Noggin - YA Review by Frannie M

Reader: Frannie M.
Age: 14
Title: Noggin
Author: John Corey Whaley
Publisher:  Atheneum Books for Young Readers 
Pub Date: 04/08/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: Noggin originally grabbed my attention with its odd and mind boggling concept - the idea that someone could come back to life by having their head sewn onto a new body. I started this book expecting a ridiculous but light story. However, the whole head-on-a-new-body thing didn't dominate the story as much as I thought it would. I interpreted this book as taking place in modern times, because Travis, the main character, describes seeing things like "people wearing blue jeans tight on their calves" and "electronic billboards that change their ad every few seconds", both things that we have today. The story begins with Travis waking up after being 'dead' for five years. Life is very difficult when he returns, because he has been gone for so long that most of his friends and family have moved on. Additionally, he has to go back into high school as a sophomore even though he should be in college based on his birth date. John Corey Whaley does an excellent job of conveying Travis' complex emotions with the first person point of view. I have no idea how someone would react in Travis' situation, but everything Travis did made sense and reflected how I think I would react to having my head sewn onto a new body. The main thing that Travis had to face was the fact that his girlfriend (Cate) from before his 'death' was now engaged. He spends much of the story trying to win her back, not understanding how hard it was for his friends and family to see him die, even though it wasn't permanent. The character development in this book was profound, and each character had an important role in the story. Every character enhanced the story, especially Travis' two best friends, Kyle and Hatton. Despite the difficult themes in this book, it still retained a sense of humor, making me laugh out loud on several occasions. This book was insightful, amusing, and out of the ordinary, and I would definitely recommend it!
Memorable or Forgettable: This book was very memorable to me, probably because I haven't read anything like it. It was fun to imagine having someone actually come back to life from a body transplant. This book was a breath of fresh air compared to all of the violent and dystopian books that are popular now.
Cover: The cover of this book is awesome, and is a great representation of the story. It is striking and bold, but also amusing.
Age Range: 14 through 18 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

tags:  realistic fiction / science fiction / contemporary / ya lit

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