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Book - 2014
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After dying at age sixteen, Travis Coates' head was removed and frozen for five years before being attached to another body, and now the old Travis and the new must find a way to coexist while figuring out changes in his relationships.
Publisher: New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, [2014]
ISBN: 9781442458727
Branch Call Number: YAF WHALEY, JOHN
Characteristics: 340 pages ; 22 cm


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IndyPL_SteveB Jul 20, 2019

A nearly brilliant teen novel about a young man returning from cryonic suspension, with a stellar main character and a level of reader empathy that I have rarely felt in a teen book.

Dying of leukemia, 16-year-old Travis Coates and his family agree to an experiment, where his head will be removed and cryopreserved, in the vague hope that someday there will be a way to revive him and give him a new body. Unexpectedly, medical advances are made in only five years – and Travis is revived with his head transplanted onto the body of another young man who died of a brain tumor. Great, right? But Travis is still 16. From his point of view, he went to sleep one day and woke up the next – and his best friend and girlfriend and parents are now 5 years older. He is still stuck returning to high school as the freak “miracle boy.” His girlfriend is engaged to someone else. His parents are keeping other secrets from him. Life is weird and seems completely out of his control.

The book is written in first person and that voice really makes the story work. Travis is bewildered, scared, self-centered (teenager, right?), and determined to make everything work again, including trying to get his now 21-year-old girlfriend to break off her wedding plans and marry him instead. *Noggin* is often very funny, always thoughtful about the consequences of this particular situation, and ultimately deeply moving, as Travis starts to appreciate that this is a second chance at life, even though it won’t be the SAME life.

So imagine being in the prime of your teen years, you have amazing friends, and wonderful is great; that is until you find that you have a terminal illness. Imagine knowing that you are definitely going to die, but your parents are going to cryogenically freeze your head in the hopes of a far off future, they can bring you back. Surprise! Technology moved fast and it only took like 4 years to make it happen! Now Travis needs to learn a lot of lessons he wasn't ready for about friendship, love, and being the first of a new type of experiment and how to readapt to life. This story is also located in Kansas City, so it's nice to hear of familiar locations and easy to drop yourself in the story!

ArapahoeKati Jun 28, 2017

"Noggin" is so odd and funny and quite different in the best kind of way. I really enjoyed it!

Apr 15, 2017

Noggin written by John Corey Whaley was an incredible book, reminding you to live your life to the fullest. It was so different from any book I had read, but in a good way. I recommend you to read this book.
- @SDJ of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

Feb 23, 2017

Oddly, Noggin was a very relatable book. When I first heard about this book, I thought it would be about the struggles the protagonist faces while trying to fit in, but it turned out to be a very humorous book. I like how the author uses "teen language" to connect with his readers and show the personality and conflict of the characters.

Aug 01, 2016

This is a great book that incorporated tons of different writing genres into one book. This book captured my heart because of the humorous characters to very sad and realistic parts. I would recommend this book to a friend.

Jan 24, 2016

This book is really good, Travis Coates (Main Character) has cancer. Doctors surgically removed his head and puts it in a freezer. 5 years later, Jeremy donated his body to him so he could be alive again. Travis felt like waking up from sleeping but 5 years ahead.
(My mom made me do this idk why)

Apr 06, 2015

This book was very amazing. A tiny bit of science fiction, with drama, romance, and sadness/happiness with a lot of suspense. I didn't expect much from this book, to be honest. I just thought it would be interesting. And it was interesting. But it was also very good. You will fall in love with these characters and sympathize with every single one of them at one moment and maybe hate them all the next moment. Even though the ending is so, so, so freaking sad (no spoilers don't worry), I 100% recommend this book. Read it. You won't regret it.

(And also, it's a great conversation starter)

JCLChrisK Mar 26, 2015

"Grow apart." So often, when two people are asked to explain why their relationship has changed and isn't working out, at least one of them will say that they have simply grown apart. They have grown in different ways so that they have less connection and less in common than they once did. Sometimes it's not so much a matter of growing in different directions as growing at different rates.

Noggin is the ultimate tale of growing at different rates. Travis was dying of cancer, his body a waste, when he decided to enroll in a program from science fiction: he agreed to have his head cryogenically frozen in the hopes that someday medicine might be able to provide him with a new body. Saying goodbye to his loved ones is the last thing he remembers before waking up with his head attached to a new body. Except he's not 50 years in the future as expected, only a mere 5. His family, friends, and girlfriend are around much more tangibly than he ever thought possible, and he's suddenly faced with the prospect of picking his life up right where he left off.

At least, that's what it feels like to Travis. He was asleep for a few hours and now he's back, ready for everything to be the same. Everyone else, though, has spent 5 years living their lives without Travis, deciding whether and how to move on and become different people. They have grown. He has not. Now, none of the people Travis loves most make any sense to him and he has no idea who he is in relation to them or how to move forward.

I have to admit, with it's sci fi sounding premise, I expected this book to have more outrageous moments and elements. Aside from the medical advances, though, it was a realistic tale of normal people trying to deal with an extraordinary circumstance. And aside from the drama created by that circumstance, it's an entirely relatable tale of people that normal readers can see themselves reflected in. We may not have experienced "growing apart" in such a radical way as Travis has, but we've all experienced it enough to know what he's going through.

This one is surprising, personal, and moving.

L1zard Nov 11, 2014

Highly recommend this book, and not just for teens. The message that comes out of this is life at any age, and love at any age is confusing and special.

Not overly teen-y. Not overly angst-y. (Not super sad either!)

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Jun 13, 2015

"Ingenious minds."

JCLChrisK Mar 26, 2015

There is no delicate way to tell a person that he is holding a container full of the incinerated remains of his own body.

JCLChrisK Mar 26, 2015

"I'm not sure I can do this anymore."

"Do what?"

"This. Exist. Be here like this with everything so #@$%ed up."

"Hey, Travis? I don't think it really matters if you know how to exist."

"What do you mean?"

"I don't think any of us do."

"Then what are we doing?"

"I don't know. We're just meandering."


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WVMLlibrarianShannon Apr 07, 2015

WVMLlibrarianShannon thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Jul 04, 2014

Melaniejones thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 17


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