Genre: YA, Contemporary
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 22nd 2018
My Rating: 4 Cups
Blurb (from Goodreads):
“An epic wonder”* from the bestselling author of Mosquitoland*Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.
This is Noah Oakman → sixteen, Bowie believer, concise historian, disillusioned swimmer, son, brother, friend.
Then Noah → gets hypnotized.
Now Noah → sees changes: his mother has a scar on her face that wasn’t there before; his old dog, who once walked with a limp, is suddenly lithe; his best friend, a lifelong DC Comics disciple, now rotates in the Marvel universe. Subtle behaviors, bits of history, plans for the future—everything in Noah’s world has been rewritten. Everything except his Strange Fascinations . . .
A stunning surrealist portrait, The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik is a story about all the ways we hurt our friends without knowing it, and all the ways they stick around to save us.
*Adam Silvera, bestselling author of More Happy Than Not and They Both Die at the End
This was my first book by David Arnold and the first thing that comes to mind to say right now is: Wow! What a trip this book takes you on.
Sixteen year old Noah Oakman is at the center of this book and I absolutely adored him. He is what most teenagers I knew and was friends with - back when I was his age - were like. He's probably one of the really few heroes in YA literature I've identified with as much. He is the kind of teenager that gets obsessed with one thing and rolls with it. In Noah's case is David Bowie and Gilmore Girls. How cool is that? I liked seeing him struggle with his new reality, trying to make sense of things, while also trying to figure out where he messed up. At times I wanted him to realize what he had and be more honest with the people around him, especially his parents, and himself, but ultimately I liked him, faults and all
Arnold wrote a story that goes beyond the simple adventure of a boy being hypnotized, a boy trying to make sense of life. I loved how the author explored the simple, yet important things: love, friendship, hobbies, the scary future teens have to face once they graduate high school. The question I had while reading this book was this: Are we still the same if our hobbies change? If I enjoy one tv show rather than another, if I listen to one genre of music and not a different one, am I still me? Do the little things make the people around us be who they are or does it somehow not matter? Also, why do certain things stay the same? I loved seeing Noah trying to make sense of why certain things were the same as before, while others changed.
I also loved the way the author, through Noah, made some fascinating connections. From Elvis and Bowie, to the meaning behind the family dog's name, Fluff, came about, the book is full of connections between historical, famous people sharing either birth date, name, or death date, and people or animals or objects important to Noah: everything that can be linked, was. Don't be fooled though, because these connections aren't as random as they sound: the thread that connects them is really intriguing and it goes beyond name or birth date. A few of them made me smile, others made me a bit sad, but the history nerd in me loved these little connections. There are also a lot of illustrations in this book, which I loved. They make Noah's story a lot more quirky and more visual than it would have been without it.
All in all, I loved this story, and I loved the writing style. I will definitely add David Arnold's books on my reading list in the future.
As you know, I can't help myself but make up a soundtrack playlist for almost every book I read, and I made one for The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik too.
- Ziggy Stardust - David Bowie
- Ain't No Rest For The Wicked - Cage The Elephant
- S.O.B - Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
- Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da - The Beatles
- Glass House - Kaleo
- Pencil Full Of Lead - Paolo Nutini
- Voodoo - Screamin' Jay Hawkins
- With A Little Help From My Friends - Joe Cocker