Gordon Korman’s novel presents the case of a boy whose life was turned completely upside down. One prominent theme is that disabilities can become part of anyone's everyday reality. In this particular case, Chase Ambrose, the boy who suffered a traumatic head injury, was insensitive and abusive before the accident. He bullied other children and considered himself superior to others. After sustaining a damaging fall, Chase becomes dependent on others and learns the value of kindness. One more specific theme can be summarized as “don’t bully.” As Chase's life changes for the better, another theme is that everyone deserves a second chance.
The negative effects of his abusive behavior before the accident are shown in all his interpersonal relationships. Numerous issue arise within his family, as his own sister fears him because of his unpredictability and propensity to violence. Likewise, most of his peers do not condone his behavior and mistrust his lack of self-control, leaving only other aggressive children such as Bear and Aaron to be his companions. He even plants explosives in a piano, and gets in trouble with the law.
In contrast to his physical recovery after the fall, Chase’s mental recovery proceeds along a different course. When he wakes up after being in a coma, he has amnesia. Because he does not remember his previous behavior, others must tell him how he acted. Shocked and dismayed, he no longer endorses aggressive attitudes. Fortunately others are forgiving, and he makes real friends of all ages.