A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers will learn about cryogenic science and the fictional advancement of the ability to surgically freeze bodies to reattach them at a later date.
There are a lot of positive messages about life, dying, friendship, and what makes us human.
Positive Role Models
Travis isn't a perfect character, but, despite his unique situation, he's relatable and smart and worth getting to know. His parents are loving and encouraging, even though they're going through unheard-of circumstances. His friends prove themselves loyal and true, although they're both five years older than their best friend.
Violence & Scariness
The description of the surgery in which Travis was surgically beheaded might disturb some readers, and there are mentions of teen death.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Travis remembers how close he and Cate came to losing their virginity, but the moment never fully materialized once he got too sick. New Travis can't stop thinking about Cate having slept with her fiancé when it should have been him and how unfair life is. He also marvels at his new "equipment" and masturbates. He tries to kiss Cate.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Standard language for a teen book, including "a--hole," "s--t," "f--k," and "dick."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Passing references to Steak 'n Shake restaurant, Facebook, Dell, Google, Windows, Disney princesses, J. Crew, the Apple store, and other mall stores.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink socially.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Noggin is the second novel by award-winning young adult author John Corey Whaley. Unlike his first novel, Where Things Come Back, this one has a straightforward, singular narrative that mixes contemporary, realistic teen fiction with science fiction (a dying teen's head is cryogenically frozen and reanimated five years later by being attached to another young man's decapitated body). There's occasional strong language (including "a--hole," "s--t," and "f--k") and references to sex (although the protagonist doesn't have it), virginity, masturbation, and penis size, but this is still a unique coming-of-age story that's appropriate for younger teens and should appeal to both boy and girl readers.
Is It Any Good?
Whaley's such a talented writer, he deserves a bigger readership; his books are about complicated characters, but his language is crisp and easy to follow (and often hilarious). It's difficult to read second novels from outstanding debut authors; readers understandably believe that the sophomore effort can't be nearly as good as the first. But John Corey Whaley joins the ranks of esteemed writers such as Melina Marchetta, Rainbow Rowell, Andrew Smith, and Patrick Ness -- all YA authors who proved they were not one-hit wonders. Whaley once again focuses on a male protagonist going through a crisis readers can't personally relate to but will still empathize with because of his layered, emotional journey. Travis Coates is an ordinary teen going through something so extraordinary only one other person in the world -- a thirtysomething dad named Lawrence (the only other reanimated man to survive) -- has experienced. But we're right there with Travis as he adjusts to (and revels in) his awesome new body, gets reacquainted with his parents and his best friend Kyle (now a closeted gay college student), and misguidedly tries to win Cate back as his true love.
Travis' story doesn't have a pat ending that will satisfy readers looking for high romance or happily-ever-afters. But teens (and parents) looking for a compelling read about a future medical possibility that doesn't seem all that far-fetched will be rewarded with rich characterization, teen humor, heartache, and a valuable lesson that happiness doesn't always mean getting everything you want but rather enjoying the healthy life you have to live.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate