By John Corey Whaley
Imagine if you had a terminal illness. You knew you were going to die but doctors offered you a way out – sort of. What if they offered to cut off your head, freeze it, and reattach it to someone else’s healthy body as soon as the technology became available?
This is exactly what happens to 16-year-old Travis Coates who is dying of cancer. Travis’ family agrees to the offer, but believes it will be decades at the very least before Travis is brought back to life. However, only 5 years later, technology has advanced and Travis is back!
Sounds like a happy ending, right? But when 16-year-old Travis comes back (in a taller, fitter, skateboarder’s body no less), his best friend Kyle and girlfriend Cate are 21 years old and have moved on with their lives. Neither of them wanted Travis to die; they would have done anything in their power to stop it. But they don’t know what to do now that he’s back. Having Travis come back from the dead turns their lives upside down.
As you can imagine, Travis is an overnight media sensation. But he just wants to be a normal 16-year-old kid again – with the same best friend and girlfriend.
At school Travis meets Hatton, who initially calls him Noggin. Hatton is funny and friendly, and he’s not afraid to poke a little fun at his new friend Travis who has “a good head on his shoulders.”
Although the premise of this novel is fairly absurd, Noggin is really a book about identity and relationships. What makes us who we are? What connects us to our friends? In real life, things change. Best friends and girlfriends may only be temporary. All of us have to deal with these issues – but most of us don’t have to deal with coming back from the dead.