April 25, 2018

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The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik by David Arnold | SLJ Review

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redstarARNOLD, David. The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik. 432p. Viking. May 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780425288863.

Gr 9 Up –It’s nearly the end of summer before senior year, and introspective David Bowie fan Noah Oakman feels stuck. The Rosa-Haas twins, Val and Alan, have been Noah’s best friends since he moved to Iverton, IL. When Val drags him to a drinking party he’d rather not attend, Noah decides to imbibe, the night gets stranger than he expected; he gets hypnotized by a homeschooled kid. Suddenly, everything feels different in “most peculiar” small ways. The past, the present, and everyone has slight differences that are making him question his sanity. Why is Val suddenly talking about UCLA instead of SAIC? Why is Alan’s room filled with Marvel instead of DC comics like it always had been? And Noah is sure that his parents watched Friends every night, but suddenly it is, was, and always will be Seinfeld. Readers are in for a weird, light sci-fi adventure here with a major twist and an unexpected third act emergency. Arnold’s latest is ambitious, bizarre, and a book his fans will adore. While a bit heady, this is a comedic coming-of-age tale with plenty of pop culture and literary references and the snarky, casual, and observational feel of a mumblecore comedy. Supporting characters are fully fleshed out and hilarious. VERDICT A weird, compelling teen-angst trip that will appeal to fans of John Corey Whaley.–Emily Moore, Camden County Library System, NJ

This review was published in the School Library Journal April 2018 issue.

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