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The World Has Turned and Left Me Here

For the main character in John Corey Whaley's Noggin, getting his head chopped off and surgically reattached to someone else's body is the easy part.

The World Has Turned and Left Me Here

BOOK REPORT for Noggin by John Corey Whaley

Cover Story: Ken-tastic
BFF Charm: Sassy Gay Friend
Swoonworthy Scale: 2
Talky Talk: He Said They Say
Bonus Factor: Frozen Heads
Relationship Status: Head Over Heels

Cover Story: Ken-tastic

Um, this cover is obnoxiously bright with a punny tagline and a plot-accurate doll (sorry -- action figure). OBVIOUSLY, I LOVE IT.


It also provides me with a flimsy excuse to post these GIFs. (Click to, ahem, enlarge.)

The Deal:

After his body was almost entirely ravaged by cancer, sixteen-year-old Travis Coates opts for a radical new treatment... in which his head got chopped off, cryogenically frozen, and then surgically reattached to another dude's body five years later. (So, y'know, your run-of-the-mill operation.)

But the world that Travis left behind is not the one that he returns to. It's like a reverse Wooderson: everyone else got older, and Travis stayed the same age. But how do you go back to your life when everyone else has moved on without you?

BFF Charm: Sassy Gay Friend

Truthfully, I would TOTALLY make out with Travis. Hot, funny, and fan of '80s music? YES PLEASE. Except Travis is having a tough time letting go of the past; understandable, since he has to process five years' worth of change in a short time. Being displaced from your own life must suck, but Travis just exerts so much energy trying to shove everyone back into the roles he's familiar with.

I mean, DUDE. Look at your (awesome) life! Look at your (terrible) choices! You literally have a new lease on life, but you won't be able to enjoy it if you're always dwelling on things beyond your control. Or make out with me someone else if you're obsessed with getting back together with your now-adult ex-girlfriend.

Swoonworthy Scale: 2

Once upon a time, Cate and Travis were one of those inseparable and adorable high school couples. Not even his deteriorating health could keep them apart. Nowadays, Cate is a grownup (although I've reached the age at which I think of 21-year-olds as babies) and Travis is not. Cate's also in a serious relationship that Travis takes anything but seriously, because C + T = 4EVAAAAA. I get that he's having a hard time letting go of the relationship -- esp. since it wasn't so long ago to him that they were so in love -- but the unrelenting pursuit is not so much romantic as it is disrespecting Cate's wishes. Travis, there is no layer of subtext in which she's begging you to keep trying. Even if you invoke Tears for Fears in your efforts. 

Talky Talk: He Said They Say

It might not seem like a long time, but a lot can happen in five years. As Travis reacquaints himself with the world, he's discovering that craziness like social media has become the norm. Travis' insights are spot-on and hilarious, as are his musings on things like farts and his new equipment. (Not going to lie, I had wondered how far into the book it'd take for the latter to get a mention. I wasn't kept in suspense for long.)

And even though it's true to how some real people speak, I couldn't stop the Mr. DeMartino eye twitches every time Travis introduces some tidbit or anecdote. I can't help it; ambiguous subjects in sentences give me Gossip Girl flashbacks.

Bonus Factor: Frozen Heads

I love an outlandish premise that provides the framework for a story without overshadowing it. The weird science here def. fits the bill.

Casting Call:

The book has already been optioned, but my casting picks are super unhelpful* and all over the place, age-wise. 

*Because LOL RIGHT I wield influential power like that. Just like the time my mother asked me when writing reviews will make me rich like that Harry Potter woman.

Chris Evans as Travis

This is the exact body transformation that I imagined for Travis. And perhaps why I'd hook up with Travis against better judgment, fictionality notwithstanding.

Sebastian Stan as Kyle

Obvs, there's only one choice for Cap's BFF.** And also another kind of typecasting, for anyone familiar with Sebastian Stan's TV work.

** I know; it's like, which Mandy is writing this right now?!

Mackenzie Crook as Hatton

I pretty much pictured Gareth Keenan's face for Hatton, Travis' socially awkward new high school buddy and frequent voice of reason.

Brie Larson as Cate

Brie's amazing in everything she does, so I'd totally buy her as the ex that Travis just can't get over.

Connie Britton as Travis' mom

Travis' mom is pretty cool and she's also quite a babe. Clearly, this had to be done.

Relationship Status: Head Over Heels

Sure, I have a few quibbles with this book, but those don't even matter because we have so much fun together. I mean, it's already moved in with me, so I'm definitely in it for the long haul.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Simon & Schuster, and then I bought my own afterwards. I received neither money nor froyo for writing this review (dammit!). Noggin is available now.

Mandy Wan's photo About the Author: Residing in Edmonton, AB, Mandy unabashedly loves YA lit, frozen desserts, and terrible puns.