Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Where Things Come Back

Where Things Come Back

4.1 46
by John Corey Whaley

See All Formats & Editions

Winner of the 2012 Michael L. Printz and William C. Morris Awards, this poignant and hilarious story of loss and redemption “explores the process of grief, second chances, and even the meaning of life” (Kirkus Reviews).

In the remarkable, bizarre, and heart-wrenching summer before Cullen Witter’s senior year of high school, he is

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Where Things Come Back 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 46 reviews.
AvidReaderinBoston1 More than 1 year ago
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.
Kasia1021 More than 1 year ago
Not your typical storyline. This story was a light read that grabbed me from the very beginning and wouldn't let go. Cullen lives in Lily, Arkansas, a small town that soon finds itself in national headlines due to the sighting of an extinct woodpecker. What happens next, though, is unreal. His brother Gabriel goes missing, and the story continues in the aftermath of Gabriel's disappearance without a trace. Cullen tries going on with his life, but struggles with it at the same time, and all the while making fun of the gentleman who claims to have spotted the return of the extinct bird, even laughing at the absurdity of the town changing their image to highlight the notorious Lazarus woodpecker. Powerful storytelling at it's best. A must read!
Wolfa-girl More than 1 year ago
This story was unusual and strange is the best possible way. The plot is absolutely brilliant! This book combines teenage problems, society flaws, young love, and mystery. The protagonists are endearing and humorous, while the antagonists are - well, hate-able. You'll be guessing (in the good way) throughout the book. Bear with it, cause it gets good!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing , in very many instances it made me cry and it made me laugh , I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good read. Although a review had said that the book was religious it is not, it had mentioned a bit on the religious topic,but not too much to overwhelm and bore people, it gave enough insight on the topic to make it understandable ,that is all. Thank you to whoever read my review, hope this helped. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Literally, the best book I have ever read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing, truly beautiful book that really stands out. In the bittersweetly heartbreaking style of John Green's books, Where Things Come Back is a truly memorable experience that all young adults and adults alike should give a chance. This book deserves to be next to Looking For Alaska and The Fault In Our Stars on everyone' s shelf +++ MNC
Buttercup_theCat More than 1 year ago
Funny interesting and intriguing. I enjoyed watching the two stories collide into one John does a great Job
RoxCandy97 More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful book about never giving up and exceptional faith
Kallie_Noel More than 1 year ago
True that there is a religious layer to the novel, but it is not endorsed. At first, I thought it was overwhelming. However, it is merely there to explain an unpopular and unknown religion. The novel includes a few seemingly unconnected stories that are tied together later. At one point I was so shocked and depressed that I did not want to keep reading because i feared a tragic ending. I continued since I do not have the ability to put down a book once I have started. To say the least, I was not disappointed. An easy read. One day if you have the time and will. I would recommend for not only teenagers, but parents as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story line was awesome & i love the way the two stories line up!
steelerchick1103 More than 1 year ago
Really liked this book :). It had a good story line and enough action, eve at the beginning to keep me interested. You bet I'll be reading this book again!!!!
konk More than 1 year ago
So good. I really cared what happened in this book. I flew through it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was so addicted to this book. It is now my favorite novel that I have ever read. I love the uniquness of the plot and how the two stories told intertwine in such a suprising way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A charming book but not so charming you want to throw up. Reminds me of John Green's books. Perfect for a "pallet cleanser" read as well but strong enough to stand on its own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Lily, Arkansas is a hopeless place full of sad people who tried to leave but failed. Cullen Witter, like a lot of people, wants desperately to get out of this stifling small town. The summer before his senior year in high school Cullen sees his first corpse. Then he sees the body of his cousin who overdosed on drugs. Later, after the corpses and the end of school, the entire town becomes obsessed with a woodpecker--long thought extinct--who may or may not be hiding in the woods around Lily. Stranger still, Cullen's brilliant brother, Gabriel, disappears. Chapters from Cullen's first person narration are interspersed with third-person narratives from two unlikely missionaries. Other reviews will talk about these stories entwining in strange and surprising ways. They might also call this novel a mystery. I disagree with both statements. Whaley's debut novel was the winner of both the 2012 Printz Award and the 2012 Morris Award. While the prose is extremely literary, I contend there is very little mystery in this story. The narratives are not particularly shocking in the ways in which they overlap or the general story. Given the plot structure, the big reveal was ultimately predictable. Where Things Come Back is about nothing so much as it is about waiting. The town is waiting for a woodpecker to return and change its fate. Cullen is waiting for his chance to get away and also for a simpler but much harder thing: the return of his missing brother. There are interesting ideas to be unpacked in this world of waiting--ideas that Whaley does examine in interesting ways. Unfortunately that is never quite enough to make the story into a page-turner or anything more than a thoughtful, brief, meditation on the randomness of life. Writerly prose can be found throughout the story which works in some instances to help Cullen develop a very unique voice. At the same time, it always feels like this novel is trying very hard to be thoughtful and contemplative in a way that feels forced. Cullen's mind wanders throughout the narrative as he goes off on tangents. While these flights of fancy are amusing (as Cullen imagines his town overrun by zombies and the like) they distract from the plot immensely. The structure reminded me so much of the "If you give a mouse a cookie" books that it became the only thing I could imagine as I read these imaginings. Worse, these elements added nothing to the story except to create a titillating ending that leaves a tiny bit of room for discussion. By the end of the story, Where Things Come Back became a strange and arbitrary novel with a mildly interesting (and very open) ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was nothing like I expected it to be but everything I didn't know I wanted in a book at that time. If you think at any point in this story  that you can predict what's next, you will continuously be proven wrong. For someone who is not religious, this book had interesting moments of religious discussion and a realisitc portrayal of religion in different young adults' lives. However, it is not a book about religion. It is a book about just how intertwined we all can be with a beautifully painful depiction of life as a young adult with characters so endearing, beautiful, complex, funny, and unique you will find it difficult not to love them all if just for being imperfectly human. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was honestly expecting more from this book. The awards and favorite authors commenting on the genius of this book made me pick it up. I was a bit let down and bored. It was still an interesting story and I finished it. However, this fell a bit flat for me and I am an avid reader of YA Fiction
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
god it's amazing, there's so much going on and even though the book isn't exceptionally sad the whole time, you feel the bitterness in your heart and oh my god
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow!!! Just wow!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Honestly, I thought this book was amazing.  If you like John Green, you're sure to like this book.  It's a wonderful coming-of-age novel, and I'm surprised that it's not more popular, considering its awards and overall greatness.  The plot is good, no complaints about anything.  The ending  is sure to give you something to talk about/debate, to.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was in fear the whole way through that I was going to be left without closure, and thankfully I was fulfilled with a happy ending but there are definite unanswered questions I remain with. However, I'm far from disappointed, I loved the connected story and feel as if the author portrayed all of the characters just enough for an intelligent person to fill in all of the missing pieces.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago