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Where Things Come Back
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Where Things Come Back

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  19,010 ratings  ·  3,000 reviews
Winner of the 2012 Michael L. Printz and William C. Morris Awards, this poignant and hilarious story of loss and redemption "explores the process of grief, second chances, and even the meaning of life." Kirkus Reviews

In the remarkable, bizarre, and heart-wrenching summer before Cullen Witter's senior year of high school, everything he thinks he understands about his small
...more
Paperback, 228 pages
Published May 2012 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published May 3rd 2011)
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Storm E. Rayne I think it would diffidently be a wonderful twist if Cullen just thought that Gabriel came home. I also think that Waley let Gabriel come home, safe…moreI think it would diffidently be a wonderful twist if Cullen just thought that Gabriel came home. I also think that Waley let Gabriel come home, safe and unharmed.(less)
EmmaB I agree- it was slow to start, but there's a lot in there about surviving grief, and friendship and family and searching for the meaning of life. The…moreI agree- it was slow to start, but there's a lot in there about surviving grief, and friendship and family and searching for the meaning of life. The main character may have found that.
It's definitely a book about young men - there are interesting strong female characters, but they're at the periphery: girlfriend and aunt and mothers- still, I've reread the ending three times now, and probably will try to run through the beginning again before I return it.(less)

Community Reviews

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3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  19,010 ratings  ·  3,000 reviews


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Maggie Stiefvater
Five Things About WHERE THINGS COME BACK

1. So. This book takes place in Lily, Arkansas, but it could take place in Nowhere, Virginia, as well, a place I am well acquainted with. It takes place in a small town the same way that my life took place in a small town — not in a surface way, not in a Hollywood way, but in a way that touches every bit of your life. Not good or bad, really, just . . . grit and dust and gross gas stations and lots of church. I appreciate that it feels effortlessly real, n
...more
karen
what an unexpectedly delightful book.

i was given an ARC of this and i looked at it and said "gak - biiirrrddss!" and figured i would read it when i got around to it. after some awfully gentle prodding, i got around to it and i read the damn thing in one day, tearassing through it with great glee and awe.

this book is a sad and unpredictable gem.
but with plenty of moments of humor.

it opens with a death-by-overdose and a million instances of the word "ass-hat" - a word i had never heard before bein
...more
Jesse (JesseTheReader)
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I CAN'T EVEN. This book was too good.
Aj the Ravenous Reader

This is one of those stories that heavily relies on the theme that every element, character and symbol was manipulated to evoke said theme and in my observations, that’s usually a good thing. It’s what brings books to literary nominations and stuff. In my own personal opinion though, sometimes it’s also these same literary elements that interfere with the “feels”, with the reader’s enjoyment of a book and with being able to relate with the characters because often in life, things don’t always ha
...more
Lyndsey
Oh, Cullen Witter, would one please stop talking about oneself in third person?

Where Things Come Back is told mostly from the first person perspective of the young man, Cullen Witter (well, except for when he often talks about himself in the third person) whose fifteen year old brother disappears. Cullen lives in a small town town that just happens to be obsessed with woodpeckers, specifically the long-presumed extinct Lazarus Woodpecker. Both the town and Cullen Witter develop a strong obsessio
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Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
If there's one thing I've learned in the two and a half years since I joined GoodReads, it’s this: when Maggie Stiefvater recommends a book, I read it. Period. She had nothing but praise for John Corey Whaley’s award-winning debut so I ordered it with no questions asked. I just did it because Maggie said so.

Where Things Come Back is such an unassuming little book. It’s like that small, quiet kid in class other kids never even notice, but if they did, they’d see that he is well-read and fiercely
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Tatiana
Mar 31, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, 2011, printz
3.5 stars.

Where Things Come Back is a pretty good debut effort (and not so good choice of cover). A little hard to describe though.

17-year old Cullen Witter is passing his time in a tiny Arkansas town. There is nothing interesting or exciting going on. Cullen is simply waiting for his final high school year to be over and to move on to a life less dull. Everything changes when Cullen's younger brother Gabriel suddenly disappears. If Cullen thought his life was bad before, it becomes unbearable n
...more
Regan
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Amazing.
unknown
I won a book! I won a book on First Reads!

Where Things Come Back is a YA debut novel about a disgruntled teen in small town Arkansas (is there any other kind?). 17-year-old Cullen Witter would be an emo teen if Lily was big enough to support fringe subcultures. But he's got all the attributes: over-sensitive, journal-writing, picked on by jocks (every town has those), unlucky in love (until, of course, he becomes extremely lucky in love, a twist integral to the plot, but whatever).

The book take
...more
Martha
Feb 11, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Manuel de Acha
(Third time reading this book)

Books, in my opinion, try to describe or explain a certain story at its best and try to connect a reader with the story and the characters the best way the author can. Of course this story did that and a lot of other things that will surprise you.

Stories like this one makes me a better person and a better reader. The way John Corey Whaley narrates us the story is beautiful and very very original. The things I learn in this novel will stick with me for the rest of my
...more
Moi Baltazar
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Actual rating: 4.5 stars

"Your mind has a way of not letting you forget things you wish you could. Especially with people. Like, you'll always try your best to forget things that people say to you or about you, but you always remember. And you'll try to forget things you've seen that no one should see, but you just can't do it. And when you try to forget someone's face, you can't get it out of your head."
Snotchocheez
Oct 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

I took a risk on John Corey Whaley's debut (and Printz Award winner) Where Things Come Back, as I wasn't really wowed by his sophomore attempt, the cute but far-fetched cryogenics tale Noggin. I'm happy to report this was in many ways a much better read than Noggin; much more mature and grounded, a very engaging and believable story, not nearly as sappy. The only problem I had with it (which almost with each instance of its use became a deal-breaker, and made all the more glaring by
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Hassan
Aug 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
when you create two story lines to make them entwine at the end, in an attempt to make the readers mind blow, you probably have a very weak plot.

this is one of those contemporaries that i was really excited about because i heard a lot of good things about it, and i heard it's mysterious and weird, and it was short so i felt like this is gonna be a one-sitting book that'll grab me from the first page, but unfortunately from the very beginning of this book i knew it gonna suck, now the plot of thi
...more
Isamlq
Apr 20, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll keep this short: I needed this. After a series of really shitty not so good reads over the past couple of days, Where Things Come Back reassures me that there are stories worth the effort of not sleeping.

My one complaint though is that it’s cover does not give what’s inside justice. That aside, I really enjoyed this book, the characters and how things came together.

On one hand there’s Cullen, and on the other there’s Benton: two people not connected at all, but through a series of events,
...more
Regina
Nov 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
[4.5] Sin duda superó mis expectativas y me dio tantas cosas en qué pensar. Es increíble cómo una historia tan simple puede involucrar temas tan complejos y desarrollar al mismo tiempo personajes llenos de simbolismo. Este libro logró eso y mucho más.
Irmak
Oct 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
O kadar uzun sürdü ki kitabı okumam. Bunda hem benim bu aralar kitap okuyamamamın etkisi var hem de kitabının dilinin ağır oluşunun. Çok zor okunan bir kitaptı Her Şey Burada Başladı ve Bitti. Ama ben bütün zorluğuna rağmen kitabı sevdim. Okuduğum en ilginç kitaplardan birisiydi sanırım.
Bana göre herkesin sevebileceği bir kitap değil. Zor okunmasından dolayı pes edebilirsiniz. Ama dediğim gibi bütün zorluğuna rağmen sevdiğim bir kitap oldu.
Umarım artık okuma hızım normale döner bende doya doya
...more
Alex ✰ Comets and Comments ✰
I have read this book three times, once in 2015. Then again in 2016. Then once more in 2017.

All three times this book has never failed to leave me breathless.

It still haunts me and every bone in my body.
Kwoomac
This book started out so great. I was seventeen when I saw my first dead body. For me, it just didn't sustain that initial pull. The format flipflops between two stories, culminating in their inevitable collision. I loved the chapters which focussed on Cullen Witter. He's a seventeen year old boy, dealing with more than his share of problems. (see above). His younger brother Gabriel disappears one day, leaving no clue behind. I was riveted by his story. We watch as his world slowly crumbles. He ...more
Liam
Sep 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
can't even begin to explain how much I love this book! I feel like this book has inspired me and really effected me in many different ways.

the story and the way it developed was truly brilliant, it had me hooked from literally the first chapter. I couldn't predict what was going to happen and the ending was just wow!

I don't think I've ever related to a character as much in my life as I did with the main character, Cullen. It's cringey but I really do feel like he's given me hope and made me feel
...more
jv poore
Jan 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book based on a Goodreads Review posted by @maggiestiefvater. Writing a review of something that Maggie has already reviewed would be like me offering a vending machine honeybun after someone has had a November Cake. For a review, see hers: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

I can tell you that this book is haunting. I sat down to read the first chapter, and before I knew it, I was more than half-way through the book, and I was running very, very late. Without a doubt, I would n
...more
Angela
Sep 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
1.5
emma
read this book blind.
Veronika
Apr 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2015
I can't finish this...
Nicole
Aug 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Thomas
"It was one of those moments when you're waiting on someone to say something important or funny or just do anything to break you away from the sad thoughts that overwhelm your mind. Thoughts like never having enough money to move away or not getting into college. Thoughts like having to come back to take care of a sick parent and getting stuck here all over again. That's what happened in Lily. People dreamed. People left. And they all came back."

Winner of the Printz Award for excellence in young
...more
Donalyn
I appreciate some books, but I don't necessarily enjoy them. This is one of those times. Weaving together 2 seemingly disparate stories, Whaley explores small town life, family, hope, and second chances. More of a character study than a plot-driven novel. The constant switching between first person and third person kept me from falling into a reading flow and makes me question what really happened at the end. I look forward to reading more books from Whaley in the future; this is an excellent de ...more
Adeeb
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Nope. I can't! I can't give this book justice by writing a review. I'm sure you can find proper ones. All I have to say is, this book is breathtaking. I love it. SO MUCH! And you all should read it! ALL OF YOU
Mel
Mar 18, 2019 added it
DNF on page 31. I’m not overly interested or connected to what I’ve read. I don’t love first person narration and this feels like it’s trying a little too hard to be a 2011-2013 era John Green book.
Susan
May 11, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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878 followers
JOHN ‘COREY’ WHALEY grew up in the small town of Springhill, Louisiana, where he learned to be sarcastic and to tell stories. He has a B.A. in English from Louisiana Tech University, as well as an M.A in Secondary English Education. He started writing stories about aliens and underwater civilizations when he was around ten or eleven, but now writes realistic YA fiction (which sometimes includes zo ...more
“Life, he says, doesn’t have to be so bad all the time. We don’t have to be anxious about everything. We can just be. We can get up, anticipate that the day will probably have a few good moments and a few bad ones, and then just deal with it. Take it all in and deal as best we can.” 234 likes
“Your mind has a way of not letting you forget things you wish you could. Especially with people. Like, you'll always try your best to forget things that people say to you or about you, but you always remember. And you'll try to forget things you've seen that no one should see, but you just can't do it. And when you try to forget someone's face, you can't get it out of your head.” 145 likes
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