- Narrated by Kirby Heyborne
- Release Date: April 8th 2014
- Pages: 356
- Audiobook Hours: 8 hours 45 minutes
- Genre: Science Fiction ???
- Publisher: Antheneum Books for Young Readers (Simon & Schuster)
First off, congrats to John Corey Whaley and Noggin for being longlisted for the 2014 National Book Award !
From man eating grasshoppers to Wizard of Oz revisited there was a lot of high concept YAs this year, but of all of them Noggin (and it’s weird cover) caught my attention; A boy whose head is cryogenically frozen and then reattached to someone else’s body.
I like to think of Noggin as the book with the blue cover about cancer written by a guy named John that you aren’t talking about.
In Travis Coates’ last days of battling leukemia, he and his family decide to participate in an experimental procedure where his head will cut off his dying body, cryogenically frozen and then reattached to a healthy body when the science is right. Travis expects to wake up in the distant future, but when he opens his eyes again, he has the body of Jeremy Pratt and it’s only 5 years later.
When I first heard about this book, I had expected it to be science fiction-y in the vein of Unwind by Neil Shusterman, but it’s really not. It’s more of a coming of age story about how Travis learns to live a life where everyone he knows has lived 5 years assuming they’d never see him again. His friends are all 21-years-old, his girlfriend is engaged to someone else and his parents don’t know how to react to him. I’ve read a few books about people dying, but for some reason I found this novel about someone living to be really sad.
I’ll admit, nothing much happens in this book plot-wise, Whaley has a great concept and characters, but he didn’t seem to know where to take them and the end felt a little tacked on. But, that was fine with me I really like the aimless wandering books. There is a major subplot involving Travis trying to get back with his girlfriend, but I found those parts especially cringe-y. And while Travis seems completely serious about his attempt, I think Whaley realizes how juvenile Travis’ attempts are.
What really stuck out to about this book is that it’s funny. Humor in books is so weird, I rarely find myself laughing at books like I do with TV and movies, but I was chuckling out loud a few times. I do think some of that comes from listening to the audiobook. One of the reasons I requested this book from Simon and Schuster is because Kirby Heyborne does the audiobook. I think he has the perfect youthful voice for YA and he can really interpret lines that don’t have direction.
Now, JCW is no newbie to YA fiction his debut, Where Things Come Back won the Printz ( and has been sitting on my TBR shelf since) in 2011. I am excited to see what he writes next!
*Audiobook received for review from Simon & Schuster
I’m a lifelong reader who started blogging about YA books in 2011 but now I read in just about every genre! I love YA coming of age stories, compelling memoirs and genre bending SFF. You can find me talking all things romance at Romance and Sensibility.