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The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik


The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik

It is hard to find words to write a review for a book that was so incredible, so strange, so breathtaking, that far exceeded your expectations, that took you on a wild ride from page one to epilogue and captured your heart while simultaneously satisfying your every literary craving. But I will attempt to convey the depth and brilliance of THE STRANGE FASCINATIONS OF NOAH HYPNOTIK by wordsmith David Arnold, who brought the YA world the unique stories MOSQUITOLAND and KIDS OF APPETITE, and who outdid himself in his newest novel.

MOSQUITOLAND by David Arnold is one of my all time favorite books so I was beyond excited when I learned of Arnold’s plans to publish another book this year. I was nervous that this new book wouldn’t match the perfection of the first book he published, but was not disappointed at all with the story of Noah Oakman.

"Not only did this book have a fantastic main character, outstanding side characters and a peculiar and unique plot, but it also contained some of the best writing I have ever read."

See, Noah is next to normal. He has two best friends, siblings Alan and Val, and together they form a delicate triangle of friendship. He is a swimmer and like many 16-year-olds, he has no idea what he wants to do in the future. But Noah is also a believer in David Bowie, an aspiring author who writes “concise histories” of himself, and has strange fascinations: an author and her novels, an old man, a video of an aging woman, a photograph from a musician.

But one day, after a party, too many drinks and a visit with a strange son of an inventor, Noah’s life starts to change. Not drastically, just in small ways. His mother adopts a scar, his old, clumsy dog has a new lease on life, his vegan dad now eats meat. But Noah finds that amid all these subtle changes to everything in his life, a few things have stayed the same --- his strange fascinations. So Noah begins to investigate them more deeply, trying to make sense of this new life and along the way discovers truths about himself and the world in his pursuit of normal.

Noah Oakman was just the character I was waiting for. He was quirky, but on an extremely relatable level. He suffered from ordinary problems like friends, school and family but the way that Arnold approaches his struggles is in such a remarkable manner that it manages to shift the readers’ perspectives on their own similar problems. Noah’s friends Alan and Val as well as his family members added another layer of quirk and lovableness to this book and elevated the writing and plot.   

Not only did this book have a fantastic main character, outstanding side characters and a peculiar and unique plot, but it also contained some of the best writing I have ever read. I was so enthralled by David Arnold’s MOSQUITOLAND because of writing style, word choice and characterization, but it was really only the tip of the iceberg of his capability compared to STRANGE FASCINATIONS. Arnold crafts sentences and paragraphs to be simultaneously philosophical,  genuine, and utterly relatable stream of consciousness. Noah’s voice became distinct and intriguing as Arnold told his bizarre tale. I could not put this book down as I hung on every sentence Arnold wrote, every quip and piece of dialogue. He even includes pop culture references like to “Gilmore Girls,” Marvel and David Bowie, while also including references to fictional places and people. THE STRANGE FASCINATIONS OF NOAH HYPNOTIK introduced me to a world so intriguing and captivating that I wanted to live there and witness the strange fascinations of Noah for myself.

If you love being entertained, reading something that makes you think, realistic and lovable characters, a weird and delightful plot, and writing that is so beautifully crafted it nearly takes your breath away then you must read THE STRANGE FASCINATIONS OF NOAH HYPNOTIK. Seriously, you will not be disappointed by this book. And if you are like me, then this book might become one of your strange fascinations too.

Reviewed by Ellie T., Teen Board Member on June 13, 2018

The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik
by David Arnold