Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
It’s the summer before Cullen’s senior year of high school, and he’s already bored to death in his small home town of Lily, Arkansas. But three strange and unrelated events occur that make him realize that life might not be as simple and ordinary as he had always suspected. First his cousin Oslo dies of a heroin overdose, but it’s no surprise as Cullen can barely remember a time when Oslo wasn’t using. The the entire town becomes obsessed an alleged sighting of a two-foot tall woodpecker that was thought to be extinct. And thirdly, Cullen’s fifteen-year-old brother Gabriel disappears without a trace. There is a parallel story line involving a religious fanatic and his college roommate, that seems completely unrelated to Cullen’s summer.
Although this book won two very important Young Adult library awards this year, I was not very taken with it. I found it dry and uninteresting, but I’m only one reader. I think readers interested in small town life, or a coming of age story might enjoy it.