This past weekend, I finished Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley. This book came out in 2012 and was honored with the Michael L. Printz award, but I never felt particularly compelled to read it. A while back, it was a Kindle Daily Deal, and for $2 bucks, I couldn’t say no.
Usually, I have an idea of what book I’d like to read before I finish the current book. Not this time. I finished The Leftovers on a Friday night before bed, so I figured I’d just work it out the next day. I brought my Kindle to work with me, knowing I had an hour break to eat and read (which is what I always do when I have an hour. Panera and a book.).
The Kindle was the easiest thing to do because I currently have 64 unread books on it.
I might have a problem?
When I buy a new book, it automatically downloads on Wi-Fi and shows up on my Carousel. To keep it looking neat, I keep only a few books on that page at a time. Though I bought Where Things Come Back a while ago, it was on the carousel and I thought, why not? And then I fell right in.
I’m not sure how to explain the book. This is what I could say, but I don’t know if it’ll do it justice.
Cullen Witter is a 17 year old stuck in the small town of Lily, Arkansas. It’s one of those towns people dream about leaving but either never do or always end up coming back. The summer before his senior year of high school, Cullen is sent to a morgue to identify the body of his cousin Oslo, who died of a drug overdose. From that moment on, everything starts to crumble around him. Lily becomes obsessed with the idea that a woodpecker once thought to be extinct is somewhere in their town. They cling to the idea that this Lazarus Woodpecker will bring business to the area.
Meanwhile, Cullen’s younger brother Gabriel disappears and the family’s search for him is strained and fearful.
There’s like SO MUCH MORE to this book. There are multiple narratives that sort of flow together throughout. Honestly, I had no idea how to describe the book to Brad as I was reading it or even to myself. And yet, every time I sat down to read it, I would clear large portions at a time without realizing it.
I can see why it won the Printz award. Though it is a book you would find in the Young Adult section, it’s very mature (but it’s stupid to say that Young Adult novels are only for teens, and maybe one day I’ll share my argument.).
A lot of different themes, from religion to death to depression, are covered.
It’s an easy read, but the material is shrouded in a dark cloud.
However, I enjoyed it and am curious to read Whaley’s new book, Noggin, which has yet another strange premise.