Friday, April 18, 2014


Whaley, John Corey.  Noggin.  Simon & Schuster/Atheneum     2014  346p  $17.99  ISBN 978-1-4424-5872-7      hs    Science fiction     VG-BN

Science fiction may explain the premise of sewing one’s head onto another’s body to survive, but realistic fiction explains the remainder of this impeccably written novel.  Too ill to survive his cancer diagnosis, Travis decides to remove his head from his ravaged body and freeze it until a future date when medical advances are available to save him.  Five years after his “death,” he emerges with a new body and an old life.  Implausible becomes believable in this original novel, which takes you to the heart of life.  As impossible as it seems, the reader will forget that this sixteen-year old who is really twenty-one is living in the future.  He tries to rekindle his relationship with the love of his life, only to discover that she is now engaged and attending college.  Travis is back in high school where he makes a new friend, a likeable fellow who is perfect medicine for his loneliness.  Travis must also help his old friend Kyle accept his homosexuality, which had been revealed to Travis while he was on his death bed.  The scenes in which all of these conflicts play out are beautifully written, humorous and tragic at the same time.  The premise of life after death has never been penned in such a unique way.  The themes that Whaley shares are universal, yet everyone needs to be reminded that life is temporary, that friendships should be valued, and that relationships don’t always turn out as one hopes.  All in all, this is a treasure of a book written with fine narrative style. 

Summary: Travis wakes up five years after his death with a new body attached to his head, which was preserved by cryogenics.  He finds his girlfriend engaged to someone else, his best friend Kyle poised to announce his sexuality, and a mystery involving his parents.       

Conflict, Cryogenics-Fiction                          --Martha Squaresky

No comments: