Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Review: Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley won both the prestigious 2012 Printz Award and the Morris Award for debut authors in January. The day those awards were announced was the first day that I paid any attention whatsoever to this book and author. And I might add, I wish I had paid closer attention because this book is a gem. It is truly a winner. I agree with Rollie Welsh, a writer and librarian from Cleveland Public Library, who said, "[it's] victory surprised the oddsmakers. It won't surprise those who read the book."
Cullen Witter lives in the sleepy little town of Lily, Arkansas where nothing ever happens. Ever. That is until someone comes along and spots a Lazarus woodpecker, a bird thought to be instinct for 70 years. At approximately the same time Cullen's younger bother, Gabrielle, goes missing. Cullen understandably becomes very upset with the fact that people in Lily were more concerned with making money off of the woodpecker than finding his brother.
Lest you think I am making this book sound dull or boring, let me assure you that this book has a lot of surprises, quite a bit of humor, and just enough teen angst to make this book very satisfying and memorable. There is even an odd religious story that runs concurrent to Cullen's. For a while it seems confusing as to how this story related to what is happening in Lily. But Whaley does a masterful job bringing together all the pieces and parts of the story at the end of the book.
I can't wait to get this book back into circulation in the library. I trust that students who like reading well-written, well-plotted books will find a lot to like in Where Things Come Back.