Review: Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

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Genre: Young-Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 228
Series: No

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4 Stars

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Where Things Come Back is a book that follows two different lives. One is of Cullen Witter, a 16-year-old living in the small town of Lily. When a formerly-extinct species of woodpecker is spotted by someone, the town suddenly starts to receive a lot of media attention. Cullen isn’t happy about the charade and that unhappiness is made infinitely worse when his younger brother, Gabriel, goes missing.

The second person whose story the book tells is of a missionary who is desperate to find his calling. Can’t say much else about him.

The main focus is Cullen’s story and him dealing with the fact that he has no idea what has happened to his brother and that everyone seems to give more attention to a stupid bird that to finding an actual person who has gone missing.

This is quite a peculiar book. More because of the narrative than the story. It’s hard to explain (because I don’t know how) but the narrative is less a continuation of events and more a compilation of moments that matter the most. It’s also interspersed with Cullen imagining all the people his town turning into zombies (Cullen has a very active imagination). It was strange, but I liked it.

The story focuses, in true contemporary style, on people. More specifically, it’s about the repercussions of their beliefs and interpretations; and how everyone wants to find their purpose in life.

I can’t think of much else to say. This was a very interesting read and I really liked how the two separate stories came to intersect. I liked the characters and their relationships. One thing that bothered me was the overuse of this-type-of-writing. And I was a bit underwhelmed at points. But overall, it was a good read and I think you should check it out.

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