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Where Things Come Back

A Novel
Whaley, John Corey (Paperback - 2012)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Where Things Come Back
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Seventeen-year-old Cullen's summer in Lily, Arkansas, is marked by his cousin's death by overdose, an alleged spotting of a woodpecker thought to be extinct, failed romances, and his younger brother's sudden disappearance.
Authors: Whaley, John Corey
Statement of Responsibility: by John Corey Whaley
Title: Where things come back
a novel
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Atheneum, 2012, c2011
Edition: 1st Atheneum pbk. ed
Characteristics: 228 p. ; 21 cm.
Notes: Includes a reading group guide
Summary: Seventeen-year-old Cullen's summer in Lily, Arkansas, is marked by his cousin's death by overdose, an alleged spotting of a woodpecker thought to be extinct, failed romances, and his younger brother's sudden disappearance.
Audience: Interest age level Ages 14 & up
Subject Headings: Missing persons Fiction Interpersonal relations Fiction Best friends Fiction Friendship Fiction Extinct birds Fiction Families Arkansas Fiction Arkansas Fiction
Topical Term: Missing persons
Interpersonal relations
Best friends
Friendship
Extinct birds
Families
ISBN: 9781442413344
1442413344
Branch Call Number: FIC W
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Where Things Come Back is a beautifully bizarre novel filled with first loves, obsessions, and tales of an extinct woodpecker. Cullen Witter, this novel’s protagonist is a seventeen year old boy who can’t wait to get of his small and seemingly uninteresting hometown of Lily, Arkansas. But after his cousin Oslo overdoses, Cullen’s knowledge of his town, family, and himself, disappear completely. The whole town suddenly takes a large interest in the suspected return of an extinct woodpecker, dedicating haircuts and burgers to the creature. This annoyed Cullen, and he would usually seek the words of his abnormally wise younger brother Gabriel to explain all the madness. But devastatingly, his smart sibling had somehow disappeared out of plain sight. This starts Cullen’s process of dealing with a missing sibling, and the uncertainty that comes with it. Meanwhile Benton Sage, a missionary in Africa, sets out on a search for faith in his hardest times. As the novel goes on, Cullen and Benton’s stories intertwine seamlessly to form an unexpected, thrilling, and satisfying ending.
John Corey Whaley writes humor, wisdom, angst and sophistication into the voice of a seventeen year old. His poetic style can be compared to no other, and every character’s tale is crafted beautifully. As for the title, I feel like it speaks for itself. A reappearing woodpecker, the hope for a returned boy, and many returned loves and feelings. This novel, a surprising masterpiece from start to finish, features a town full of those things that can only be known as one thing: the town where things come back.

Jul 30, 2014
  • mandy13 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Where Things Come Back is extremely intriguing, unique, and relatable, so much so that I finished it in less than a day. If you enjoy surprises and plot twists, this book is for you. This novel covers so many of today's major topics, such as religion and loss, allowing for a seamless connection between characters and readers. Moreover, the symbolism and depth to the story was amazing, and I love seeing how the two different stories (that you would never expect to relate) merge. All in all, Where Things Come Back is very deserving of its awards!

May 30, 2014
  • katrinka28 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Apparently I'm on a "weird books about boys" streak. I don't quite know what I thought about this book (I guess I'm still processing). The story is told in two parts: that of an average small-town boy, Cullen Witter, and that of a lonely missionary Benton Sage (and later Cabot Searcy). The parts do eventually come back together. Two strange events converge the summer after Cullen's Junior year in high school, the illusive (possibly imaginary) Lazarus woodpecker is spotted in Cullen's hometown and his younger brother Gabriel goes missing. The story weaves between the emotions of losing a sibling and the strangeness of being 17.

I just don't know if it worked...for me. I understand what the author was trying to go for, but I never really grew attached to any of the characters. It was only a little over 200 pages, so maybe the lack of depth was what had me looking for more?

I would recommend this to: mystery seekers, those who like contemporary fiction, stories of friendship, stories about siblings.

May you enjoy it more than I. Hey it won a Printz for goodness sake, someone obviously liked it!

Sep 27, 2013
  • mvkramer rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

The subject of this book - dealing with a disappearance - is not that unusual, but the manner of the telling is. Most of the story's action takes place within its protagonist's mind, yet the author makes that mind a very rich and interesting place to visit. Unlike many other YA books I've read, I found myself noticing the words the author was using, because he has such a unique and poetic style. Much of the time, authors who try for poetic turns of phrase end up sounding pretentious, but in this story it felt authentic and right for the character. My one quibble with this book is that I felt the ending was a little rushed.

Jan 02, 2013
  • hmcgivney rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I enjoyed this book, despite the second storyline that didn't make sense until the end. It was interesting to see the dynamics of a family who has lost a son and the way that this might affect a teenage boy and his friends. I wish that it hadn't ended so abruptly, but it was nice to hang out in Cullen's head for a little while, even if he did have some strange quirks.

Aug 25, 2012
  • emilymirwin rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Fabulously written. Unique story. Random and quirky, which I like a lot. Favorite quotation: "Life, he says, doesn't have to be so bad all the time. We don't have to be so anxious about everything. We can just be. We can get up, anticipate that the day will probably have a few good moments and a few bad ones, and then just deal with it. Take it all in and deal as best we can (p. 127)."

Jun 17, 2012
  • douglastokaryk rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This a poignant bittersweet book that readers should stick with. It does reward. One of these marvelous ya books that adults (whatever that means) will like. I did.

Apr 02, 2012
  • m2 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Bizarre and beautiful. The book of Enoch? The Lazarus bird? A quadriplegic ex-boyfriend? You must read it to appreciate it.

2012 Michael L. Printz winner

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Sep 27, 2013
  • mvkramer rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Cullen Witter is a seventeen-year-old living in small town Arkansas, where the biggest risk is getting stuck in the rut of daily life. Until, that is, his brother Gabriel disappears, and the town goes crazy over sightings of a supposedly extinct woodpecker. As the stories of Cullen's friends and acquaintances come together in unexpected ways, will the intersections bring Gabriel back?

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2012 Printz Award Winner

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Whaley, John Corey
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app03 Version Arkelstorp Last updated 2014/10/23 09:41