A Guy, a Girl, and a Teen Book Blog

A Guy, a Girl, and a Teen Book Blog

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

When I first started reading Where Things Come Back and noticed that it is set in Arkansas, I researched the author, John Corey Whaley, to find that he is a fellow educator AND a fellow Louisianian.  This book had me hooked by page 4, and it read much like a John Green novel but with its own flair.  Part heart wrenching, part humorous, and part philosophical, Where Things Come Back makes you ask whether things happen for a reason or if life is a series of coincidences.  

Title:  Where Things Come Back
Author:  John Corey Whaley
Pages: 256
Publisher:  Atheneum Books for Young Readers
ISBN:  9781442413337
Publication Date:  May 3, 2011
AR Levels:  Interest Level: 9th-12th; Book Level: 5.7; Points:  9.0 

In a nutshell:  Cullen Witter is a rising high school senior in small town Lily, Arkansas.  Over the summer, he loses his cousin to a drug overdose and his beloved and revered brother Gabriel disappears; at the same time, his town is in a frenzy over an extinct woodpecker that has suddenly reemerged.  Meanwhile, on the other side of the world in Africa, a missionary struggles to find true meaning in his life.  Their stories collide in a way that leaves you wondering and questioning til the very last page.

I'd recommend it for grades:  8th-12th+.  The book does contain some cursing and the philosophical/religious elements might be too much for younger middle grades.

I'd recommend it to:  Anyone who's dealt with loss or who enjoys a good, well-crafted story.

What I liked most about this book:  I liked that the book allowed us into the mind of all different kinds of people who are experiencing the main events.

Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y):  Cullen's brother, Gabriel, keeps a journal of random thoughts, musings, song lyrics, etc.  I was very excited to see shout outs to one of my favorite musicians--Sufjan Stevens.  

Star rating (where 5 stars is awesome and 3 stars is atrocious):  4 Stars

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