Noggin by John Corey Whaley

After all my dystopia and tragedy books I’ve read, I’ve decided to lighten up and go for something a bit more light hearted: Noggin, by John Corey Whaley.

Who reading this has heard of cryogenics? Well, Travis Coates, when he was sixteen, decided that he was pretty much good as dead. His entire existence was made of cancer, everywhere except his head. So he becomes one of 17 volunteers for the Saronson Centre to have his head cut off, frozen and then reattached to a donor’s body. He expected it to take forever, but in actual fact, it took just five years for him to be reattached to Jeremy Pratt’s body. He was only one of two who survived the treatment and woke up. He’s taller (now 6 foot 1), has a different shape and has a permanent mark, a scar on his new neck. But everything else has changed as well, and Travis is finding it hard for his old self and new self to co-exist and for life to just be normal again.

First off, I really enjoyed this book. Something about this topic, I’d expect, to be quite gloomy, and quite sad. It’s about dying, come on! But, John’s presented this book in a way to be really fun and really interesting to read. In no way am I implying that this is a funny book, and that it belongs in the humour section of Waterstone’s. This isn’t a funny book, so it’s not for you if you like that. 

The style it’s written in as well makes it a joy to read. I’m glad John chose to write this in first person, it made the book for me. The characters were also a crucial part to this book. The way no one is too sure of what’s happened, regardless of whether it’s part of the book or not, created an atmosphere around the whole situation the characters find themselves in. The addition of Lawrence contributed to it as well.

Anyone that reads the stuff I do for The Guardian will also know I like issues to be covered in books. That’s been done here fantastically. So many issues can be encountered in this book: homosexuality, divorce and family issues. It’s all, again, part of the plot.

Anyone that enjoyed The Fault In Our Stars, If I Stay or at a push, Every Day (by John Green, Gayle Forman and David Levithan respectively), I think this needs to be on your ‘to-read’ list. Or, if you fancy reading a bit of this book before going out and buying it, click here! 


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