Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Noggin by John Corey Whaley

So they froze Travis' head in the most scientific way possible. No, really, they cut off his head to save his life and then reattached it to someone else's body. Let me back up: Travis had cancer. He did everything possible, but nothing worked. So his parents agreed to a radical solution - remove Travis's head until science caught up and a donor body became available. No one knew at the time that it would only take five years.

For Travis, it is like waking up from a nap where no time passed. In reality, no one really expected Travis to return - at least not so soon. His parents went through the mourning process. His only real friend, Kyle, graduated from high school is off at college. His girlfriend Cate is now engaged.

This is not a science fiction story with some creepy head transplanted creature walking around. Nor is it a wacky comedy. It is actually a serious story (with humor) studying what happens when a young man is left behind by the entire world. Five years have passed and he is still 16 years old. He was dead to the world, and then he came back.

Travis cannot accept that his girlfriend is engaged. To him, they just said goodbye, but Cate has had five years to graduate from high school, go to college and meet someone new. She accepted Travis' 'death,' and moved on. Getting her back becomes his obsession and ultimately the focus for how his life has changed (whether he likes it nor not).

I hope people are not put off by what might seem to be a silly premise. This is a unique story of mourning and rediscovery.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library and the author's site.

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