Thursday, February 16, 2012

Where Things Come Back


So I started out reading this book not really knowing what it was about. I knew it had something to do with a woodpecker (since that is what is on the cover) and a kid in high school. I think that's almost the best way to start a book, to read it without having any idea what it's about, that way you're surprised at everything! Granted, the plot may become predictable once you start (which wasn't the case with this book), but you're still surprised at the beginning. Of course, this isn't exactly ideal, because we choose books to read based on what they're about. I chose to read this book because it was the Printz award winner this year. I figured, based on that, it should be good. And I was right.

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley follows two different characters. The first is Cullen Witter, a boy who lives in a small town in Arkansas, in the summer before his senior year of high school. His life starts to become unpredictable when his cousin overdoses. Life for Cullen is gradually becoming crazier and crazier as a rare woodpecker is spotted in his town, and his gifted younger brother suddenly disappears. That takes its toll on Cullen.

The second character a young missionary named Benton, who's struggling to figure out his place and calling in the world. Through genius plotting, the two stories eventually collide at the end, in a way you won't see coming until it's right in front of your face. Where Things Come Back is a well crafted novel, and I think it's deserving of the award that it won.

I think my favorite part of this book was the writing style. It was just so smooth and detailed, it drew me in right from the beginning. Not to mention Whaley created some really unforgettable characters. They all have their own quirks and it makes them seem so real. For instance, Cullen is always coming up with titles for books, hoping someday to actually write a book to go along with it. I loved how these titles fit in with what was going on with Cullen at the moment, and the way these titles are tied in at the end is fantastic. All in all, i think this is a really excellent piece of literature. It has humor, sadness, a little bit of violence, love, heartbreak, everything you could ask for in a novel. And it's presented in a way that I've never seen before. The woodpecker thing really added a uniqueness to the novel that I loved. This is a gem that I may have to add to my own library.

Well, next I will be reading Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler, which I was reading on Valentine's Day and I found it a bit ironic. Until next time, happy reading!

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