Book Review: Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
First sentence: "I was seventeen years old when I saw my first dead body."
From Amazon.com: "In the remarkable, bizarre, and heart-wrenching summer before Cullen Witter’s senior year of high school, everything he thinks he understands about his small and painfully dull Arkansas town vanishes. His cousin overdoses; his town becomes absurdly obsessed with the alleged reappearance of an extinct woodpecker; and most troubling of all, his sensitive, gifted fifteen-year-old brother, Gabriel, suddenly and inexplicably disappears.
As Cullen navigates a summer of finding and losing love, holding his fragile family together, and muddling his way into adulthood, a young, disillusioned missionary in Africa searches for meaning wherever he can find it. Through masterful plotting, these two stories are brought face-to-face in a surprising and harrowing climax that is tinged with melancholy and regret, comedy and absurdity, and above all, hope."
My take: I thought this book sounded really interesting, so I bought it. I was about 50 or 60 pages in when I started to wonder what was going on. In fact, I debated about whether to put it down or not for something more exciting to read. I'm glad I didn't. This writer's voice is great. His humor is there in a dry, unobtrusive sort of way. I love the term of endearment: Asshat. It took me a minute to figure out that there were two stories happening at the same time. I was confused as to what these two stories could possibly have in common. But it's all revealed in due time. If you pick up this book to read, don't lose patience with it and put it down. Stick with it and the last few chapters will make it worth your time.
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Afterglow Book Reviews
Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (May 3, 2011)
My rating: B