Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Noggin by John Corey Whaley

2.5 Stars

I would say I “didn’t get” this story, but seriously . . .

The idea of Noggin was great . . .

“Everything can go from fine and dandy to dark and depressing faster than you can say ‘acute lymphoblastic leukemia.’”

When Travis Coates was diagnosed with terminal cancer as a 16-year old boy, he was offered a potential second chance . . . .

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Travis chose to roll the dice and have his head cryogenically frozen. What he didn’t plan on was the technology moving so fast and him “waking up” a mere five years later. Here’s where the problems started for me. Like I said, the idea was totally original. Unfortunately, the execution left much to be desired. Travis returns to his former life expecting everything to pretty much have remained status quo. And there were some life lessons and quotable quotes included in the story . . .

“We go along with impossible things because we have to survive when life starts getting too dark.”

The majority of the time, though? There was an awful lot of me wanting to kick Travis in the nads. Being a person who is raising a teenager, I understand that Travis was probably waaaaaay more realistic than the average YA character. Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut, in this case I needed him to not be. To begin with, Travis re-friends his former (gay) bestie, only to find out that said bestie now bats for the hetero team. I’m not even going to get into the argument about sexuality being something that can be measured on a gradient rather than set in stone, but focus on the fact that JUST ACCEPT YOUR F-ING FRIEND FOR WHO HE IS! I mean, here’s a 20-something who has a dead 16 year old thrown back in his life and is just supposed to be cool with that. Does it really matter if your gay friend is no longer gay?????

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Which leads us to Travis’ other obsession – his old girlfriend. Said old girlfriend has also aged 5 years, and although she said she’d wait forever no one really believed Travis would come back from the dead so she moved on and is now engaged to someone else. That’s not okay with Travis, though, and he makes it his mission to plant himself in her path as much as possible because he’s positive she’ll see she’s made a mistake . . . .

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She’s just not that into you, Travis. And also? You’re a minor and she probably doesn’t want to be sitting across the table from Chris Hansen anytime soon.

This story had tons of potential, and the fact that it was a National Book Award finalist had me believing it was really going to be something special. Sadly I found it to be the same tired out tropes I’ve read in YA fiction a bazillion times before.

HOWEVER my friend TL had a completely opposite reaction to this book, so maybe you’ll love it too?

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