Tried to read this on my Nook last year and, well, my Nook and I didn't really like reading together. So, I picked up a paperback copy at an indie bookstore and read it over the course of 24 hours. What works here? For me: everything. A story about a sixteen year old kid named Cullen, Whaley boldly and successfully branches the narrative out, weaving it all back together in the final twenty-five pages or so.
To try and explain, I'd have to spoil everything, even some things that happen early enough. Let me try it this way: Cullen's town seems cursed and the parallel between a missing person and the potential return of a long-extinct woodpecker travel along a fascinating path until the conclusion begs you to make an interpretive choice that made me think of stories as random as Kafka's "Metamorphosis" and Tim O'Brien's best works. Basically, it's not that Whaley leaves you without an answer as to what everything meant and what Cullen's faced with going forward. In fact, it's more satisfying than a neatly tied up ending.
In some ways I'm sorry I waited so long to get back to this book, but maybe we read books at certain times for certain reasons. Who cares -- check this one out and prepare yourself for some excellent friendship between Cullen & Lucas, amazing exploration of loss and uncertainty, and the tricky nature of a small town groping for its big moment.