Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley


Title: Where Things Come Back
Author: John Corey Whaley
Paperback: 242 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1442413344
Reading Level: YA (12-17 Years)

My Rating: ★★


In the remarkable, bizarre, and heart-wrenching summer before Cullen Witter’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.

As Cullen navigates a summer of finding and losing love, holding his fragile family together, and muddling his way into adulthood, a young, disillusioned missionary in Africa searches for meaning wherever he can find it. And when those two stories collide, a surprising and harrowing climax emerges that is tinged with melancholy and regret, comedy and absurdity, and above all, hope.

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this book in the beginning. I thought, at first, that it was very well written and thought-provoking, but as I continued reading, my praises for this book steadily declined. I began to notice that the writing style continuously flip-flopped between first and third person and it drove me crazy! There were no warnings that this transition would happen, I would just be reading in first person and then BAM! third person. So overall, I absolutely loathed the style of writing in this book.

Another downfall to this book was the ending. For those of you who have not read this book STOP READING THIS RIGHT NOW. There will be SPOILERS.

So I decided to push through this book despite the grotesque style of writing and found myself liking the “idea” of the book. Just a FYI, I was reading this book on my Kindle and knew that I was about 90% done. I started wondering what could possibly happen in the next 10% of the book. And then…it happened. His brother came back! It was like a glorious appearing and I loved how it made me feel. I began to wonder what would happen next; would he explain to his brother what happened to him and how he was set free or even how he got away? I was anticipating answers to all of these questions. Then I turned the page. Acknowledgments. WHAT?! No. My heart broke. Hence the reason why this book only gets three stars from me. Great idea, poorly executed and the ending was just a huge letdown.


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