Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik by David Arnold. This tour is being hosted by Penguin Teen. Today I will have information about the book, my review, information about the author, and a little about one of my strange fascinations.
The New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland brings a speculative twist to his latest novel. The result: an incisive and deeply humane story with the feel of Haruki Murakami for teens.
“An epic wonder”* from the bestselling author of Mosquitoland
This is Noah Oakman → sixteen, Bowie believer, concise historian, disillusioned swimmer, son, brother, friend.
Then Noah → gets hypnotized.
Now Noah → sees changes–inexplicable scars, odd behaviors, rewritten histories–in all those around him. All 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.
What really stood out most for me in The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik was the writing. David Arnold has a unique writing style that just pulled me in. Nothing major needed to be happening, but I wanted to read his words.
This is an odd book because Noah is a bit odd. He lives with his parents and sister, Penny. Noah has two real friends, Alan and Val, that he spends all his free time with. They have been friends for awhile and they are very close. Noah dresses in the same clothes everyday and is obsessed with David Bowie. But Noah starts acting a bit off. He fakes an injury so he doesn’t have to swim anymore. It’s like the thought of figuring out college and his life is just too much for him.
Noah has these strange fascinations. They are random things that he obsesses over. One is an author, one is an old guy that walks alone everyday, one is a video of a woman aging, and the other is a photograph that someone dropped. Noah thinks about these things all the time. It almost takes over his whole life.
One night at a party, Noah gets drunk and meets a kid named Circuit. Circuit invites him back to his house and Noah doesn’t remember much from that time. But everything changes then. It’s all little things, but he’s positive that Circuit hypnotized him. His parents are now obsessed with Seinfield instead of Friends, his mom has a scar that he knows nothing about, Alan loves Marvel instead of DC, etc. It’s all minor things that completely changes what he knows. The only things that haven’t changed are his sister, Penny, and his strange fascinations. Even his dog is different.
Noah starts trying to connect to the people in his strange fascinations and find out more about them. He starts walking with the old man, meets up with the musician who dropped the picture, reads more from his favorite author, and starts commenting on the you tube videos of the woman. He thinks that maybe if he can find out more about them, that maybe things will start making sense in his life again.
During this time, Noah spends less time with Alan and Val and it starts affecting all of them. Their friendship isn’t the way it was and Noah realizes that it’s his fault. Those two mean everything to him, but he is terrified of being apart from them for school. This is another thing that changed. They were going to school close to Chicago, but after the night of the party, Val and Alan are talking about school in California. It’s just another thing that makes Noah panic.
A lot of the book is Noah’s thoughts. He is very much in his head all the time and he connects all these random things together in his “concise history of me”. I loved those chapters so much.
There is a twist towards the end of the book and we finally find out what happened to Noah that night. It’s pretty odd, but I ended up liking how it all came together.
While I liked Noah and his strangeness a lot, I found that my favorite characters in the book were Alan and Penny. Alan is just funny and he loves Noah so much. And Penny is adorable. I want a little sister just like her.
“Obsessed with Audrey Hepburn, talks like a middle-aged socialite, dresses like a cracked-out American Girl Doll.”
There is so much to like about this book, but I don’t want to give away too much. I want readers to go into it not knowing much about it. That’s what I did and I was so pleasantly surprised by it. It’s a great book about finding yourself, dealing with the fear of change, and friendship.
I gave this book 4 1/2 stars (rounded up to 5 on goodreads). Thank you to Penguin/Viking for sending me a copy for review.
Quote was taken from an arc and may change before final publication.
David Arnold lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with his (lovely) wife and (boisterous) son. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland, and his books have been translated into a dozen languages.
My Strange Fascination:
While this isn’t quite as strange as Noah’s fascinations, I am very fascinated by reptiles. I wasn’t always. In fact, I was terrified of snakes until about ten years ago. I liked lizards, but they still freaked me out a bit at times. Then I got to hold my first leopard gecko and everything changed. Not only was it a cool animal, but I got to learn about genetics. Science is another fascination for me. The genetics were so interesting that I decided to start breeding.
There is a lot to learn about how genetics work, and there are a lot of morphs (colors/patterns/eye traits) with leopard geckos. I started reading and couldn’t stop. I wanted all the morphs, but was able to somewhat limit myself with what I worked with. If you want a white gecko, they are out there. Black gecko, it’s being worked on still. Bright orange, there are a lot. And then there are different types of eyes. I learned about recessive, dominant, polygenic, and incomplete dominant/co-dominant. I could not get enough information. I found out that there are three different albino strains and none are compatible. There are multiple snows and multiple eye traits.
Here is the problem with reptile breeding and keeping. Once you keep one type, you just want to keep adding more. I became more and more fascinated by reptiles. I read more books and watched a lot of videos online. I started going to reptile shows to learn more. I joined forums and groups online. Since I started breeding leopard geckos 11? seasons ago, I’ve added a lot of other animals to my collection.
The next species I bred were ackie monitors. I only bred them one season.
My most recent species is egernia stokesii (gidgee skinks). I forgot to mention that you’ll also become fascinated by species names. Not the common names, but the scientific names. My skinks are live bearers, so it was the first time breeding that I didn’t need to incubate eggs. This made it much easier and there are no genetics to learn. So now the skinks are a big obsession for me.
This might be normal for other animal lovers. There are a lot of reptile breeders out there. But for a girl who doesn’t like bugs (you feed them insects) and doesn’t like to be dirty, this is a very strange thing. I am fascinated by everything to do with reptiles and will continue to learn more about them even after I stop breeding.
So not as strange as Noah’s fascinations, but still pretty odd for a lot of people. I think it still shocks the people who knew me growing up.
FOLLOW THE TOUR
May 7 – The Blonde Bookworm – Review
May 8 – Confessions of a YA Reader – Review + My Strange Fascinations
May 9 – Forever Bookish – Review
May 10 – Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile – Playlist with Graphic Quotes
May 11 – Adventures in YA Publishing – Author Q&A
May 14 – The Nerdy Girl Express – Review
May 15 – A Court of Coffee and Books – Review + Graphic Quotes
May 16 – BookCrushin – Review + Playlist
May 17 – Mind of a Book Dragon – Review
May 18 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Author Guest Post: What Would Your Strange Fascination Be?
May 21 – Pop! Goes the Reader – Wallpaper
May 22 – The Young Folks – Author Q&A
May 23 – Page Travels – Creative Instagram
May 24 – Bookfoolery – Review
May 25 – Dazzled by Books – Candle Creation Post + Review
May 28 – Paper Trail YA – Author Q&A
May 29 – Snowandbooks – Review + Aesthetic Board
May 30 – Reading Writing and Me – Book Review
May 31 – The Radiant Reader – Playlist + Creative Instagram Picture
June 1 – We Live and Breathe Books – Review + Moodboard
Thank you to Penguin Teen for letting me be a part of this tour!
Have you read any of David’s books yet?