Where Things Come Back John Corey Whaley

APA Citation w/ ISBN:
Whaley, J.C. (2011). Where things come back. New York, NY: Atheneum Books. ISBN: 978-1-4424-1333-7

Brief Summary:
Cullen Witter, the first person narrator in this young adult novel, tells the story of a summer when two major things happen in his small town of Lily, Arkansas. The first thing is the apparent return of a woodpecker that was thought to be extinct; the other is the disappearance of his younger brother, Gabriel. Interwoven with the first person narration is the third person story of a man named Cabot Searcy and his search for meaning after his college roommate commits suicide. While the town gets wrapped up in the search for Lazarus, the woodpecker, Cullen and his family get wrapped up in trying to deal with Gabriel being gone. The audience sees Cullen not only trying to deal with the disappearance of his little brother, but also dealing with being a teenage boy, and learning that life doesn’t stop even if you want it to. Eventually the two stories of Gabriel and Cabot come together in a way that is surprising, yet seems to be fated.

I really liked that this book was told from the perspective of a male character. I’m not sure if I’ve chosen any young adult novel that whose narrator was a young man. I loved the relationship Cullen has with his brother and his best friend; it shows that boys greatly value the people in their lives. I also love how it shows Cullen trying to keep a sense of normalcy in his life, even after his brother disappears and woodpecker mania takes over the town. However, I feel it ended too quickly! I wanted to know what actually happened between Gabriel and Cabot.

Award: William C. Morris Debut Award and Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature

Curriculum connection including grade level and KY Common Core Curriculum:
Reading Literature Standard 1: Grade 9-10: Read closely to determine what the texts says explicitly to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text

Reading Literature Standard 3: Grade 9-10: Analzye how and why individuals, events and ideas develop and interact over the coure of the text.

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Classroom Activity Using Developing Content Area Literacy:
Strategy: #14 Conflict Dissection: Analyzing Relationships in Text: After reading the entire book, divide students into groups and give each group one character: Cullen Witter, Benton Sage, Alma Ember, Cabot Searcy, Lucas Cader, John Barling. Each group will complete the Conflict Dissection Strategy Chart for their character then share to the whole group.

Antonacci, P.A. & O’Callaghan C. M. (2011). Developing content area literacy. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.