Where Things Come Back Tour: Beware Ornithological Cannibalism

I reviewed John Corey Whaley’s Printz and Morris award-winning Where Things Come Back nearly a year ago. When writing enthusiastic reviews, I always wonder which of the books I love will be temporary obsessions and which ones will stick with me. There is no doubt that WTCB is one that will continue to leave a long-lasting impression. This quotable, intricate, and unusual book remains one of the few recent YA novels that stood out to me as a classic in the making.

I originally read the book together with Ginger of GReads!, and Ginger remains one of the most enthusiastic WTCB fans around. In honor of Where Things Come (Paper)Back–the paperback release of WTCB–Ginger put together a tour and giveaway. Check out GReads! for more information about the tour and the giveaway of this gorgeous signed book, now plastered in shiny awards.

Love John Corey Whaley’s Where Things Come Back? Join me in enjoying a Lazarus Woodpecker-inspired meal…but please don’t eat any actual woodpeckers.

“I couldn’t help imagining, as I bit into my Lazarus Burger on the way home from work, what it might be like if the bird actually did exist and happened upon one of these sandwiches. The burger itself wasn’t made from woodpeckers, of course, but instead was a quarter pound of beef with ketchup, mayonnaise, and barbecue sauce. The red, the white, and the dark brown were supposed to remind one of the bird but only reminded me of ordering the same burger when it was called the Number Three.”

I admittedly did not prepare an authentic Lazarus Burger. For one thing, I don’t eat red meat, so I made mine with a black bean burger. For another, I *love* cheese, so I had a delicious Number Three instead. I grilled the burger, toasted the bun on the grill, and then gave my bun its woodpecker stripes with mayo, ketchup, and Famous Dave’s barbecue sauce. I topped the burger with a slice of havarti cheese.

To accompany my burger, I made a red-headed woodpecker. (This one is only for the 21+ fans of WTCB….but I’m sure the younger folk could just enjoy a similar juice blend.)

Prepare the drink by filling a cocktail shaker with ice and adding the following:

2 oz coconut rum

1 oz amaretto

2 oz orange juice

2 oz pineapple juice (I used pineapple-coconut)

Shake well. Add enough cranberry juice to turn the drink red (it’s very pretty) and serve.

This fruity beverage was quite tasty, but make no mistake: The name is based on the color, not the taste. The tropical flavor is not reminiscent of woodpecker habitat, but the deep red color makes for a nice presentation alongside the Lazarus burger.

Whatever you do, don’t let any woodpeckers eat your Lazarus burger. Cullen Witter does not approve of ornithological cannibalism, and neither do I.

If the Lazarus burger leaves you hungry for a great book, be sure to check out Where Things Come Back. It has a little something for everyone–and that includes both the Morris and Printz committees, so that’s really saying something. The recipe for WTCB might look like a mixture of literary YA, atmospheric southern setting, coming of age story, suspense plot, a tall glass of hope, and a zombie fantasy on the side.

Need a little more convincing? Check out the rest of the stops on the tour:


If You Like Downton Abbey

If You Like… is a feature highlighting blogger recommendations for books, authors, TV shows, movies, and music based on the things you already know and love. This week’s post includes recommendations related to Downton Abbey.

If you like Downton Abbey, you might like


Recommended by Heidi @ YA Bibliophile:

  • The Season by Sarah MacLean
  • The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell: Set in Baltimore, but still awesome.
  • Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury
  • Wentworth Hall by Abby Grahame: This one is on my TBR since it seems very Downton Abbey-esque.

Recommended by Jennifer @ YA Book Nerd:


Recommended by Heidi @ YA Bibliophile:

Recommended by Jennifer @ YA Book Nerd:

What books, movies, tv, and music would you recommend for fans of Downton Abbey? Share your own suggestions in the comments!

If you would like to get involved in future weeks of “If You Like…” please contact me for more information. You can check out past weeks of If You Like posts here.

Unfurl the Jib: Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker

Clementine is forced to spend a summer on a boat with her family. This would be bad enough if it was any other summer, but to make it all worse, this is the summer after Clementine has lost all of her friends and had her heart broken into a million little pieces. Her life is hard enough having to listen to people sing “Oh my darling…” to her all the time, but Clem’s teenage woe is not enough to save her from a summer of quality family time. A vacation on a boat is not ideal for Clem, and a vacation with an angsty teenager isn’t exactly ideal for her family either, but it’s a summer for learning to make the best of things.

Melissa Walker’s Unbreak My Heart is a lovely summer read that mixes easy breezy vacation life and real life complexity beautifully by alternating chapters between past and present. Walker handles the difficulties of friendship, infidelity, and grieving well by presenting the grey areas of situations from unexpected viewpoints and pacing information such that the reader constantly has to recalibrate their opinions about characters.

That said, the family dynamics and unusual setting trumped the plotting for me. Clem’s family was completely relatable and very present in a way that is uncommon for YA, and I haven’t had such a good time vicariously floating down a river since Huck and Jim. Since actual sailing would probably make me extremely ill and possibly claustrophobic, I was perfectly content enjoying the trip through fiction. And I couldn’t keep myself from laughing hysterically every time someone said “unfurl the jib.” I still have no idea what that means, but it makes me laugh.

Contemp fans looking for a summer read will appreciate the authenticity of Unbreak My Heart and its unfamiliar approach to familiar topics.


If You Like The Cutting Edge

If You Like… is a feature highlighting blogger recommendations for books, authors, TV shows, movies, and music based on the things you already know and love. This week’s post includes recommendations related to The Cutting Edge. Watch out for your toe pick.

If you like The Cutting Edge, you might like


Recommended by Karen @ Teen Librarian’s Toolbox:

Recommended by Kari @ A Good Addiction:

  • Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler: MC is an ex-figure skater. And falls for a hot hockey boy. And there are other hot hockey boys. And cupcakes. Yay.
  • Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler: Injured basketball player falls for a hockey boy. Oh. Yes. Hotness.
  • Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols: No hockey, but there is plane flying. And romance. And hotness. And more hotness.

Recommended by Jen @ YA Romantics:

  • Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler: Hudson isn’t a spoiled rich girl like Kate Moseley in The Cutting Edge, but Hudson was a former figure skater who had her skating dreams crushed. Now she waitresses, thinks up cupcake recipes, and looks after her quirky brother, Bug. When her high school hockey team asks for a few pointers, she contemplates getting back on the ice again.
  • Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler: Chelsea, a basketball player, suffers an injury that puts her sports career in jeopardy. She and her family head to a Minnesota lake camp, where Chelsea’s father hires ex-hockey player Clint to help her with her rehab.

Recommended by Twan @ Artie Is My Muse:

  • The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas: Hockey! Good book, but definitely tough, especially if you’ve lost a parent (or come close).

Recommended by Jessica @ I Read to Relax:

Recommended by Jennifer @ YA Book Nerd:

  • Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock: DJ exchanges banter with Brian as she helps make him a better quarterback.
  • Double Twist by Donna King: Laura needs to find a new skating partner two weeks before the Junior Pair skating championship.
  • Playing with the Boys by Liz Tigelaar: When she fails to make the soccer team in a new town, the soccer coach suggest Lucy try out for the football team as they need a new kicker.
  • Icing on the Lake by Catherine Clark: Kirsten moves in with her sister to help out around the house.  She meets two brothers during the cold winter month, just perfect for ice skating.
  • Snow Queen by Emma Harrison: Aubrey’s excited to go to Vermont with her best friend, as she’s never seen snow. Soon, she’s mixed up with a beauty pageant and fighting to save her friendship.
  • Waiting for You by Susane Colasanti: Marisa thought she had the perfect life…until she realizes it’s all a disappointment. Could she be missing something right in front of her face?
  • Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally: Jordan’s the QB, and isn’t sure love will fit in the picture around the guys. Could she be missing out on something great?


Recommended by Twan @ Artie Is My Muse:

  • The Mighty Ducks Trilogy: Hockey!! I love these movies; I saw every one of them in the theater and I silently fumed for days when my city finally got a minor league hockey team AFTER I left.
  • Ice Princess: Figure skating! And a smart girl! Total win.
  • Miracle: Hockey! This movie. That is all.
  • Personal Best: Track! One of the earlier mainstream LGBT movies.
  • Cool Runnings: Bobsledding! This is one of my grandma’s favorite movies and that makes it one of mine; it’s based on a true story and is funny and heartwarming and pretty much perfect.
  • Ice Castles: Figure skating! I’ll admit while this is supposed to be very heartwarming it isn’t one of my favorites, but worth watching at least once.
  • Go Figure: Hockey and figure skating! It’s a DCOM so you know it has to be fun.
  • Make It or Break It: Gymnastics! One of those drama filled shows that you (or maybe just me) CAN’T STOP WATCHING.

Recommended by Jessica @ I Read to Relax:

Recommended by Jennifer @ YA Book Nerd:

  • Wimbledon: Two tennis players meet during one of biggest tournaments of the year.
  • League of Their Own: Two sisters join the baseball league during WWII to prove that women can play sports.
  • Bend it Like Beckham: One girl rebels against her traditional parents to join a soccer team.
  • Make it Or Break It: Four girls fight to make their Olympic dreams come true between drama, romance, and friendship.

What books, movies, tv, and music would you recommend for fans of The Cutting Edge? Share your own suggestions in the comments!

If you would like to get involved in future weeks of “If You Like…” please contact me for more information. You can check out past weeks of If You Like posts here.

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