Trending Thursday: Return From the Dead

Welcome to Trending Thursday, a new weekly feature!  I pick a trend of some sort and tell you about it and then we can discuss!

Nearly a year ago at BEA, a publicist from Harlequin put this book in my hands, telling me that Brad Pitt's production company had optioned it.

I took the ARC, but haven't read it because it wasn't YA and I thought it seemed kind of morbid -- it's about an older couple whose eight year old son died back in the 1960s. Decades later, he shows up on their doorstep -- alive, and still eight.

Resurrection, a TV show based on the book, premiered last month on ABC:

And since then, I've read two YA books with a similar "returned from the dead" premise and heard about a third:

by John Corey Whaley
To be published on April 8, 2014
by Atheneum Books.

This book ... okay, the premise is pretty out-there and I'm kind of glad I didn't know that going in. So if you aren't always up for out-there books, stop reading NOW. Still here? Okay, the main character has cancer,  and when conventional treatments aren't working, his parents are told that the only hope is cryogenically freezing him. Well, not all of him. Just part of him. Then he's ... reanimated. Yes, this might sound a) creepy or c) just weird, but in an odd kind of way, this book is realistic fiction at its best -- a poignant, humorous, thought-provoking look at what happens to a boy after the world goes on without him and then he gets dropped back into it. Think Frankenstein meets Rip Van Winkle.  I really enjoyed it a lot.

Then I started reading this book, and I'll be darned if the premise isn't kind of similar:

The Taking
by Kimberly Derting
To be published by HarperTeen
on April 29, 2014

In this one, Kyra's on her way home from a softball game, bickering with her father about her college choices, when she vanishes into thin air. Then, five years later, she finds herself plopped back into her life with no explanation for her disappearance. Without spoilers, I'll just say that this one has more suspense and paranormal elements than Noggin. 

Then yesterday, I saw this on Addict Readers blog:

Sleeping Jenny
by Aubrie Dionne
Spencer Hill Press

As the daughter of multimillionaires, Jennifer has everything she's ever needed, except time. Diagnosed with a form of incurable cancer, she has only months to live, and her dreams of working for National Geographic to save African elephants and polar bears are shattered. Her only hope is an experimental cryogenic freezing program, which will keep her in stasis until doctors can find a cure. The cure comes three hundred years too late, and she wakes to a futuristic world where animals are all but forgotten.

Rip Van Winkle, Sleeping Beauty, dead-or-seemingly-dead people who suddenly reappear or reawaken.... 

Have you read other YA books that have similar themes? The only ones I could think of were two science fiction YA books that involve characters who are frozen or put into stasis:

A Long Long Sleep
by Anna Sheehan
(Candlewick 2011)

Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for sixty-two years when she is woken by a kiss. Locked away in the chemically induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten subbasement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now, her parents and her first love are long gone, and Rose -- hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire -- is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat. Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existence, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes -- or be left without any future at all.

Across the Universe
by Beth Revis
(Razorbill 2011)

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules. Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone - one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship - tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next. Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

Any other books I should add to this mini-trend? And what do you think of it?


  1. Great post Jen! When I saw you talk about the topic Returning from The Dead, that new ABC show came into my mind! I think it might be an okay shows, but the thread is so out of date for me. I feel like no matter how many twists authors put into their books, just don't have been hooked on this thread! But I did love Across The Universe!

    Happy Reading
    Patrick @ The Bookshelves

    1. Like you, I wasn't really sure about the "back from the dead" premise, but I really enjoyed Noggin a lot. I thought it did a great job of showing hat happens if your life goes on without you and then suddenly, you're back in it....

  2. I remember reading the premise and decided The Returned was not for me, like I couldn't handle it. But it's weird how then I was super excited for Resurrection. lol Maybe the book's emotion seemed like more to me. Not sure there. But maybe I should revisit. I haven't read any of the rest though I feel like Noggin would be too much for me. Across the Universe has been on my TBR for so long too!

    1. Do you like the show??
      Noggin was really good and you should definitely read ATU too!!

  3. I thought The Returned was actually kind of boring, to be honest haha. Nothing happens in the book and there were way too many unanswered questions for my liking.
    On the whole, I guess I like the trend of resurrections but then again, I'm fine with most trends as long as the execution is there. I have The Taking on my TBR, so hopefully that one's pretty good!

    1. Ha -- well, maybe better that I skipped it. Yeah, I mean when someone vanishes and reappears the same age decades later. I'd think there has to be some supernatural explanation. That is the case in The Taking, which I enjoyed for the most part...

  4. I've only read Across The Universe from this list, but I'm not really fond of the trend. I think that death is the ultimate consequence for characters, and when they take that away, it makes the rest of the book seem implausible. I guess most of these books are a bit different - the MC's are cryogenically frozen and then reanimated. I do think that Noggin sounds really interesting though, and I think I'll pick it up. Great post!

    1. That's a good point. Being mortal is what makes us human and when you take that away, it's a different kind of story.

      Noggin -- as crazy as it sounds -- IS realistic fiction, albeit a book that looks at the human consequences of technology, etc. The Taking is definitely paranormal. Not sure about the show and it sounds like the book leaves it unresolved???

  5. I think it's a cool trend, it's very sci-fi and I see YA has trended toward light sci-fi for the past few years.

  6. I find this topic interesting when it’s about teens. I don’t know why, but I can’t handle it when it’s about adults or kids. I loved The Taking and Across the universe, but I still haven’t watch any TV show.
    Great post!
    Lis @ The reader lines

  7. There's always one book that BEA pushes like crazy - The Returned was that book last year lol I think they gave me and Kevin 5 copies (I returned all but one - and I haven't read it either)

    Noggin sounds awesome!

  8. I remember debating The Returned when it was up on NG, but ultimately passed because it just didn't sound like my type of book. When the French show called The Returned aired a few months ago--with pretty much the exact same premise I thought that IT was the show based on the book before I found out about the ABC show. I haven't watched either...and the ABC show looks like it veers into some serious melodrama.

    I have a copy of Noggin and read the first chapter or so, but I'm in the middle of two other books I'm really enjoying so I'm waiting until I finish them to really dive in. I'm happy you enjoyed it. I'm excited for The Taking, too. I really enjoyed the first couple of books in the Body Finder series.

    I don't have any books to add to your list, but it is an interesting trend. Great post!

  9. I started to watching Resurrection and it has me hooked. I want to know what is bring all these people back.

  10. I miss your blog. I've been gone so long, I don't even recognize this feature!!!

  11. I've not read any of those but that cover for A Long Long Sleep is beautiful. I'm thinking I need to add it to my wish list. I can't say the return trope really grips me but I think I could like it if done well. I haven't heard anything about Noggin--seems very strange. That cover is so very odd. Great post!

  12. I just read Noggin and loved it! I really need to read The Returned too, I hear it's fantastic. I saw Sleeping Jenny on someone's blog and thought it looked interesting, but I'm definitely seeing a lot of these stories, and they do freak me out, even if they end up being really well written, like Noggin. Awesome post!

  13. I watched Resurrection a few times, but it's a little weird for me. I am sure that it would be far more interesting to read. But that is just me.

  14. I actually haven't read any books that have this topic, but few of these books are on my TBR list, so I hope I'll read something soon.

  15. The resurrection commercials have seriously turned me off

  16. I have read Across the Universe and A Long Long Sleep. I enjoyed them both.I also watch Resurrection and I love it.

  17. I always feel so unsure of these types of story lines, but Noggin and The Taking look so good. The Taking, from the synopsis, sounds a little like The 4400 and I used to love that show!

  18. Great post again.

    I have read Across the Universe and it was okay.

    I do have The Taking on my wish list.

    I don't know how I feel about this whole theme though.


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