used the retake app at some point when she saw Zoe disappear and then mentioned it later on. I was surprised that even happened if there wasn’t going to be a followup. I also would have liked to know more about Marge. Was Zoe the ONLY kid at Fairview that she gave the app to? If so, I am sure she gives it to other ppl too who are in more dire need of it. And if that were true, then the timeline would of course constantly be suffering the ripple effects of countless ppl doing retakes lol. But again, it’s time travel so you need to suspend disbelief. As long as all is well with the protagonist, we’re happy and it doesn’t matter how many other lives she “butterfly effected” with her actions lol.

In close, another gem from Jen Calonita!