Friday, February 3, 2012

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley is the winner of this year's Printz and Morris awards. It's also not really my thing, to tell the truth.

Lily, Arkansas is the sort of small town that people are always trying to leave. Cullen Whitter has just finished his junior year of high school when his brother Gabriel disappears. Around the same time, there are reports that a rare woodpecker, thought to be extinct, has been sighted in the area. While the town bustles with excitement about the bird, Cullen and his family try to keep searching for Gabriel and hoping for his return.

There's more to the story than that, of course -- Cullen fumbles through a few romantic relationships, hangs out with friends, writes down potential titles for the novel he might write some day, and fantasizes about the popular, muscular guy who was dating his crush turning into a zombie. There's also a seemingly unrelated second plot line that does eventually tie in to the main story. The style reminds me a little of Flannery O'Connor, what with the small-town Southern angst and the weird musings on religion. The writing is good, of course, but there's really nothing here that appeals to me.

(Review copy borrowed through my library system.)

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