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Monday, May 18, 2015

[REVIEW] Noggin by John Corey Whaley


Author: John Corey Whaley
Genre: YA Contemporary, Sci-fi
Published: April 8th 2014 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Purchase from: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
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.


My thoughts

Equal parts funny and thought-provoking. Noggin will make you think twice about life, death and everything that comes after.

I think this book is absolutely brilliant and unique. I've never read anything like this before. The author delivered an original concept and a story that sneaks its way into the hearts of the readers with its humor and poignancy.

Noggin has a bit of a sci-fi premise, but the writing is contemporary through and through. Travis's voice is strong and honest that he immediately won me over. It's easy to be all self-righteous about the whole thing and tell Travis to just grow up and move on. But seeing it from Travis's perspective, it's really complicated. For him, he just went to sleep, woke up and everything's changed. His 'before' and 'after' life are divided by just one deep sleep. How fucked-up is that? You go to sleep and wake up to a world five years older where everyone's moved on without you. The author never once let me forget that fact. And even though Travis has done pretty stupid things, I can't help but pity him. I laughed and cringed and gasped and even cried a bit. This book is such a roller-coaster ride. (Come here, Travis. Let me give you a hug!)

It's also nice that Travis found a friend in Hatton and reconnected with Kyle. I believed his friendship with these two lovable characters played a big part in Travis's recovery and adjustment. Seriously, Kyle and Hatton are just adorbs! Love them to bits!

I liked that despite all that happened while Travis was 'asleep' and all that he did when he woke up, he eventually started to find his way to moving on. Looking at it from Travis's perspective, it's really frustrating but he had his friends and his family to support him and that helped a lot.

I must admit I was a bit wary at first, what with the amazing reviews on Goodreads and the unbelievable blurb. But I was also curious and intrigued that I just knew I had to read this book. And Noggin didn't disappoint. It's hilarious and deep and honest. This is one hell of a book!

My favorite lines

Some people say that dying alone is a fate worse than death itself. Well, they should try being alone during the living part sometimes. There's no quicker way to make you wonder why the hell you ever thought you'd want to return.
We fake it sometimes, don't we? We go along with impossible things because we have to survive when life starts getting too dark. And, well, usually we never have to deal with the too-good-to-be-true thing actually becoming true. But when it does, I can tell you that the pretending gets a lot harder.

It made me realize that no matter how often you see or talk to someone, no matter how much you know them or don't know them, you always fill up some space in their lives that can't ever be replaced the right way again once you leave it.

You have to forget about people when you can't have them anymore. That's the only way to be okay, I think -- to forget how they looked and sounded and left Post-it notes on your desk and told you they'd come back from the dead someday.
Secrets, he said, will boil under your skin until it feels like every time you speak, every time you look in the mirror, every time you hug someone or kiss someone or tell someone you love them, it feels like you're going to die.
They say you can fall out of love with someone just as easily as you fall into it. But is that also the case when the person you love dies? Do you have to fall in love with someone else?

When one of us is dying, they say a part of all of us is. I think that's why it hurts. We go our whole lives losing little chunks until we can't lose any more of them.

She said it's too easy to get hung up on people the way we do. I mean, that we all get one person to be ours and that's it. We should look at it differently. We all get lots of people. And maybe we don't always get to have them the exact way we want them, but if we can figure out a way to compromise, you know, then we can keep them all.
We have to tell people it's okay even when we know it isn't. That's what we say to people we love when we realize that maybe we can't have them the way we want them.
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Julie @ Books and Insomnia

Julie is a Filipina blogger who pretends she has insomnia so she can stay up late reading. When she's not buried in books, she can be found watching anime, drinking chocolate-flavored instant coffee, lurking on the internet, daydreaming and talking about herself in third person. She loves purple and anything sweet!

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