Noggin by John Corey Whaley
Review by Lauren
In Stores April 8th!
copy from publisher, but all opinions are my own
Official Summary: Listen—Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t.
Now he's alive again.
Simple as that.
The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but he can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he's still 16 and everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she's not his girlfriend anymore? That's a bit fuzzy too.
Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, then there are going to be a few more scars.
Oh well, you only live twice.
Review: To be honest, I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book when I first picked it up. I wasn't a huge fan of the title or the cover, as it made the story seem a bit immature. I want to mention this for those of you who may have first thoughts similar to mine because I can safely say now that I highly enjoyed this book. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to read the book and get inside the head (pun intended) of Travis Coates.
Travis was sixteen and dying of cancer. There was no chance of his recovery, so he talked his parents into allowing him to join a science experiment. They would cut off his head, freeze it, and maybe sometime in the future he could be brought back to life. He never really thought it would work, and definitely not in five years time. Now, he's sixteen all over again, and he has to deal with his best friend Kyle and girlfriend Cate having grown up without him. Not to mention being stuck on another guys' body instead of his own. Travis is definitely having a rough "second life."
I liked that the overall story is a typical coming-of-age. Travis' life is different from most (there is only one other person who has successfully survived this experiment) but he still has to deal with typical teenage situations like girls, friends, and family life. It's weird to imagine someone coming back to life, but Whaley made it seem realistic. There wasn't a lot of details concerning the science, but there didn't really have to be. It makes sense that something like this could exist, and besides, the after-effects are much more interesting.
There were moments in the book where you wanted to shake Travis into reality. His emotions were stuck in the past, while those he most cared about had grown up. It was easy to see both sides of their situations, but it's hard to see Travis continually reach for something you don't think he can get. He's a character you grow to care for and understand though. As are the rest of the characters. I especially liked Travis' new friend, Hatton. He's obsessed with girls, always speaking his mind, and pretty hilarious.
In the end, if you aren't sure about this book, I would suggest giving it a try. You might be pleasantly surprised!