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Comment: exlibrary hardcover book in jacket with light wear, shows some light reader wear throughout ,all the usual library marks and stamps.
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Noggin Hardcover – April 8, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—Travis Coates, 16, is dying of cancer, so he accepts an offer from a cryogenic group to have his head removed and frozen with the hope that it would be attached to another body in the future and he could be reanimated. Five years later, he "wakes up" with a new body and is still 16. There are a few minor problems with his new life-he is a celebrity/freak and gets more attention than he wants, he has to get used to a body that has different abilities than his old one, and he has to go to school with kids he doesn't know. The biggest problem is that Travis's best friend and his girlfriend are now 21 years old and have moved on with their lives while he feels like he has simply taken a nap. Cate is engaged and not interested in in a relationship with a teenager. Travis is obsessed with the idea that he can win her back and won't accept her repeated "no." He tries various means to convince her that he's still the one for her: some hilarious, some touching, some inappropriate, but all definitely sophomoric. The premise of the story is interesting although far-fetched. The author does a good job of describing the emotions and reactions of all of the characters, but Travis's fixation on Cate becomes tiresome and a plot twist at the end feels like it was thrown in just to make the story longer.—Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Travis Coates has lost his head—literally. As he dies from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, his head is surgically removed and cryogenically frozen. Five years pass, and, thanks to advances in medical science, it becomes possible to reanimate his head and attach it to a donor body. Travis Coates is alive again, but while his family and friends are all 5 years older, Travis hasn’t aged—he is still 16 and a sophomore in high school. Awkward? Difficult? Puzzling? You bet. In the past, the two people he could have talked to about this were his best friend, Kyle, and his girlfriend, Cate. But now they’re part of the problem. Kyle, who came out to Travis on his deathbed, has gone back into the closet, and Cate is engaged to be married. Stubbornly, Travis vows to reverse these developments by coaxing Kyle out of the closet and persuading Cate to fall in love with him again. How this plays out is the substance of this wonderfully original, character-driven second novel. Whaley has written a tour de force of imagination and empathy, creating a boy for whom past, present, and future come together in an implied invitation to readers to wonder about the very nature of being. A sui generis novel of ideas, Noggin demands much of its readers, but it offers them equally rich rewards. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Whaley’s sleeper debut, Where Things Come Back (2011), won both the Michael L. Printz Award and the William C. Morris Award, so readers will be eagerly awaiting this second effort. Grades 9-12. --Michael Cart

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (April 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442458720
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442458727
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

John Corey Whaley is an American Young Adult author from Louisiana.

His first novel, WHERE THINGS COME BACK is the winner of the 2012 Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature and the 2012 William C. Morris Debut Fiction Award

Whaley was named a Spring 2011 Flying Start Author by Publishers Weekly as well as a Top Ten New Voice for Teens by the ABC Children's Group at ALA and a Spring 2011 Okra Pick from the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. WHERE THINGS COME BACK has also been nominated for the American Library Association's Best Fiction for Young Adults 2012. He was recently selected by the National Book Foundation as a Top 5 Under 35 author, making him the first YA author to be awarded the honor.

To learn more about John Corey Whaley and WHERE THINGS COME BACK, visit

Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this incredible book!
Kat Cameron
A book with this premise could easily have been cartoonish and ridiculous.
J. Blazanin
The characters were well written and well developed.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Spiced Latte on August 1, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The idea itself is what makes a person pick up this book. I have never been so forgetful about it being sort of "fantasy" when every single detail was explained. The author really made us believe that this could be possible. Even someone got sick and frozen, we would be able to attach that person'd head to another body and bring him back to life.

If you're still not sold on the idea of this book, try to get to know the characters. Every single conversation, every single emotion is so relatable, it's absolutely insane! If I would have been put into their shoes, it is exactly how I would have felt.

We get to see the story from Travis's POV who, after years of being sick, was frozen until a donor body was found to re-attach his head. Five years later he has a different body and everything is just completely weird. Everyone is now older but he can't feel like time has passed. For him, it was just like closing his eyes for a nap and waking up refreshed. Finding out that his girlfriend now has a fiance is hard and he wants her to see that deep down, they're meant for each other.

It would be easy to make this story confusing and just stupid. But as you read it, all of Travis's thoughts and actions make you smile or make you worry for him. I can't stop from recommending this book over and over, it's amazing!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Hilary Martin on May 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I was very intrigued by the premise of this book, I wasn't expecting a major, paradigm-shifting piece of work but there was so much potential! Totally wasted. In the end, it was about a teenager in love. Seriously, out of everything they could have addressed that's all we got. What was the point of having his head being sewn on someone else's body when he could have just been in a coma for the same amount of time and have the same result? He didn't even learn anything in the end.

I get that love is a major issue for adolescents but I think that focusing entirely on it really disrespects teenagers' intelligence. There was no challenge to our preconceived notions about life and love in this book.

Also, I had trouble suspending my disbelief because he had absolutely no problems with the surgery. They stuck his head on someone else's body, he woke up, a couple weeks later he left the hospital and never had any medical complications. I think I could have believed a story about time travel more easily. But on every page I found something that reminded me how impossible this procedure was.

I would have given it one star but the writing was good and the characters were well developed and likeable. Especially Hatton - that guy almost earned the book three stars. Almost.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Inspiring Insomnia TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Loved, loved, loved. I’m glad that Noggin is getting great reviews, because I think people who might be inclined to love this book may overlook it due to the wonderfully bizarre cover. The cover screams, “This book is quirky,” but in reality, Noggin is thoughtful and heart-warming and heart-breaking. There’s actually nothing quirky about it. Yes, a cancer-stricken boy has his head removed, frozen, and transplanted five years later onto another body. But while the cover and the oddly snarky synopsis (odd, because it does not match the tone of the book AT ALL) point to a story filled with weirdness, the transplant procedure is treated as a miraculous but plausible medical procedure.

Travis was sixteen and dying of cancer when he and his parents agreed to a radical experiment: remove his head and pray that somewhere down the road, medicine will have evolved to allow for head transplants. Faced with his certain death, a possible head transplant seemed like a reasonable gamble. Travis had nothing left to lose, and his parents hoped for the slim chance that they may live long enough to one day see their son “reborn.” But science progressed much faster than they could have possibly imagined, and five years after his decapitation, Travis awoke in a hospital with his head attached to a new body.

As I’m typing this, I realize how wacky it sounds. But trust me, once this bit of background is established, the story remains firmly in the contemporary genre and John Green-ish in tone. When Travis awakens, he has no idea that five years have passed. For him, his last memory was of agreeing to the procedure and saying goodbye (hopefully not for forever) to his family, girlfriend, and friends. During that time, his parents alternately mourned and held onto a kernel of hope.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Blazanin on July 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Five years ago Travis Coates (almost) died from cancer. The "almost" applies because before he could die his head was severed and cryogenically frozen. The doctors hoped that sometime in the (probably) distant future Travis's head could be attached to a donor body to give him another chance at life. Few people believed this was possible, Travis among them.

But it proves to be possible much sooner than anyone expects, and that creates more problems than if Travis had been reanimated 100 years in the future. When Travis awakes it seems to him that no time has passed. To the rest of the world, including his best friend, girlfriend, and parents, five long years of grief have gone by. Although Travis is still 16, his classmates are 21, and they've moved on in every way. No matter how hard he tries, Travis can't make the people he loves be the same as when he lived before.

A book with this premise could easily have been cartoonish and ridiculous. But Travis's poignant confusion and loneliness are realistically portrayed as he tries to recapture his former life. The other characters are equally sympathetic as they adjust to letting Travis back into their lives. This book is a quick read with humorous moments to keep it in balance.
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