Customer Reviews for

Where Things Come Back

Average Rating 4
( 39 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(22)

4 Star

(8)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(3)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

I'm astounded at the anonymous review posted April 12, 2012 and

I'm astounded at the anonymous review posted April 12, 2012 and feel compelled to respond. Although religion influences the action of some characters, I didn't find the book to be about religion. The environmental movement influences the actions of other characters, b...
I'm astounded at the anonymous review posted April 12, 2012 and feel compelled to respond. Although religion influences the action of some characters, I didn't find the book to be about religion. The environmental movement influences the actions of other characters, but the book isn't about environmentalism, either. I happened to read this book before knowing that it received any awards, and without reading much in the way of reviews, and I found it to the best coming-of-age novel since The Catcher in the Rye. The ending was perfect; heartwarming without being saccharine. When I learned about the awards WTCB has received, I wasn't surprised, of course, but once the stickers started showing up on the book's cover, I began to wish everyone could discover this gem of a novel on their own, without the preconceptions that come from learning about awards and reviews. My recommendation to prospective readers is to not be too influenced by my, or anyone's, viewpoint. Savor this book for its subtle complexities, as well as its marvelously dry hilarity, and treasure it for yourself.

posted by AvidReaderinBoston1 on June 26, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

I really thought I was going to like this book, and there were

I really thought I was going to like this book, and there were some moments that made me think I would like it. However, I had some major issues with it, mostly I got the feeling that the author wanted to portray Cullen (the main character) as someone that had no idea ...
I really thought I was going to like this book, and there were some moments that made me think I would like it. However, I had some major issues with it, mostly I got the feeling that the author wanted to portray Cullen (the main character) as someone that had no idea why he did the things he did but at the same time Cullen also seemed to have a pretty good idea of who he was. Another thing that made me not like this book is the fact that people seemed to do things for no reason at all except that the author wanted them too. I think we didn't really get to know any of the characters in this book, especially Cullen's brother. I just felt like I had no idea why they did what they did throught the whole book, even though the author tried to explain what they were like. Most of the book told from the point of view of Cullen but the author does this annoying thing where he switches points of view, one minute Cullen will be saying "I did...." and the next he says something like "when one sees....he feels...he imagines" this happens at the end of almost every chapter and I think, was supposed to be used to show something but really just got on my nerves. I was not aware that this book was going to be so religious and the way it was religious really bothered me, I also found the whole 'second' story to be very unlikely and just weird. The Book of Enoch was mentioned a lot without really telling the reader why it was so important other than that it was banned, and it did not explain anything. The character Cabot (who is half of the second story) just seemed to suddenly switch from normal to crazy with no warning and no prompt. It was just ridiculous and unbelievable. It seemed like the author was just trying to find a way to tie things together. The plot had many interesting ways it could of gone and I was disappointed in the way it ended (which is the only reason I kept reading it, to see what happened). I suppose this book was just not for me, as some people seem to think it's very good but I feel as if I wasted my time reading it and gained nothing from it.

posted by Anonymous on April 12, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2013

    Loved this book!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2012

    Rivera, where things come back

    I really did not like this book it was all over the place it told to many stories all at once and i think it would have been better if it would have told one story and then moved to the next story and explained how it connected to the other one. When i would finish one chapter i could get that one and thaught it was good then it would swich to something compleatly different. So, i did not like this book and i will not be recomending it to any other readers.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2012

    Wait?

    Did the brother die or not?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2013

    Excellent book

    It was well written, unique, and absolutely magical

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  • Posted January 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Pretty Good Read

    In the long tradition of ¿Coming-of-Age¿ novels Where Things Come Back stands firmly above the middle of the pack. Referenced inside of this book was The Catcher in the Rye and you can see the similarities resting mostly below the surface, but sometimes held high above the story. Admittedly, I¿m not the biggest fan of the Coming-of-Age novel, and I usually think that they¿re a bit pompous and self-serving, but I really did enjoy this novel. I think that categorizing this one as a YA novel does it a bit of a disservice. Largely because the protagonist is a teenager, WTCB will be considered a book for teenagers. But ¿ and I¿m not holding it up quite as highly, it¿s just a comparison ¿ The Catcher in the Rye is not considered to be solely a YA novel. Everyone, it seems, is fighting over the newly ¿hot¿ teenage market and, if written today, The Catcher in the Rye would not be held as highly as it is at this point because it would be labeled and coded as being for only teenagers. I should start talking about the book this review is about instead of the book it¿s hoping to be. WTCB was very large in scope (for a 228p book) and tied most of the story lines together fairly well. Using different literary devices the author was able to bring different strings together in a way that was refreshing at the same time I wanted it to be annoying. Although the story sometimes seemed disjointed, tied together well enough that I was mostly happy by the ending. My only problem with the book was that I felt that the author got too close to the characters or story and didn¿t want to make some of the decisions he should have made. Or, possibly, he wanted to embrace the ambiguity of modern art. This, in the end, makes the book feel more like some sort of literary fiction and less like a YA novel. This isn¿t meant to be bad, or good, but it does express the feeling I had at the end of the book. 3/5

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  • Posted July 27, 2011

    Fantastic Read -- Buy this book!

    Where Things Come Back is a very intelligent, beautifully written debut literary novel. Whaley has created two plotlines intricately woven together that will both surprise and entertain readers. In one plotline, readers get a first-person point of view of Cullen, who goes through different stages of grief as he tries to deal with his brother's disappearance. In the second plotline, readers get a less concrete, third-person account of Benton and then Cabot, as they struggle to discover a way to change the world. Meanwhile, there is the giant Lazarus Woodpecker "flying around" in the background. Although it may appear that the story is about a small town and the return of a thought-to-be extinct bird, it is really not. It is a story is about zombies (just kidding.kinda). It is about a misguided obsession. It is about second chances. It is about Cullen and his relationship with his brother, his best friend, and his family.

    Whaley does a great job with characterization. Though cynical at times, Cullen also showed hope and despair, presenting a well-rounded character. The reader was able to see his desire to get the heck out of his small town, his hatred for "that damn bird" and its overwhelming popularity, his sense of helplessness upon losing a brother. This helped create a closeness with Cullen that a reader should feel with the protagonist of a story. The brother dynamic was interesting because though Cullen was older than his brother, Gabriel is almost worshiped by Cullen. Gabriel is such an awesome character; it is easy to see why he is so respected by his older brother. Another character that I really enjoyed is Lucas, Cullen's best friend. He brings an element of cheerfulness into the Witter's home that masks his own hardships. Though Cullen may have been annoyed with him at times, he was very dependent upon Lucas's friendship. As for the other plotline, I was not really sure what is going through the minds of Benton and Cabot. This intentional vagueness gives both characters an air of mystery that is essential to the plot. I have to admit I was very confused in the first couple chapters and I desperately was trying to make connections between the two plotlines. Reader, be patient and trust your author, because it is brilliantly executed.


    I picked this novel up because Sasha (Sash & Em) invited me to come along to a YA book club and author visit in Alexandria, VA. Being unfamiliar with the author and book, I decided to give it a try. I am so glad I did! Corey Whaley is my new favorite author! Also known as the "woodpecker guy" (he even has a tattoo to match his nickname), Whaley is from a small town in Louisiana, off which Lily, AR is modeled. He is charming and witty-he kept us laughing throughout the book club. He noted that while there were components that are autobiographical, the similarities are becoming more apparent now, years after writing the book, than they were initially. An interesting fact is the story idea was inspired by a NPR interview with Whaley's favorite folk singer, Sufjan Stevens, about a small farming town and the return of an extinct woodpecker. Listen to the interview here. Another interesting fact, the cover is designed to look like a concert poster. I liked the cover before, but knowing makes me appreciate it more! This novel is awesome! And I cannot wait for Whaley's next novel (it has something to do with his favorite word, "defenestration").

    Follow Corey Whaley on twitter @Corey_Whaley.

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    Posted October 8, 2013

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    Posted August 18, 2013

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    Posted July 10, 2011

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    Posted December 14, 2011

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    Posted April 15, 2012

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    Posted January 12, 2013

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    Posted February 27, 2011

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    Posted November 4, 2012

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    Posted April 30, 2011

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    Posted September 28, 2013

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    Posted July 26, 2011

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    Posted May 7, 2012

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    Posted October 16, 2012

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