High school freshman Travis Ray Coates is dying from incurable cancer when doctors tell his family thereâ€™s one last chance for survivalâ€”as long as Travis doesnâ€™t mind having his neck separated from his torso. It seems thereâ€™s a new cryogenic technology that will allow Travisâ€™s head to be detached and frozen until doctors can find him a donor body to link it to. Thereâ€™s only one little glitchâ€”the technology isnâ€™t quite there yet. So Travis goes to sleep before the operation to remove his noggin, not knowing when or even if he will ever wake up. When he does comes to, five years have passed and he has a new body that is in way better shape than his old one. Being alive is obviously better than being dead, but Travis quickly discovers that starting life over is much more complicated than he ever imagined. First of all, he is still technically sixteen and has to finish high school while everyone else he knows has moved on to work or college. Next, his girlfriend and love of his life Cate Conroy now has a fiancÃ©e. A fiancÃ©e! And if all that wasnâ€™t enough, thereâ€™s also the little matter of skinny jeans.
â€œâ€™These are pretty tight,â€™ I said, walking out to model a pair of jeans for my mom.
â€˜Itâ€™s the style.â€™
â€˜I donâ€™t understand. I can hardly moveâ€¦are these girl jeans?â€™
â€˜No, Travis. I told you. Itâ€™s what everyone wears now. Boys and girls.â€™â€
Suddenly, being back isnâ€™t all that great. â€œI thought if I woke up at all, it would be in a hundred years to a brand-new world full of new people. But instead there I was stuck in this mutated version of my old life where everyone had grown-up just enough to forget about meâ€¦I came back from the dead for this? Jokeâ€™s on me.â€ This fresh, funny novel about losing your life in order to find your place is hands down the most original story Iâ€™ve read in ages. Travisâ€™ voice is sweet and folky, full of a bewilderment that anyone who’s ever found themselves in a fish-out-of-water situation can relate to. I was an unabashed fan of Corey Whaleyâ€™s debut novel, and Iâ€™m happy to say that his sophomore effort more than meets my sky-high expectations. Thereâ€™s something just a little bit genius about using a decapitated head as a symbol for teenage identity formation, and I urge you to sample the genius for yourselves. Heads will roll in a library, bookstore or e-reader near you April 2014.