Noggin- John Corey Whaley

Travis dies of cancer when he is 16 years old, but has his head cryogenically frozen in hopes that someday science will advance to the point that his non-cancerous head can be attached to a non-cancerous body and he can live again.  Well, that dayscomes much sooner than anyone expects– just 5 years after Travis dies.  Suddenly Travis finds him alive again.  He feels like he woke up from a nap, but everything around him has changed so much.  His best friend, Kyle, is 21 and in college and still hiding the secret he revealed to Travis 5 years ago.  His girlfriend, Kate, is engaged to another man.  It turns out, coming back to life isn’t quite how Travis expected it would be.

I’d heard very good things about this book and was really intrigued by the premise– how would someone deal with coming back to a life that has changed drastically while they were dead?  I was a little disappointed, though.  I guess I expected Travis to come back to life and have to start from square 1.  But this was more like, Travis came back to life and was obsessed with getting his girlfriend back.  I didn’t have much patience for that sort of storyline in Where She Went and I didn’t have much patience with it here.  I know Travis was still in love with her, but he was completely naive to think she was still in love with him.  And his actions to get her back crossed a line…. they clearly made Kate uncomfortable.  I know Travis was acting like the teenager he was, but I don’t know, I found his obsession with getting Kate back annoying.  And it was a major plot point in this book.

There were some other minor complaints I had with the book… like Travis is REALLY into everything 80s, which seemed out of place for a contemporary teenager.  And I wasn’t too sure his 21 year old friends would accept him back the way they did.  21 year olds don’t have much in common with 16 year olds… it seems like they would not be hanging out.  Sure, his friends would see him, but I think it would be impossible to recover the camaraderie they had as teens.  I especially don’t think Travis’s new friend from school would be tagging along with the older crew like he does.

This was a well-written book, however, and I did like it.  It just fell short of my (admittedly high) expectations.  I think perhaps this would appeal more to teenagers.  And well, anyone who is more tolerant of unrequited love stories.  I would love to see a different take on this same premise; I really am intrigued by it!

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