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April 8th, 2012
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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.
Look, its hard for me to give a 5 out of a 5 on a book. I used to just hand it out like it was free candy or something. But once I became a blogger, and really started reading books, not just for pleasure, but to really see what books were good, I started handing them out less. You have to earn that five out of five. You have to show me you deserve it.
John Corey Whaley did just that. I had seen him at a panel at the Festival of Books with Andrew Smith (literary god), Rainbow Rowell (the FEEEELS), E. Lockhart (I gotta get my hands on her new book) and Aaron Hartzler (can he be my best friend?). He was funny, his book sounded amazing and I was like, I gotta do this. I developed a massive crush on him that day.
And okay, he’s awesomely gay and has a boyfriend and whatnot, but whatever, people. I can so have a crush on him. I have a best friend crush on him. Or something. Moving on.
I saw him again at Ontario Teen Book Fest, and since I was the resident blogger for that, I was able to spend a bit of time with him, and he was just awesome. He was SO funny, and he told me that Godzilla was his fictional crush, and that Grasshopper Jungle would be the book he wished he had as a teen and I was like, this man is beautiful and I need to read his books.
So when my sister brought home Noggin from the library, I grabbed it from her, and proceeded to read it. She was angry because she’s the one that got it, but I told her I’d finish it before she would even crack it open and I was right.
This book is BRILLIANT. The whole time that I was in Travis’ head, I was a mess of emotions. This kid has it totally rough and I was on his side the whole time. So many people were getting angry and mad at him, getting upset at the way he was acting but they didn’t understand. He was pushing best friend and his girlfriend for things that seemed strange and wrong to them but it felt right to him. Imagine going to sleep tonight, and waking up, and everyone you knew was five years older, and had moved on without you. That’s pretty much exactly what happens with Travis. He never expects to wake up, and if he does, its going to be long after the people he’s known has been gone. He never expects to feel like it was a nap. He still wants his best friend in his life, he still loves his girlfriend incredibly and to have them moved on without him is so hard and I was on Travis’ side the whole time.
When you first read the synopsis, you’re thinking its a sort of science fiction book but its definitely not. Travis’ head is frozen, and they figure out a way to reawaken it on another body just a mere five years after his “death”. That’s where the science fiction ends. The story is of Travis struggling to find his place in the world where he is a rare thing, and where the world has moved on without him. He literally has to tackle this, without the people he’s always relied on, and they’ve done it already, they know who they are, they’ve moved past and its incredible and real. Corey writes this book so well, and there are parts when I want to laugh, and there are parts where I want to cry and there’s more than one part where I’m like, I would hate to be him. I would both love that idea of a second chance at life but hate that everyone had moved on without me. How hard, how emotional for anyone.
John Corey Whaley is an incredible author, and I have his first novel in my TBR pile, waiting for me to come and dive in soon. I can’t wait to read more by him because he tells a great story, and he has a way of balancing humor and romance and basic human emotion in one gigantic beautiful story.
5 out of 5 Stars