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.
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I'm glad this one won the Printz award because now people are reading it and reviewing it and it's encouraging me to get to it. :)ReplyDelete
I am glad you liked this one. I didn't dislike it, it just didn't grab me the way I had hoped it would. It isn't flying off our shelves; students say they don't like the cover. And, yes, this leads to a big discussion about judging books by their cover, but we all know teenagers (and adults) DO judge on the coverReplyDelete
I don't like the cover either. Why do publishers think that covers that show farm animals or woodpeckers will attract teen readers? I am baffled.Delete
It did take me a while to find "the voice" of the book but once I did, I was captivated.
Honestly - this book sounds super boring. And the cover isn't helping. However, Okay for Now also sounded super boring and it's cover was awful and I LOVED it! Seriously, I am somewhat OBSESSED with Okay for Now! So... Where Things Come Back definitely deserves a shot. I'm happy you enjoyed it so much!ReplyDelete