Where Things Come Back

John Corey Whaley


During Cullen Witter's disturbing and bizarre summer, his cousin overdosed on drugs, his town became obsessed with the reappearance of the extinct woodpecker, and his fifteen-year-old brother, Gabriel, vanished. Cullen is trying to hold his family together while getting ready to go to college. Cullen's best friend, Lucas, is always there for Cullen and his family. A missionary In Africa, Cabot Searcy, started searching for the meaning of Theology when his roommate in college, Benton Sage, died. Eventually these two stories impact each other and a major climax appears at the end.


One major theme is family because Cullen is holding his family together after the loss of his cousin and the disappearance of his little brother. Another major theme is faith and hope because Cullen and his family have a lot of faith that Gabriel will come back into their life again. Lastly, another theme is resurrection. To add on, a kid named Benton Sage committed suicide on Christmas break at college.


Cullen Witter is the main character, also known as the protagonist. He is a senior in high school who is going through many family obstacles such as the loss of his cousin and the disappearance of his brother, Gabriel. Lucas, Cullen's best friend is very nice and caring. He is always there for Cullen and his family. Lucas has a bad life from a young child. Cullen feels bad and him and his family are very good to him. Gabriel, Cullen's younger brother is very sensitive and gifted. He is extremely smart too. Cabot Searcy, a young missionary, is searching for a meaning. He is a good person but obsessive at the same time. To add on, he had a girlfriend and she broke up with him and he would try to get back together with her everyday. He is the antagonist in the story.


This book can be confusing in the beginning of the story because there are two different stories that are being described. At the end of the book, these two stories collide forming a major climax. I do recommend teens to read this book because it is a page turner. This book is one of my favorites because the author wrote the book as if you were a character facing the obstacles that Cullen faced. I wouldn't say you have to read it, but for those who like realistic fiction stories would enjoy it.
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"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." John Corey Whaley