Finalist, National Book Awards 2014 for Young People's Literature

Noggin, by John Corey Whaley
ISBN 9781442458727
Atheneum Books for Young Readers/ Simon & Schuster
John Corey Whaley photo by Ashley Bankston
John Corey Whaley

John Corey Whaley is a former teacher from Springhill, Louisiana. Where Things Come Back is his first novel. He was named a Spring 2011 Flying Start Author by Publishers Weekly. More about this author >

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The in-between part is still a little fuzzy, but Travis 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.

Judges Citation

While Noggin’s premise blends Rip Van Winkle with science fiction, John Corey Whaley’s contemporary novel is a thoughtful and humorous story of love and friendship. Travis Coates, a teenager whose head was detached from his cancer-ridden body, frozen, and attached to another body five years later, attempts to reconnect with family and friends, all of whom have moved on with their lives. It is a tale of wisdom, compassion, and the occasional cluelessness of youth.