Kelly Reviews the 2012 Printz Winner “Where Things Come Back” by John Corey Whaley

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars

Summary: Lily, Arkansas is not an exciting place. Having grown up there, seventeen year old Cullen Witter is painfully aware of its limitations. The burger joint, drive-in movie theater, and river are the highlights of Lily’s social scene. In a town defined by its stasis, the huge events which occur before Cullen’s senior year are especially shocking. His only cousin dies from a drug overdose, a supposedly extinct bird is sighted nearby which brings strangers to the town in droves, and his younger brother Gabriel goes missing. In the months that follow, Cullen faces the changes in the best way he knows how: through dry humor, the help of his best friend Lucas, and escapes into a fantasy world of zombies and heroes.  

I had no idea what this book was about upon picking up my copy. It was an assignment for my Young Adult materials course, so I had to read it. Naturally, I read the blurb on the flap of the book jacket (god, that’s such an ungainly description) before anything else. It immediately calls into question your expectations, and tells you to drop them then and there. It then poses questions that you might have upon finishing the book, a rather saucy assumption on the book jacket’s part. Essentially, it promised me an exploration of what things mean.

Y’all know I’m a sucker for meaning.

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