Noggin Final Critical Review

During Noggin, I felt that it was very had to take any sort of note for many reasons. I personally enjoyed few aspects of Noggin that I felt that Whaley’s writing expressed excellently. Quotes such as “When I opened my eyes, I saw that everyone in the room had the same expression, one of those sad-but-happy ones…)” made me feel connected to the character and describes the scene extremely well. I enjoyed Whaley’s ability to describe a scene well without getting too into every exact detail in the room, which many other writers will tend to do.

Whaley’s use of temporal storytelling; jumping to the past to describe Travis’ depressing times before his death, felt extremely emotional and realistic. Descriptions of his past life have the balance of emotional, depressing descriptions with realistic, satisfying reactions and events with his close family and friends.

Now on to the negatives. First off, I felt almost tricked by the backcover of this book and how the story actually turned out to be. The back cover reads: “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.”  I was intrigued by this and hoped for a possible philosophical tone to the what is consciousness? question. As I read through, the “you only live twice” line lost its uniqueness. Travis could have been in a coma for 5 years and most of the story would have been the same, besides the whole popularity side of it.

As a character, Travis is hard to relate to and feels annoying and stuck in his way. If he was, maybe, 13-14, I would respect his adolescent, quick decisions and stubbornness around his girlfriend. But him being almost 17, I think I would expect a more logical and mature character to be following throughout the story. You could say that “he is still in love with Cate” or that “his heart doesn’t realize how things have changed” but all of those excuses only make sense of he was younger; and hence, more reflexive and emotional. I feel I could have related to Travis more if he was more logical, mature and imprintable to the reader.

If the book had possibly introduced more of the “new future” or used a different, (possibly more interesting) character, I would appreciate the story and its writers choices much more. To sum things up, the first few chapters tricked me into thinking Noggin was a temporal, philosophical realistic sci fi but what i really got was a depressing teen romance.

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