Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley Book Review

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley is a great read for the literary minded YA fan. It is slightly reminiscent of the Catcher In The Rye, only the main character Cullen Witter is lot more optimistic than Holden Caufield. Cullen lives in the small town of Lily, Arkansas. It is boring town without much going on.

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley Book Cover

Where Things Come Back

However, he does not go it alone. Cullen has a best friend named Lucas who is a true delight to read about. Lucas is genuine, cool, and a wonderful friend. In addition, Cullen has a little brother, Gabriel who is an individual marching to the beat of his own drum. One day an ornithologist comes to town claiming the Lazarus Woodpecker, previously thought to be extinct, is in Lily. This ignites a tourism boom in the small town. It is bizarre, however, not the strangest thing to happen, as Cullen’s brother Gabriel disappears out of thin air.

“Only I can’t seem to keep that up for too long before my natural urge to idealize goes into effect. I can’t seem to be a pessimist long enough to overlook the possibility of things being overwhelmingly good.”

pg. 5

Interwoven is the story of a missionary in Africa who loses faith. Eventually the stories interconnect in a weird way. I wasn’t too keen on this. It felt a bit convoluted, to be honest. I thought the missionary storyline disrupted Whaley’s natural flow.

However, that is my only criticism of Where Things Come Back. I found this book to be beautifully written. It is full of symbolism and metaphor. Where Things Come Back is perfect for the reader who wants intellectual stimulation within their books, or for someone looking for books in a style that is similar to Catcher In The Rye.

A few more quotes that I loved:

“When one’s slightly shy but sometimes entertaining and dramatic little brother quickly leans in and hugs him tightly, he begins to think about writing a book or making a movie where good guys and bad guys don’t shoot each other or fight with swords, but just hug each other to death.”


“He imagines heaven to be not some huge city with streets of gold and tall, white buildings, but a simple room filled with just enough of the good people to make him smile and feel like the center of attention as he tells a funny joke or talks about a new idea for a book.”

pg. 46


And finally my favorite:

“My cynicism has been known, from time to time to get me into accidental trouble. I was especially cynical in groups, perhaps feeling that a witty cut-down about a stranger would earn me the respect and admiration of friends. This rarely worked. You can only act like a jerk so many times before people stop listening to you. Gabriel broke me of this habit one night after I made fun of a couple leaving a movie theater. “You act like you hate everyone. It must be exhausting.” And, having no response, I decided he was right.”

pg. 47

Disclosure: Received for review via Amazon Vine.

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Ten Cent Notes

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by April (Books&Wine)

April is 26 years old and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. In her free time she can be found reading, working out, or eating junk food. She often wears her sunglasses at night.

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