Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
HB: May 3rd 2011 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
PB: July 24th 2012 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Thanks for stopping by the fifth stop on our blog tour talking about the awesomeness of Where Things Come Back by Corey Whaley. Have you read it yet? Because if not, you are missing out. I have some serious love for this book. I think it's one of the best YA books I've read this year.
3 Things I Love about WTCB
The Relationship between Cullen & GabrielI don't know if you have brothers or not, but I have two myself. As I was reading WTCB, I would find myself just smiling at certain scenes or snippets of conversations between Cullen and Gabriel. It was as if I could see my brothers (and me) in these two characters. I don't know if it is the same betweens two sisters or a family of girls, but Cullen and Gabriel are great brothers. Check out just a couple of my favorite scenes:
"Gabriel and I used to play this game we liked to call What If? where the object was to take turns creating the most absurd 'what if?' scenarios. [...]Seriously, this could have been my brothers and me on multiple occasions just laying around killing time making up stuff. What about you? Remind you of your childhood with your siblings?
'What if humans began to evolve and sprout wings?' he said,[...]
'What if I already have them and have been hiding them all these years?' I said back.
'What if I throw you off this Iroof for being a liar?' he said with a laugh.
'What if i used my secret wings to fly away?' I laughed back.
'What if nonwinged humans started hunting winged humans for sport?' Gabriel asked.
'That would definitely happen in Lily,' I added.
'What if we drafted up some laws in anticipation of this evolutionary event?' Gabriel suggested.
'What if we called them 'It's Not Easy Being Winged: Rules and Guidelines for the Recently Able to Fly'?'
'Perfect.' Gabriel sighed." (p.181, hardback)
This next scene has to be my favorite one between the two brothers. In WTCB, the town of Lily, Arkansas is so enamored with the possible sighting of an extinct woodpecker they name a hamburger the Lazarus Burger. Trust me, this could happen in a small town in the South.
"'Gabriel,' I began as I walked into my brother's room when I got home, 'what do you think about the Lazarus Burger?'
'It's just a Number Three without cheese?'
'Right. But what about the fact that they are selling a burger that has nothing to do with a bird that probably has nothing to do with this town and isn't even alive anymore?'
'I think you're thinking about a burger too much instead of just eating it.' Gabriel turned a page of the book he was reading.
'Think about this.' I sat on the edge of his bed. 'What if I threw a burger into the woods and the Lazarus, if it existed, flew down and took a bite out of it?'
'Ha! Cannibalism!' Gabriel shouted.
'Ornithological cannibalism! That's even worse!' I shouted back, before jumping into the air and running down the hallway into my room in a childish manner that only brothers exhibit around each other." (pgs. 50-51 hardback)
Names of CharactersI'm in north Louisiana and went to the same university as Corey did, Louisiana Tech University. I happen to have relatives in Arkansas. I have driven in Louisiana and north in Arkansas many times passing exit signs reading the names of these characters. While I'm reading WTCB, I feel connected to the characters. Ada Taylor, a character in WTCB, is actually two towns in Louisiana I have driven by many, many times. I've seen the exit sign, registered it in my mind, and driven on never giving it or the town names another thought. Until WTCB, where I am introduced to Ada Taylor and then to Cabot Searcy and Cullen Witter, and suddenly with just the names I am "in" the story. I almost feel sorry for those readers who are not from here and can't connect with the names like I can. I think Whaley has done a tremendous job of helping the reader become immersed in small town Southern life with the every day life, the names of the characters, and the quirkyness of the inhabitants of Lily, Arkansas. I grew up small town Louisiana, and WTCB character's names add just the extra touch to have me there again! Sometimes, you just have to live it to believe it, and if you haven't then you read WTCB, right?
Now, I don't want to give too much away for those of you who haven't read WTCB yet, but I happen to think the ending of this book is genius. (Not that I don't think the whole book isn't genius, because I do.) After reading the whole book, becoming invested in Lily, Arkansas and its residents, and following the search for Gabriel Witter, Whaley throws readers a curve ball. And, it was a good curve ball. It wasn't one you could see as you were reading the book. It was one to make you pause, and maybe reread a paragraph. So, now you've finished, and you are left sitting there with the book in your hands, staring out into space, thinking to yourself, "What just happened?" That is exactly what I said to myself. The ending of WTCB could go two ways. I like how Whaley left it up to the reader to decide, to bring in his or her own experiences, and to decided the fate of the characters. It makes reading WTCB even more personal because you have to make up your mind how you want it to go and if you believe in second chances and hope in Lily, Arkansas.
Must be 13 years or older or get your parents to enter for you.
International giveaway. Check with Book Depository to see if they ship your way.
Monday, July 16: Ginger - Intro post + GIVEAWAY announcement
Tuesday, July 17: Jenn - Hip Mama Jenn
Wednesday, July 18: Sash - Sash & Em
Thursday, July 19: Kate - Ex Libris
Friday, July 20: Joy - Book Lagniappe
Saturday, July 21: Melanie - Reclusive Bibliophile
Sunday, July 22: Asheley - Into the Hall of Books
Monday, July 23: Stephanie - Teen Librarian's Toolbox
Tuesday, July 24: Ginger - GReads!