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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.


Book 98/100: Noggin by John Corey Whaley

Noggin - John Corey Whaley

If you're looking for a book that will go into the science -- or at least pretend to -- of cryogenic regeneration, you will be disappointed in this book.

If you're looking for a book that is as quirky and humorous as the cover of this book implies, you will be disappointed -- although there are certainly funny and clever moments (and I think the cover is brilliant, even if it might not prepare you fully for the content within.)

But if you're looking for a book with a LOT of heart that will bring tears to your eyes at LEAST four separate times during the course of your reading, you have come to the right place.

I loved this book, and I was not prepared for it to be as moving as it was. The catalyst of Travis's head, which was cryogenically frozen, being attached to a new body and "re-animated" just five years after his "death" provides the gateway for exploring issues of growing up and moving on -- and what to do when the world has gone on without you.

No one in Travis's live is emotionally prepared for him to return after just five years. They've grieved him, they've let him go (mostly), and they've begun to move on. Although the story is told from Travis's point of view, and although it is heart-wrenching, you can imagine the emotional journeys the other characters are on and feel almost as heartbroken for them. And even though it's about an experience that on one has actually gone through, it touches on universal themes that many of us can relate to all to well. The pain of letting someone you love go; the confusion of getting back something after you've made peace with it being gone; and most of all, the heartbreak of realizing that the rest of the world is ready to move on before you are.

I don't often find myself getting swoony over YA love stories -- the realist in the back of my mind can't stop saying, "Yeah, but it's not like you'll *actually* end up with that person ..." But Whaley portrayed the love story between Travis and Cate with such exquisite care that I could see why Travis felt convinced that they absolutely HAD to be together. So painful to see his recognition that she is able to live without him unfold.

This book came up short of five stars for me because the ending felt a little rushed and not completely satisfying. But don't let that stop you. This is truly a brilliant title, and I wouldn't be surprise if it walked away with a Printz honor this year.