TEEN LIBRARIAN'S REVIEW:
"Replay" is the story of a young dreamer named Leo (known also as "Sardine" and "Fog Boy"), his boisterous family, and a school play about a magical porch, an emerald table, and rediscovering your youth. Much of the story involves Leo being overlooked or teased by his family; Leo then re-imagines each incident with him as the star or hero. The book is sort of whimsical and silly, although it is trying to convey a deeper theme of the importance of marching to the beat of your own drummer (or, in Leo's case, marching to the tap shoes hidden by your father in the attic years ago).
On the night of the big play, Leo, who has won the part of the Old Crone — and, yes, that's a woman — finally gets to shine in real life as he has in his own imagination. It's a fitting ending, and there are some sweet scenes that follow between Leo and his father, as each begins to open up to the other. Overall, though, I didn't much care for this book. Yes, it was a quick, fast-paced, easy read with incredibly short chapters, which will undoubtedly make it a popular choice on this summer's required reading list. I simply found the family's wackiness and the whirlwind style of the novel to be annoying and tedious. Even worse, I found Leo himself to be a character to whom I felt no connection at all. Author Sharon Creech won the Newbery Medal (the prize for outstanding American children's book) for "Walk Two Moons." I couldn't help but think that if "Replay" had come from a less prestigious author, few people would be reading it.
If, despite my review, you are interested in this book, it's a very clean, very mild story that is appropriate for even younger readers, say in grades 4 and up.