Monday, August 11, 2014

Audio Review: Noggin

Title: Noggin
Author:  John Corey Whaley
Release Date: April 8, 2014
Pages: 368
Format: Audio
Publisher: Athenuem Books for Young Readers
Rating: 4 Cows

Goodreads Description:

Listen — Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t.

Now he’s alive again.

Simple as that.

The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but he can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he’s still 16 and everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she’s not his girlfriend anymore? That’s a bit fuzzy too.

Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, then there are going to be a few more scars.

Oh well, you only live twice.

At first glance, Noggin, seems like your run of the mill sci-fi novel. However, after reading it I can say that is not the case. Noggin is much more than a sci-fi. Honestly, there's really not that much sci-fi in it. Sure, the main character gets his head chopped off and frozen then is brought back to life with a new body but other than that not much.

The real issue Noggin deals with is how do you move forward with your life when you wake up one day and find that all the rules have changed? More than that when all the players have changed? You feel the same. You simply fell asleep but when you wake up five years has passed, not enough time for everyone to completely move on but just enough to feel like things are just outside your grasp. That is what happened to Travis Coates.

Travis was a likeable character with a few somewhat annoying characteristics. He was beyond a shadow of a doubt a good guy. It is clear from the get go that he was a great boyfriend, best friend and son. However, once he comes back to life, things are different. Travis is still a good guy but he doens't know how to act. He wants things to be the way they were before and doesn't realize why they can't. I sympathized with Travis to an extent but he did get on my nerves a few times. He was at times immature, especially when it came to Cate. He would claim that he understood he could just be her friend to Cate but was constantly plotting ways to get back with her. I liked Travis and Kyle's friendship. I love that Travis doesn't care that Kyle is gay and tries to show Kyle that it's okay to be who he is. Sure, Travis doesn't always go the right way about it but it's clear he means well.

Hatton is quite possibly the most interesting character in the book. I loved his carefree attitude and how he immediately reached out to Travis. He was a great friend and always stepped up to do whatever he could to help Travis.

Cate was a character I was on the fence about. I liked her in the flashbacks of Travis and her relationship but I couldn't quite figure the older Cate out. No doubt she was going through a difficult situation with the boyfriend she had mourned suddenly coming back after she becomes engaged but I found it difficult to know what she really wanted. She told Travis repeatedly that she could just be his friend but sometimes she did give Travis mixed signals.

I loved the audiobook of Noggin. I loved the narrator, Kirby Heyborne. It's the same guy that read Josh Bennett in The Sea of Tranquility. The only problem I had was that sometimes I forgot that it wasn't Josh Bennett.

Noggin is a very character driven story. There isn't a ton of action. It's more of a story about self-discovery, friendship and family. What Travis experienced isn't much different than what we all experience. We all like for things to stay the same but that's not reality. One day we wake up and everything is different. The only difference between us and Travis is that our happens gradually but his happened all at once.


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