Title/Author: Noggin by John Corey Whaley
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Literary Fiction, Standalone
Published: April 8th, 2014 by Antheneum for Young Readers
Audiobook, 525 minutes
How I Got This Book: Checked it out from the library
Why I Picked It Up?: Because JCW is on my auto-read list. I picked up the audio because my YA Lit professor said the audio was REALLY GOOD.
Book Jacket Blurb: “Listen — Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t. Now he’s alive again. Simple as that.
The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but he can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he’s still 16 and everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she’s not his girlfriend anymore? That’s a bit fuzzy too.
Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, then there are going to be a few more scars.
Oh well, you only live twice.”
Ever since I read Where Things Come Back a couple of years ago, I have been WAITING for John Corey Whaley to write something else! And then he did! I listened to it, and it was definitely a book that makes you think!
Travis is dying of cancer. But before he does, he goes through an experimental procedure where doctors remove and freeze his head until they find the right body to reattach it to. 5 years later, Travis wakes up. He’s still 16 years old. Everyone else in his life has aged 5 years. Needless to say, this takes some serious adjusting.
What I really liked about this story is that, even though the situation is still a ways into the future, Travis’s story felt authentic. Travis is a 16 year old kid trying to live the life he left behind 5 years ago. His best friend is in college. His girlfriend is engaged. And his bedroom is gone. And that is HARD–it’s hard to imagine being in that situation. While Travis makes a new friend pretty quickly, he is still holding on to the memories that, for him, just happened last month. I felt that he navigates this bizarre situation as best as any 16 year old could. Yes, at times he does ridiculous things, but honestly…..those things are realistic for a kid in this situation, I feel. And that’s what really makes this story authentic.
Kirby Heyborne does a fantastic job of really bringing Travis to life. He manages to include strong emotion and humor into his performance to create a realistic and relateable character. While I was listening, I was trying to imagine myself as Travis, waking up to a world that had aged 5 years. And that is when I really connected to the story.
Noggin has a different tone than Where Things Come Back, but I found this story to still offer readers (and listeners) things to reflect on, even if they were a little bizarre. But that’s why I love John Corey Whaley…he takes something unbelieveable and truly makes it real.
My Bookshelf Rating:
A Fourth Shelf Book!
A literary YA Sci-Fi book that will have you thinking about what YOU would do if you woke up like Travis! Travis’s adjustment to this same-yet-oh-so-different life is what drives this story. I felt his emotional journey was quite realistic, especially for this interesting situation. JCW has definitely shown the world that he can write a compelling story.
For a High School Library.
Love and Afternoon Walks,