May 16, 2011

Review: Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

4 yummy snickerdoodles.

Cover Love:
Not really, but it fits the tone & feel of the book.

Why I Wanted to Read This:
This is a debut young adult book with a boy as the main character. Just the kind I like to read! Here is the synopsis from GoodReads:
Just when seventeen-year-old Cullen Witter thinks he understands everything about his small and painfully dull Arkansas town, it all disappears. . . .

In the summer before Cullen's senior year, a nominally-depressed birdwatcher named John Barling thinks he spots a species of woodpecker thought to be extinct since the 1940s in Lily, Arkansas. His rediscovery of the so-called Lazarus Woodpecker sparks a flurry of press and woodpecker-mania. Soon all the kids are getting woodpecker haircuts and everyone's eating "Lazarus burgers." But as absurd as the town's carnival atmosphere has become, nothing is more startling than the realization that Cullen’s sensitive, gifted fifteen-year-old brother Gabriel has suddenly and inexplicably disappeared.

While Cullen navigates his way through a summer of finding and losing love, holding his fragile family together, and muddling his way into adulthood, a young missionary in Africa, who has lost his faith, is searching for any semblance of meaning wherever he can find it. As distant as the two stories seem at the start, they are thoughtfully woven ever closer together and through masterful plotting, brought face to face in a surprising and harrowing climax.

Complex but truly extraordinary, tinged with melancholy and regret, comedy and absurdity, this novel finds wonder in the ordinary and emerges as ultimately hopeful. It's about a lot more than what Cullen calls, “that damn bird.” It’s about the dream of second chances.
I Kept Reading Because:
I adored Cullen and I really wanted to see how the two story lines came together!

Romance?: Yes, but the relationships between Cullen and his brother Gabriel and Cullen and Lucas were more interesting.

What I Liked (& Didn't):
I loved, loved, loved Cullen! He was such a normal kid. I also loved Gabriel and Lucas. This book has some fantastic young male characters! The relationships between these three were just so well done.

I loved Cullen's imagination and his devotion to his brother. Anytime I read a story about brothers who unabashedly love being brothers it makes my heart happy.

I really liked how the aftermath of Gabriel's disappearance was written for the family. I am not sure how something like that would go, but I don't think that there is just one way. I found it very interesting to read.

The way the story lines were woven together way so impressive. It really kept me interested. I couldn't wait to see how it all came together. It was so well written.

To Sum Up: A great debut novel with some great young male main characters.

Book received from Simon & Schuster. Thanks Venessa!


  1. I don't read many novels with mail main characters so this alone is on my TBR list but I am so happy to hear that you loved it!!