Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Noggin by John Corey Whaley

All those hours in the hospital that I spent thinking about whether or not this crazy procedure would work, whether or not I'd get to come back, and it hadn't even once occurred to me that it could happen this way. I thought if I woke up at all, it would be in a hundred years to a brand-new world full of new people. But instead there I was stuck in this mutated version of my old life where everyone had grown up just enough to forget about me. Or, at the very least, move on to lives I could no longer fit into. My best friend had secrets and my girlfriend had a fiance. I came back from the dead for this? Joke's on me.

At age sixteen Travis Coates was dying of cancer, until one day a doctor approached him about a radical idea to try to save him: cryogenically freeze his head and bring him back to life with another body... in a few years when the technology had advanced enough to do so. Essentially Travis was writing his own death certificate, with no guarantee that he would ever come back alive.

But he did come back alive -- and much sooner than even the doctors thought was possible. So five years later, Travis Coates came back from the dead. And while five years might seem like a short amount of time, it was enough for his friends and family to move on and leave his memory behind. But what happens when the people in your life who grieved over your loss and moved on, suddenly find themselves face to face with the very cause of that grief? Travis must learn to navigate this strange world where only he and one other person have experienced what it's like to be given such an unusual reprieve and how to give that meaning.

Even though the premise of Noggin is strange and outlandish, this book is about so much more than a boy who comes back from the dead after a body transplant. Anyone who has ever felt left behind by friends and/or family by going away and then coming back from somewhere or something will completely relate to Travis Coates's story. Yes, the premise is a bit of a gimmick (but a great gimmick at that) and one that certainly draws in curious readers, but for those who might read the jacket flap and think the story will be steeped in absurdity, I am here to tell you that while Noggin contains quite a bit of humor (a scene where Travis discovers his ashes in the closet is particularly hilarious), it is also an incredibly sensitive and poignant story. This is a book that I will be recommending to teens and adults for the rest of my life because, at its heart, it is a universally relateable story.

Noggin by John Corey Whaley
Published: January 8, 2014
Publisher: Atheneum
Pages: 342
Genre: Realistic Fiction (except for the head transplant part I guess)
Audience: Young Adult
Disclosure: Purchased Copy

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1 comment:

  1. Ahh! The full review. Thank you, thank you! :) I am going to see if my library has a copy of it.