Don’t Lose Your Head…

NogginNoggin by John Corey Whaley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a very different book which captured my imagination immediately. Travis had leukaemia five years ago and he was dying. Nothing could save him, so he decided to give cryogenics a go. His head was removed and frozen and five years later he wakes up to discover his head on the body of Jeremy Pratt, who died of a brain aneurysm. Great! You might think. Not so great, it turns out.
Noggin is like nothing else I have read before – it is a great antidote to the rash of “sick-lit” books that followed in the wake of The Fault in Our Stars because it deals with terminal illness in a very different way. Travis DID give up, he WAS selfish and chose to opt out and leave everyone else to cope with his loss. Then he shows up and expects them all to just pick up where he left off.
John Corey Whalley is able to make us feel empathy for Travis and also want to kick him in the pants. We rejoice when Travis meets Hatton, his new best friend, and cringe when he makes a pass at his former girlfriend Cate (although not in his mind because in his mind he’s only been gone a few hours) who is engaged to someone else. We love him for his easy acceptance of his friend Kyle’s homosexuality and despair at his whining about his new life being so hard. Travis is smart, romantic and loyal and so are the people around him. His parents are legends (can’t tell you why – spoiler) and his friends are the kind of friends everyone wishes they had.
This is a book about what is really important, what really matters and how each person we meet, no matter how breifly, makes a connection with us.
It is romantic, sad, funny and, in the end, life-affirming.
You will not be sorry if you pick this one up.
Suitable for ages 13 and up.

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