Wednesday, March 7, 2012

where things come back by john corey whaley


It's the summer before his senior year, and Cullen Witter is bored to death in a painfully dull Arkansas town. Things get exciting when a Lazarus Woodpecker, supposedly extinct, is spotted in a copse of trees near town. The buzz of this discovery serves as the back drop for two deaths (a close cousin overdoses, a young man jumps to his death) and the inexplicable disappearance of Cullen's beloved younger brother, Gabriel. As Cullen and his parents move through the early phases of grief, alternating between dispair and hope, Benton Sage, a young missionary in Africa, has a crisis of faith, and his suicide is the catalyst that spurs his college roommate into a series of actions that bring the story back to Gabriel's disappearance. At first, it is hard to imagine the two stories intersecting, but JW brings all the disparate pieces together in a satisfying and surprising ending. Cullen is a loveable character with a refined sense of humor, and readers who enjoy complex male leads (a la John Green) will not be disappointed. Give this to fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Spectacular Now, and Please Ignore Vera Dietz. Click here for John Corey Whaley's website and the book trailer. Grade 8+