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Where Things Come Back

Whaley, John Corey (Book - 2011 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Where Things Come Back
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Cullen's senior year of high school, everything he thinks he understands about his small and painfully dull Arkansas town vanishes. His cousin overdoses; his town becomes absurdly obsessed with the alleged reappearance of an extinct woodpecker; and most troubling of all, his sensitive, gifted fifteen-year-old brother, Gabriel, suddenly and inexplicably disappears. A surprising and harrowing climax emerges that is tinged with melancholy and regret, comedy and absurdity, and above all, hope. Seventeen-year-old Cullen's summer in Lily, Arkansas, is marked by his cousin's death by overdose, an alleged spotting of a woodpecker thought to be extinct, failed romances, and his younger brother's sudden disappearance.
Authors: Whaley, John Corey
Title: Where things come back
Publisher: New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, c2011.
Edition: 1st ed.
Characteristics: 228 p. ;,22 cm.
Content Type: text
Media Type: unmediated
Carrier Type: volume
Summary: Cullen's senior year of high school, everything he thinks he understands about his small and painfully dull Arkansas town vanishes. His cousin overdoses; his town becomes absurdly obsessed with the alleged reappearance of an extinct woodpecker; and most troubling of all, his sensitive, gifted fifteen-year-old brother, Gabriel, suddenly and inexplicably disappears. A surprising and harrowing climax emerges that is tinged with melancholy and regret, comedy and absurdity, and above all, hope.
Seventeen-year-old Cullen's summer in Lily, Arkansas, is marked by his cousin's death by overdose, an alleged spotting of a woodpecker thought to be extinct, failed romances, and his younger brother's sudden disappearance.
Audience: Ages 14 up.
Local Note: 1 2 6 9 14
bt/pjs
ISBN: 9781442413337
1442413336
Statement of Responsibility: a novel by John Corey Whaley
Subject Headings: Missing persons Young adult fiction. Interpersonal relations Young adult fiction. Best friends Young adult fiction. Friendship Young adult fiction. Extinct birds Young adult fiction. Families Arkansas Young adult fiction. Arkansas Young adult fiction.
Topical Term: Missing persons
Interpersonal relations
Best friends
Friendship
Extinct birds
Families
LCCN: 2010024836
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From the critics


Library Staff

Seventeen-year-old Cullen's summer in Lily, Arkansas, is marked by his cousin's death by overdose, an alleged spotting of a woodpecker thought to be extinct, failed romances, and his younger brother's sudden disappearance.

2012 Printz Winner and
2012 Morris Winner:
Witty, sardonic Cullen Witter agonizes over the disappearance of his beloved brother, Gabriel, while everyone else in his stiflingly dull Arkansas town thrills to the apparent return of a long-extinct woodpecker. Kidnapping, bromance, arcane religious te... Read More »

Seventeen-year-old Cullen's summer in Lily, Arkansas, is marked by his cousin's death by overdose, an alleged spotting of a woodpecker thought to be extinct, failed romances, and his younger brother's sudden disappearance.


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May 30, 2014
  • katrinka28 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Apparently I'm on a "weird books about boys" streak. I don't quite know what I thought about this book (I guess I'm still processing). The story is told in two parts: that of an average small-town boy, Cullen Witter, and that of a lonely missionary Benton Sage (and later Cabot Searcy). The parts do eventually come back together. Two strange events converge the summer after Cullen's Junior year in high school, the illusive (possibly imaginary) Lazarus woodpecker is spotted in Cullen's hometown and his younger brother Gabriel goes missing. The story weaves between the emotions of losing a sibling and the strangeness of being 17.

I just don't know if it worked...for me. I understand what the author was trying to go for, but I never really grew attached to any of the characters. It was only a little over 200 pages, so maybe the lack of depth was what had me looking for more?

I would recommend this to: mystery seekers, those who like contemporary fiction, stories of friendship, stories about siblings.

May you enjoy it more than I. Hey it won a Printz for goodness sake, someone obviously liked it!

Sep 27, 2013
  • mvkramer rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

The subject of this book - dealing with a disappearance - is not that unusual, but the manner of the telling is. Most of the story's action takes place within its protagonist's mind, yet the author makes that mind a very rich and interesting place to visit. Unlike many other YA books I've read, I found myself noticing the words the author was using, because he has such a unique and poetic style. Much of the time, authors who try for poetic turns of phrase end up sounding pretentious, but in this story it felt authentic and right for the character. My one quibble with this book is that I felt the ending was a little rushed.

Jan 02, 2013
  • hmcgivney rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I enjoyed this book, despite the second storyline that didn't make sense until the end. It was interesting to see the dynamics of a family who has lost a son and the way that this might affect a teenage boy and his friends. I wish that it hadn't ended so abruptly, but it was nice to hang out in Cullen's head for a little while, even if he did have some strange quirks.

Aug 25, 2012
  • emilymirwin rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Fabulously written. Unique story. Random and quirky, which I like a lot. Favorite quotation: "Life, he says, doesn't have to be so bad all the time. We don't have to be so anxious about everything. We can just be. We can get up, anticipate that the day will probably have a few good moments and a few bad ones, and then just deal with it. Take it all in and deal as best we can (p. 127)."

Jun 17, 2012
  • douglastokaryk rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This a poignant bittersweet book that readers should stick with. It does reward. One of these marvelous ya books that adults (whatever that means) will like. I did.

Apr 02, 2012
  • m2 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Bizarre and beautiful. The book of Enoch? The Lazarus bird? A quadriplegic ex-boyfriend? You must read it to appreciate it.

2012 Michael L. Printz winner

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Sep 27, 2013
  • mvkramer rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Cullen Witter is a seventeen-year-old living in small town Arkansas, where the biggest risk is getting stuck in the rut of daily life. Until, that is, his brother Gabriel disappears, and the town goes crazy over sightings of a supposedly extinct woodpecker. As the stories of Cullen's friends and acquaintances come together in unexpected ways, will the intersections bring Gabriel back?

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2012 Printz Award Winner

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