This week’s New Title Tuesday pick, The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik, by David Arnold is a creative take on friendships and a teenager’s simultaneous need to change and a desire for things to stay the same.
Publisher’s Summary – No matter how organized I get my room, my records, my books, no matter how precisely I communicate a thing, or how many arrows point to how many objects, in the end I’m floating through space in a most peculiar 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.
This novel is entertaining and gratefully not one of the dystopian or overly romantic titles that fill the Young Adult catalog. And speaking of YA, this leans more toward the adult-ish side of the target age range due to salty language and references to sex. On the upside, the protagonist, Noah, is not wildly obsessed with sex and losing his virginity. He’s concerned about what comes after high school; he considers literary and scientific principles and his place in the universe.
The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik “is a shivery and vaguely psychedelic story about loneliness and the multiverse and change and adolescence. If that sounds too heady, it’s also about David Bowie and Marvel comics,” wrote Constance Grady in her review for Vox. And I agree with Grady that it’s both a heady and a fun book to read.
Others must agree since the film rights have already been bought by Paramount Variety reported. Transporting this novel that spends so much time inside Noah’s head is ambitious. So my advice is to read The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik before filming begins.
Happy Reading, Susan C.
Also by Arnold
Kids of Appetite – Victor Benucci and Madeline Falco have a story to tell.
It begins with the death of Vic’s father. It ends with the murder of Mad’s uncle.
The Hackensack Police Department would very much like to hear it. But in order to tell their story, Vic and Mad must focus on all the chapters in between.
This is a story about:
- A coded mission to scatter ashes across New Jersey.
- The momentous nature of the Palisades in winter.
- One dormant submarine.
- Two songs about flowers.
- Being cool in the traditional sense.
- Sunsets & ice cream & orchards & graveyards.
- Simultaneous extreme opposites.
- A narrow escape from a war-torn country.
- A story collector.
- How to listen to someone who does not talk.
- Falling in love with a painting.
- Falling in love with a song.
- Falling in love.
Mosquitoland – After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the “wastelands” of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.
So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.
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A Million Junes by Emily Henry – In their hometown of Five Fingers, Michigan, the O’Donnells and the Angerts have mythic legacies. But for all the tall tales they weave, both founding families are tight-lipped about what caused the century-old rift between them, except to say it began with a cherry tree. Eighteen-year-old Jack “June” O’Donnell doesn’t need a better reason than that. But when Saul Angert, the son of June’s father’s mortal enemy, returns to town after three mysterious years away, June can’t seem to avoid him. Soon the unthinkable happens: She finds she doesn’t exactly hate the gruff, sarcastic boy she was born to loathe. Saul’s arrival sparks a chain reaction, and as the magic, ghosts, and coywolves of Five Fingers conspire to reveal the truth about the dark moment that started the feud, June must question everything she knows about her family and the father she adored.