BOOK REVIEW: Where Things Come Back – by John Corey Whaley

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Title: Where Things Come Back
Author: John Corey Whaley
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
First published: May 3rd 2011
Finished reading: March 30th 2016
Pages: 228
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“I wanted the world to sit back, listen up, and let me explain to it that when someone is sad and hopeless, the last thing they need to feel is that they are the only ones in the world with that feeling. So, if you feel sorry for someone, don’t pretend to be happy. Don’t pretend to care only about their problems.”

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This book by John Corey Whaley has actually been recommended to me various times over the last few years, so when I finally found a copy I was one happy camper. Not only is the cover basically a mix of everything I love (black&white, blue and pretty fonts), I was also intrigued by the blurb of Where Things Come Back. And it might just be because of those high expectations, but I ended up being mostly underwhelmed by this read. First of all, the two completely different storylines were quite confusing and almost too distracting from the main event. It took a long time to understand how the two stories connected and that wasn’t necessarily a good thing. Closely related to this is the sheer amount of religious elements in Where Things Come Back. I’m not religious myself and although I normally don’t mind a mild dose of religious talk in a story, in this case I felt it became too preachy. I know this is highly personal and I’m by no means saying this is a bad read because of it, but the religious talk did cause me to enjoy this story a lot less than I thought I would. I couldn’t really connect to the main characters either, but I have to admit that the pace was fast and the mystery around Gabriel’s disappearance intriguing. Would I recommend this book? Yet, but approach with caution for the reasons I mentioned above.

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Cullen thinks he is about to have another boring summer in his small and dull Arkansas town before he starts his senior year, but things turn out to be quite different. He goes through a rollercoaster of emotions as his cousin overdoses and his aunt doesn’t know how to deal with his son’s death… And his town is no longer dull as allegedly an extinct woodpecker seems to have reappeared near it. The whole town becomes obsessed with the little bird, with no exception of his fame-seeking neighbor. But the most shocking fact of all is that his sensitive and gifted younger brother, Gabriel, suddenly disappears one day. Cullen is desperate to find his missing brother and hold his fragil family together… All this while somehow finding an explanation to it all. What about the bird that everyone seems to be looking for? And what does a young and disillusioned missionary in Africa has to do with all of this?

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I had high hopes for Where Things Come Back and I’m starting to believe this book simply isn’t for me, because it isn’t necessarily a bad read. The story reads fast and the whole mystery around Gabriel’s disappearance is intriguing. I personally didn’t actually like the main characters, the fact that the two storylines didn’t seem to connect for too long OR the religious elements, but I can also see why others might really enjoy this story by John Corey Whaley. So if you were interested in this book before reading this review, make sure to give it a try anyway.

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4 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: Where Things Come Back – by John Corey Whaley

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