Where Things Come Back

Where Things Come Back Just when seventeen year old Cullen Witter thinks he understands everything about his small and painfully dull Arkansas town it all disappears In the summer before Cullen s senior year a nominally d

  • Title: Where Things Come Back
  • Author: John Corey Whaley
  • ISBN: 9781442413337
  • Page: 316
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Just when seventeen year old Cullen Witter thinks he understands everything about his small and painfully dull Arkansas town, it all disappears In the summer before Cullen s senior year, a nominally depressed birdwatcher named John Barling thinks he spots a species of woodpecker thought to be extinct since the 1940s in Lily, Arkansas His rediscovery of the so calleJust when seventeen year old Cullen Witter thinks he understands everything about his small and painfully dull Arkansas town, it all disappears In the summer before Cullen s senior year, a nominally depressed birdwatcher named John Barling thinks he spots a species of woodpecker thought to be extinct since the 1940s in Lily, Arkansas His rediscovery of the so called Lazarus Woodpecker sparks a flurry of press and woodpecker mania Soon all the kids are getting woodpecker haircuts and everyone s eating Lazarus burgers But as absurd as the town s carnival atmosphere has become, nothing is startling than the realization that Cullen s sensitive, gifted fifteen year old brother Gabriel has suddenly and inexplicably disappeared While Cullen navigates his way through a summer of finding and losing love, holding his fragile family together, and muddling his way into adulthood, a young missionary in Africa, who has lost his faith, is searching for any semblance of meaning wherever he can find it As distant as the two stories seem at the start, they are thoughtfully woven ever closer together and through masterful plotting, brought face to face in a surprising and harrowing climax Complex but truly extraordinary, tinged with melancholy and regret, comedy and absurdity, this novel finds wonder in the ordinary and emerges as ultimately hopeful It s about a lot than what Cullen calls, that damn bird It s about the dream of second chances.

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    About " John Corey Whaley "

  • John Corey Whaley

    JOHN COREY WHALEY grew up in the small town of Springhill, Louisiana, where he learned to be sarcastic and to tell stories He has a B.A in English from Louisiana Tech University, as well as an M.A in Secondary English Education He started writing stories about aliens and underwater civilizations when he was around ten or eleven, but now writes realistic YA fiction which sometimes includes zombies He taught public school for five years and spent much of that time daydreaming about being a full time writer and dodging his students crafty projectiles He is terrible at most sports, but is an occasional kayaker and bongo player He is obsessed with movies, music, and traveling to new places He is an incredibly picky eater and has never been punched in the face, though he has come quite close One time, when he was a kid, he had a curse put on him by a strange woman in the arcade section of a Wal Mart His favorite word is defenestration His favorite color is green His favorite smell is books He currently splits his time between Louisiana and Los Angeles Where Things Come Back is his first novelGGIN, his second novel, is out on April 8, 2014.

  • 608 Comments

  • Five Things About WHERE THINGS COME BACK1. So. This book takes place in Lily, Arkansas, but it could take place in Nowhere, Virginia, as well, a place I am well acquainted with. It takes place in a small town the same way that my life took place in a small town — not in a surface way, not in a Hollywood way, but in a way that touches every bit of your life. Not good or bad, really, just . . . grit and dust and gross gas stations and lots of church. I appreciate that it feels effortlessly real [...]


  • what an unexpectedly delightful book.i was given an ARC of this and i looked at it and said "gak - biiirrrddss!" and figured i would read it when i got around to it. after some awfully gentle prodding, i got around to it and i read the damn thing in one day, tearassing through it with great glee and aweis book is a sad and unpredictable gem.but with plenty of moments of humor opens with a death-by-overdose and a million instances of the word "ass-hat" - a word i had never heard before being on t [...]



  • This is one of those stories that heavily relies on the theme that every element, character and symbol was manipulated to evoke said theme and in my observations, that’s usually a good thing. It’s what brings books to literary nominations and stuff. In my own personal opinion though, sometimes it’s also these same literary elements that interfere with the “feels”, with the reader’s enjoyment of a book and with being able to relate with the characters because often in life, things don [...]


  • If there's one thing I've learned in the two and a half years since I joined GoodReads, it’s this: when Maggie Stiefvater recommends a book, I read it. Period. She had nothing but praise for John Corey Whaley’s award-winning debut so I ordered it with no questions asked. I just did it because Maggie said so. Where Things Come Back is such an unassuming little book. It’s like that small, quiet kid in class other kids never even notice, but if they did, they’d see that he is well-read and [...]


  • Oh, Cullen Witter, would one please stop talking about oneself in third person?Where Things Come Back is told mostly from the first person perspective of the young man, Cullen Witter (well, except for when he often talks about himself in the third person) whose fifteen year old brother disappears. Cullen lives in a small town town that just happens to be obsessed with woodpeckers, specifically the long-presumed extinct Lazarus Woodpecker. Both the town and Cullen Witter develop a strong obsessio [...]


  • 3.5 stars.Where Things Come Back is a pretty good debut effort (and not so good choice of cover). A little hard to describe though.17-year old Cullen Witter is passing his time in a tiny Arkansas town. There is nothing interesting or exciting going on. Cullen is simply waiting for his final high school year to be over and to move on to a life less dull. Everything changes when Cullen's younger brother Gabriel suddenly disappears. If Cullen thought his life was bad before, it becomes unbearable n [...]



  • I won a book! I won a book on First Reads!Where Things Come Back is a YA debut novel about a disgruntled teen in small town Arkansas (is there any other kind?). 17-year-old Cullen Witter would be an emo teen if Lily was big enough to support fringe subcultures. But he's got all the attributes: over-sensitive, journal-writing, picked on by jocks (every town has those), unlucky in love (until, of course, he becomes extremely lucky in love, a twist integral to the plot, but whatever). The book take [...]


  • The concept of this book was very promising, and I think it could have been a great success in the hands of a more experienced/skillful writer. As it is, however, I was a bit underwhelmed. The writing felt clumsy--always telling, seldom showing. For example, anything humorous anyone ever said was always identified by the phrase "he [or she] joked," presumably because otherwise the reader might not realize it was a joke? I know I'm getting petty here, but it did get a little irritating after the [...]


  • (Third time reading this book)Books, in my opinion, try to describe or explain a certain story at its best and try to connect a reader with the story and the characters the best way the author can. Of course this story did that and a lot of other things that will surprise you.Stories like this one makes me a better person and a better reader. The way John Corey Whaley narrates us the story is beautiful and very very original. The things I learn in this novel will stick with me for the rest of my [...]


  • 3.5 starsI took a risk on John Corey Whaley's debut (and Printz Award winner)Where Things Come Back, as I wasn't really wowed by his sophomore attempt, the cute but far-fetched cryogenics taleNoggin. I'm happy to report this was in many ways a much better read thanNoggin; much more mature and grounded, a very engaging and believable story, not nearly as sappy. The only problem I had with it (whichalmost with each instance of its use became a deal-breaker, and made all the more glaring by the nov [...]


  • I'll keep this short: I needed this. After a series of really shitty not so good reads over the past couple of days, Where Things Come Back reassures me that there are stories worth the effort of not sleeping. My one complaint though is that it’s cover does not give what’s inside justice. That aside, I really enjoyed this book, the characters and how things came together. On one hand there’s Cullen, and on the other there’s Benton: two people not connected at all, but through a series of [...]


  • when you create two story lines to make them entwine at the end, in an attempt to make the readers mind blow, you probably have a very weak plotis is one of those contemporaries that i was really excited about because i heard a lot of good things about it, and i heard it's mysterious and weird, and it was short so i felt like this is gonna be a one-sitting book that'll grab me from the first page, but unfortunately from the very beginning of this book i knew it gonna suck, now the plot of this b [...]


  • O kadar uzun sürdü ki kitabı okumam. Bunda hem benim bu aralar kitap okuyamamamın etkisi var hem de kitabının dilinin ağır oluşunun. Çok zor okunan bir kitaptı Her Şey Burada Başladı ve Bitti. Ama ben bütün zorluğuna rağmen kitabı sevdim. Okuduğum en ilginç kitaplardan birisiydi sanırım. Bana göre herkesin sevebileceği bir kitap değil. Zor okunmasından dolayı pes edebilirsiniz. Ama dediğim gibi bütün zorluğuna rağmen sevdiğim bir kitap oldu. Umarım artık okuma [...]


  • [4.5] Sin duda superó mis expectativas y me dio tantas cosas en qué pensar. Es increíble cómo una historia tan simple puede involucrar temas tan complejos y desarrollar al mismo tiempo personajes llenos de simbolismo. Este libro logró eso y mucho más.


  • can't even begin to explain how much I love this book! I feel like this book has inspired me and really effected me in many different wayse story and the way it developed was truly brilliant, it had me hooked from literally the first chapter. I couldn't predict what was going to happen and the ending was just wow!I don't think I've ever related to a character as much in my life as I did with the main character, Cullen. It's cringey but I really do feel like he's given me hope and made me feel li [...]



  • This book started out so great.I was seventeen when I saw my first dead body. For me, it just didn't sustain that initial pull. The format flipflops between two stories, culminating in their inevitable collision. I loved the chapters which focussed on Cullen Witter. He's a seventeen year old boy, dealing with more than his share of problems. (see above). His younger brother Gabriel disappears one day, leaving no clue behind. I was riveted by his story. We watch as his world slowly crumbles. He's [...]




  • Well, I read this book in about a day, so that's a good indication that I enjoyed it. I liked Cullen as a narrator; his voice and perspective kept me hooked. I also enjoyed most of the secondary characters he interacted with, Lucas especially. I am not from the South, nor from a small town, but Whaley did a good job of portraying that atmosphere, and how everyone knew everyone (and their business, to a point). I didn't even mind when Cullen would slip into his third-person narrative briefly ("Wh [...]


  • "It was one of those moments when you're waiting on someone to say something important or funny or just do anything to break you away from the sad thoughts that overwhelm your mind. Thoughts like never having enough money to move away or not getting into college. Thoughts like having to come back to take care of a sick parent and getting stuck here all over again. That's what happened in Lily. People dreamed. People left. And they all came back."Winner of the Printz Award for excellence in young [...]


  • I'm gonna be a good Adam and come back to review this over the weekend 'cause seriously, I was WOW'ed. This book is now on my favorites shelf. Why I put the book off this long was beyond me. I highlighted the hell out of this book to the point where my highlighter was drying out. For those who know me, you know I'm rather inhuman. I rarely cry in real life and have never cried over a book. I came close with a devastating scene in "Mockingjay", a super devastating scene in "Okay for Now", and the [...]


  • I appreciate some books, but I don't necessarily enjoy them. This is one of those times. Weaving together 2 seemingly disparate stories, Whaley explores small town life, family, hope, and second chances. More of a character study than a plot-driven novel. The constant switching between first person and third person kept me from falling into a reading flow and makes me question what really happened at the end. I look forward to reading more books from Whaley in the future; this is an excellent de [...]



  • Enjoyed this wee book, but struggled a little with the pace sometimes which was slow. Interesting layers and twists, like the characters a lot. So nice to see good friendships in a story! Teens who love a bit of a twist along with love, loss and friendship/family tales will enjoy.


  • Warning: Huge spoilers in this review. Absolutely do not read unless you have already read it, will never read it, or completely do not care that I will give away the biggest secret of the story.OK, having said thatI couldn't stand this book. I would have put it down two chapters in, except for my book club. They all insisted it would be good because it won the Printz Award, and I try hard to finish all book club books. Prior to the spoiler, two things, mostly. 1. This book was clearly not pitch [...]


  • The summer before his senior year of high school throws Cullen Witter for a number of loops—his cousin dies of an overdose, his small town in Arkansas becomes obsessed with the alleged reappearance of a woodpecker that had been extinct for more than 60 years, and his beloved brother, 15-year-old Gabriel, inexplicably disappears. Cullen is unsure how to handle this loss, and is only able to cope with the support of his best friend, Lucas, and channeling his rage into the media frenzy that has g [...]


  • Let me start off by saying that I think I really wanted to like this book a whole lot more than I did. Don't get me wrong, I did really enjoy this. However, from what I heard about it and expected going into it, I think I wanted this to be a solid 5/5 wonderful, new favorite, etc. And while it was a unique, beautiful, thought-provoking story, I felt like it was just shy of that 100%. So really I give this more of a 4.5/5. C'mon , where is that half star?This story stands alone from others. The w [...]


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