Title: Where Things Come Back
Author: John Corey Whaley
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pub Date: 5/11
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Where Things Come Back is a novel that maintains the usual feel of realistic young adult literature while still being original. Lily is a small town in the middle of nowhere in Arkansas, and home to cynical teenager Cullen Witter. One summer, the town is turned upside down by a sighting of a woodpecker that was supposed to be extinct, Cullen’s beloved brother Gabriel disappears, and everything ties back to the story of a young missionary in Ethiopia. Something that kept me reading was a sense that everything was coming together, yet I couldn’t predict what was going to happen until the end.
Memorable or Forgettable: The most memorable thing for me in this book was the voice of the main character and the way it provided details about himself and others that developed him and made him more than just a cynical teenager in a small town. There was a good balance of likeable and unlikeable characters; no one seemed pinned under a stereotype and everyone changed, for better or worse, by the end of the story. One thing I would have liked more of was Gabriel, but since him being gone was the most important part of the story it was okay to only get to know him a little.
Cover: This cover had a very down-to-earth feel. I like it and I’m happy to see a cover that isn’t a digital photograph. It reflects a main metaphor and central part of the story.
Age Range: 14-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal