Saturday, February 7, 2015

Review: Noggin by John Corey Whaley

Title: Noggin
Author: John Corey Whaley
Publication: April 8th 2014, Atheneum Books For Young Readers
Format: ARC, 344 pages
Source: Kai of Amaterasu Reads! Special thanks to Dianne of Oops I Read A Book Again for sending it in!
Buy it on: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | The Book Depository | Kobo | National Book Store / Fully Booked (PH)


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.

Misfit Review:

Change scares us all. Whether it's good or bad, change is inevitable and stopping it may not be possible. Travis Coates would have to learn it the hard way after his head was cryogenically frozen for five years. He finds out that the people he loves move forward while everything about him has fallen into a complete stand-still.

Noggin is the story of Travis Coates, a 16 year old who had to go surgery because his body has been swarmed by cancer cell. The only thing that wasn't affected was his head. And he had to be reattached to a guy named Jeremy Pratt, who's head was removed from him because of a brain tumor. One day he wakes up to find he has been asleep for 5 years, his head on top of a new body. He's also learned that he's 16 again and would have to deal with that all over again. His friends from 5 years ago are still there, but now have lives of their own. He now has to deal with people who see him as a miracle boy while also trying to get back the things he thinks he lost.

I was a bit skeptical at first by Noggin but since I liked odd stories, I submerged myself to the book. But then, even with it's weirdness, it tells a theme that is all very familiar to us: CHANGE. With Travis, he doesn't want anything to do with the change that went on as he fell asleep and everyone changed. He didn't want his girlfriend, excuse me, ex-girlfriend Cate, marrying a guy named Turner, his parents are acting odd and the world that was so easy and chill for him, turned into a media uproar as well. 

Travis insists on everything, as to how he believes it, which would make him quite an annoying character to deal with, but you kind of know from the back of your head, that it is coming from somewhere. Take the deal with Kyle for example. He knows the truth and he insists that Kyle tell the truth because that's how it is and that's something he has to adjust to in the first part. Then there was the deal with Cate. He doesn't want to let it go. He insist that Cate loves him and would come back running to him once he returns but then she seems happy with her new boyfriend. His interactions with Cate as he tries to get her back where heartbreaking, disturbing at some cases but then, again, heartbreaking because, who would not want to be with their first love? Things just don't go back to the way it was when everyone has shifted to the present and your head is still stuck in the past.

Travis Coates is a character that is easy to love. Heck, every character in the novel is somehow, even with fault, difficult to hate for what they do. There's always a valid reason to them, if you can really call it valid. An example would be of Travis' parents. They were a mess, they had to to what they gotta do but you can't seem to tell them to leave you alone. As a reader, I wanted them to be there.

You get the fun of reading the novel at the first part then slowly but surely it gets deep. I read this book out loud the whole time, so I always just read it in my room, and I find it easier to appreciate Travis' wit by doing so. Also getting to read it out loud made me vulnerable to the emotions of the characters. That scene with his Mom in the living room, I bawled. I had to lock the door and cried my sad eyes out on my pillow. Yes, my parents didn't need to hear me crying. If you guys remembered that one book I cried over from and then knowing their reaction to it, it was bad... So I had to use countermeasure. Anyway, I probably cried the Mesopotamian River in many cases in the book actually.

Noggin was not difficult to read or understand but it was difficult for my heart because it kept hurting me. This is the first John Corey Whaley book I have ever read and now I consider him one of my favorites and would gulf down Where Things Come Back after I convince a friend to lend it to me. I'll be sure to beg properly.

He brings so much life to his characters that it feels like I could really touch them.Their conversations are minimalist, not too complicated. It's just something you'd expect to hear or read from a 21 year old guy stuck in a 16 year old's body talking about practically ruining a relationship with his friends. Again, it's so easy to just drown yourself in the words that he weaves and in the situations that are hard to skip from. He's just real smart and amazing and I'll be sure to look out for more of his novels!

Noggin is a wonderful surprise. It's funny yet heartbreaking. It leaves you with a message about trying to move on from the things you might never have and that good things might even happen in the end. So grab a copy of Noggin and get your head stuck in the beautiful pages.

About The Author:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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.

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