In 2012 I read “Where Things Come Back” by John Corey Whaley and I became an instant fan. His book was amazing and I completely agreed with the many accolades the book and it’s author received. So, when I read the plot summary for his latest book, I knew I had to read it. As a sophomore venture, “Noggin” does not disappoint. I am an even bigger fan and hope to be able to see him again soon (he was at YALLfest in 2012) so I can
stalk follow him and get his autograph. –Diana
Listen — Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t.
Now he’s alive again.
Simple as that.
The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but he can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he’s still 16 and everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she’s not his girlfriend anymore? That’s a bit fuzzy too.
Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, then there are going to be a few more scars.
Oh well, you only live twice
As I stated, I was already a fan of Whaley’s when I found out about “Noggin” and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. So I was thrilled when one of the gifts my kids gave me for Mother’s Day was this book. Since I’m allowed to lounge around that day, I pretty much read the whole book that day and it was sooo good.
Of course, the premise is astounding. A boy’s head is cryogenically kept alive until a body donor is found and then his head is reattached and he comes back to life. So, yes, thoughts of Frankenstein are certainly apropos. Yet it’s so much more than a sci-fi meets teenager story. Travis has so much to deal with. For him, time stood still, he’s still sixteen years old, but for everyone in his life it’s five years later. His friends are young adults in college now and things have changed all around him. It’s especially difficult for him because he still loves his high school girlfriend, but she’s moved on and is confused herself. So the story becomes more about him coming to terms with his new life than anything else.
In Whaley’s skilled hands, Travis’ story rings true and real (yes even with the crazy sci-fi stuff). This book is so good, I hope that it also receives the accolades that Whaley’s freshman novel received. Regardless, I’m an even bigger fan and I must check his website to see when he will be coming near my home so I can meet him and get his autograph.
“Some people say dying alone is a fate worse than death itself. Well, they should try being alone during the living part sometimes. There’s no quicker way to make you wonder why the hell you ever thought you’d want to return.”
“You ever feel like you know someone so much that they can breathe for you? Like when their chest and your chest rise and fall, they do it together because they have to? That’s how it felt. That’s how it always felt.”
“I thought maybe a day was coming when I’d stop constantly worrying about how to live. Maybe at some point I’d just start living, no questions asked.”
“Maybe we all just exist, all versions of us exist at times, and we have to figure out a way to get to each of them, to find each one and tell that version that it’s okay, that it’s all justthe way it works, a concept too powerful to ignore but too complicated to explain.”