Where Things Come Back

Where Things Come Back Review

Just when seventeen-year-old Cullen Witter thinks he understands everything about his small and painfully dull Arkansas town, it all disappears. . . .

In the summer before Cullen's senior year, a nominally-depressed birdwatcher named John Barling thinks he spots a species of woodpecker thought to be extinct since the 1940s in Lily, Arkansas. His rediscovery of the so-called Lazarus Woodpecker sparks a flurry of press and woodpecker-mania. Soon all the kids are getting woodpecker haircuts and everyone's eating "Lazarus burgers." But as absurd as the town's carnival atmosphere has become, nothing is more startling than the realization that Cullen’s sensitive, gifted fifteen-year-old brother Gabriel has suddenly and inexplicably disappeared.

While Cullen navigates his way through a summer of finding and losing love, holding his fragile family together, and muddling his way into adulthood, a young missionary in Africa, who has lost his faith, is searching for any semblance of meaning wherever he can find it. As distant as the two stories seem at the start, they are thoughtfully woven ever closer together and through masterful plotting, brought face to face in a surprising and harrowing climax.

Complex but truly extraordinary, tinged with melancholy and regret, comedy and absurdity, this novel finds wonder in the ordinary and emerges as ultimately hopeful. It's about a lot more than what Cullen calls, “that damn bird.” It’s about the dream of second chances.

Title:Where Things Come Back
Edition Language:English

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Maggie Stiefvater

    Five Things About WHERE THINGS COME BACK1. So. This book takes place in Lily, Arkansas, but it could take place in Nowhere, Virginia, as well, a place I am well acquainted with. It takes place in a sm...

  • karen

    what an unexpectedly delightful book.i was given an ARC of this and i looked at it and said "gak - biiirrrddss!" and figured i would read it when i got around to it. after some awfully gentle prodding...

  • Jesse (JesseTheReader)

    I CAN'T EVEN. This book was too good. ...

  • Aj the Ravenous Reader

    This is one of those stories that heavily relies on the theme that every element, character and symbol was manipulated to evoke said theme and in my observations, that’s usually a good thing. It’s...

  • Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    If there's one thing I've learned in the two and a half years since I joined GoodReads, it’s this: when Maggie Stiefvater recommends a book, I read it. Period. She had nothing but praise for John Co...

  • Lyndsey

    Oh, Cullen Witter, would one please stop talking about oneself in third person?Where Things Come Back is told mostly from the first person perspective of the young man, Cullen Witter (well, except for...

  • Tatiana

    3.5 stars.Where Things Come Back is a pretty good debut effort (and not so good choice of cover). A little hard to describe though.17-year old Cullen Witter is passing his time in a tiny Arkansas town...

  • Regan

    Amazing. ...

  • j

    I won a book! I won a book on First Reads!Where Things Come Back is a YA debut novel about a disgruntled teen in small town Arkansas (is there any other kind?). 17-year-old Cullen Witter would be an e...

  • Martha

    The concept of this book was very promising, and I think it could have been a great success in the hands of a more experienced/skillful writer. As it is, however, I was a bit underwhelmed. The writing...