I’m still not sure what this book is about. There’s two seemingly unrelated story lines in John Corey Whaley’s Where Things Come Back, that only converge in the last three chapters. Both story lines are set in the South. The principle plot is set in Lily, Arkansas and the second is set in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia.
Lily, Arkansas is a sleepy, Southern town with nothing to do. It’s home to Cullen and Gabriel Witter and Cullen’s buddy, Lucas. What seems to plot about the relationship between brothers and male friendships turns dark when Gabriel goes missing. What follows turns more philosophical. Parents grieving, friendships forming, strengthening, and crumbling, and what happens to those left behind when a child/sibling goes missing becomes the core of the books premise.
The second plot follows two young men who are figuring out what God wants from them. It takes a turn for the crazy when they become obsessed with the Apocryphal Book of Enoch. While I at first had never heard of the Book of Enoch, as the boys delve into it, I suddenly remembered that the references in the Book of Enoch explained the movie Noah. If you haven’t seen it, just know it doesn’t follow the Biblical account. If you have seen it, those Watchers are actually mentioned in this Book of Enoch.
The two story lines intertwine at the conclusion of the novel, and I’m still not sure what the second has to do with the first but it doesn’t necessarily detract from the book as a whole. It was well written, whether you understand the relationship between the two or not. The character development and pacing of the novel was superb. There were not typical YA stereotypes and it reads very quickly.
Over all, I believe that the author is attempting to say that even though we are faced with challenges everyday, it’s our reaction to them and the mindset we keep while attempting to overcome the challenges is what’s most important.