Where Things Come Back

  • by John Corey Whaley
  • Narrated by Josh Hurley, Fred Berman
  • 6 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 2012 Michael L. Printz and William C. Morris Awards, this poignant and hilarious story of loss and redemption “explores the process of grief, second chances, and even the meaning of life” (Kirkus Reviews).
In the remarkable, bizarre, and heart-wrenching summer before Cullen Witter’s senior year of high school, he is forced to examine everything he thinks he understands about his small and painfully dull Arkansas town. His cousin overdoses; his town becomes absurdly obsessed with the alleged reappearance of an extinct woodpecker; and most troubling of all, his sensitive, gifted fifteen-year-old brother, Gabriel, suddenly and inexplicably disappears. Meanwhile, the crisis of faith spawned by a young missionary’s disillusion in Africa prompts a frantic search for meaning that has far-reaching consequences. As distant as the two stories initially seem, they are woven together through masterful plotting and merge in a surprising and harrowing climax. This extraordinary tale from a rare literary voice finds wonder in the ordinary and illuminates the hope of second chances.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Weird and Wonderful

This is an amazing tale of brothers Cullen and Gabriel. While the town goes cukoo in search of a rare and possibly non-existent woodpecker, Gabriel goes missing. Cullen is left to spend his senior year worrying and accepting pity glances and casseroles from the townsfolk. The tone is straight forward, a little deadpan and sombre, yet humorous. The entire idea is clever and I loved it. If you choose to read it, I have to share that I believe the last sentence is one of the best in YA novels of all time. Just when you're confused and don't think Whaley can pull it off, he wraps it all up with a shocking and satisfying conclusion.
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- FanB14 "Short, Simple, No Spoilers"

Wonderfully Interwoven Story/Narration

What made the experience of listening to Where Things Come Back the most enjoyable?

This was a fascinating story to listen to, because there are two stories being told, which become blended together toward the end.


Have you listened to any of Josh Hurley and Fred Berman ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This was my first listen for both narrators, and they both did a great job.


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- Roger D. Grape

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-01-2012
  • Publisher: Audible Studios