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.
Before I start my review, just let me say this: this book is brilliant. Absolutely, positively, bloody brilliant.
This book is about Travis Coates. You see, Travis Coates was diagnosed with cancer all of a sudden in his life, and everything kind of got bad from there. He dropped out of school because he couldn’t keep up and he pretty much lived in his bed because there wasn’t much he could do. He knew that he wouldn’t survive this cancer. He spent a lot of his time with his best friend Kyle and his girlfriend, Cate. One day some crazy scientist guy knocks on his door and claims that he could bring Travis back to life because even though his body isn’t good he still is. This guy says that he can basically chop off Travis’s head and store it in a freezer and bring him back to life with another body in about a century or so, depending on how fast the science world progresses. Travis’s parents aren’t so sure about it, and really neither is Travis, though he knows that no matter what he’s going to die and he’d rather have a sliver of hope rather than none at all, so he says he’ll do it. Little does he know, he’ll be back in 5 years.
When Travis comes back, everything is so different. All of his friends and family has aged and he hasn’t, since he’s still 16. This means that all of his friends are now 21 and in college. He also wakes to find that his girlfriend is engaged, even though he was so in love with her. Travis now has to try to cope with being brought back to life (with a new body that he isn’t even used to) and also has to try to figure out how to stop living in the past since he’s now pretty much in his future.
This book was absolutely fantastic. The whole concept that the author created is just so awesome to read about. It’s just so different. I felt so bad for Travis because he was still living in the past. That has to be really hard to cope with. He really just wants his girlfriend back. Plus, he has to go to school without Cate and Kyle. It’s just got to be so tough.
It must’ve been really weird to have someone else’s body. He became taller with the new body which must be really quite strange. At times I felt like laughing really hard because parts of the book were funny but at other times I really just felt bad for Travis and everything that he was going through-it’s almost impossible to imagine. In addition, Travis was one of two survivors of this science experiment so he was really popular among the nation which also had to have been heard. I mean you’re dead for five years and then you’re brought back and suddenly everyone loves you and wants to know your life story when right before you died all of these people really didn’t care. It’s just strange but interesting to think about. I really loved this book and would definitely recommend others to read it. It was one of my top favorite books of 2014 and I can’t wait to read more by John Corey Whaley in the future.
“Some people say dying alone is a fate worse than death itself. Well, they should try being alone during the living part sometimes. There’s no quicker way to make you wonder why the hell you ever thought you’d want to return.”
“You ever feel like you know someone so much that they can breathe for you? Like whey their chest and your chest rise and fall, they do it together because they have to? That’s how it felt. That’s how it always felt.”
“Maybe we all just exist, all versions of us exist at times, and we have to figure out a way to get to each of them, to find each one and tell that version that it’s okay, that it’s all just the way it works, a concept too powerful to ignore but too complicated to explain.”
“We all get lots of people. And maybe we don’t always get to have them the exact way we want them, but if we can figure out a way to compromise, you know, then we can keep them all.”
“But in that moment I understood what they said about nostalgia, that no matter if you’re thinking of something good or bad, it always leaves you a little emptier afterward.”
“You can find ways to be okay with dying, but you can’t fake your way through living.”
Have you read this novel? I’d love to hear your thoughts!