THE STRANGE FASCINATIONS OF NOAH HYPNOTIK by David Arnold
David Arnold is the NYT bestselling author of KIDS OF APPETITE and MOSQUITOLAND; two books that have been recommended to me but I haven’t had the chance to read yet. Noah Hypnotik’s story was an immersive one, and so strangely fascinating at the same time.
Noah Hypnotik is at a party, (against his will but convinced by his best friends Alan and Val to join), when he stumbles across Circuit, a curious boy in the library he feels a connection to. Circuit proceeds to hypnotize Noah later that night, and Noah leaves the second he realizes what’s happening, stumbling into a world that he slowly begins to realize is not the same anymore. There are things that have changed inexplicably; “Noah swears his friend Alan had a massive collection of Marvel comics, but Alan says he’s always been into DC, its competitor. His friend Val definitely gained internet fame through her posts about movies, but now her entire feed is about music. His mother suddenly has a scar on her face; when asked how she got it, she doesn’t respond.”
But there are four fascinations of Noah that haven’t changed, like OMG (Old Man Goiter) who he spots walking along the same path every morning, and The Fading Girl ( a video of a woman slowly aging) that he watches obsessively every day.
In this witty and intelligent novel, Noah decides to explore his fascinations – the things that didn’t change – to understand what had happened to his world. I have to admit, it wasn’t easy to get into this novel at first, and I didn’t like Noah as a character and person in general. It’s also possible that it was the writing style that took a little getting used to, or the initial slowness in pace. But as I got further into the story, I felt I moved into Noah’s world with the help of his friends Alan and Val, and his adorable sister Penn (who loves Audrey Hepburn too!), and as I got to know these people in Noah’s “orbit”, I felt more comfortable inside his odd-teenage mind. Once his fascinations took center stage, I felt myself letting go of my own reality to slip completely into this story.
I loved how well researched it was, especially Noah’s belief in David Bowie and love for the iconic musician and actor. This is one aspect of the book that I think will definitely make it an enjoyable read for people of all ages. There are also a lot of sentiments in there that bookworms will relate to, including an entire conversation between Noah and a girl in the library which carried the names of authors and books that I absolutely love too (including Haruki Murakami and Virginia Woolf).
As dense as it felt at first, this is a refreshing coming of age story; oddly compelling, quirky and a little offbeat. The surreal magic realism aspect makes this a bit of a whimsical read too.
THE STRANGE FASCINATIONS OF NOAH HYNOTIK takes a look at how the smallest decisions can impact a whole life, it shows how important it is to have people in your life who love you and who you love, it also shows that you never really know what is really going on – not unless you investigate.
I’m so pleased to be a part of this blog tour, organized by PRH International (Viking Books for Young Readers). The ISBN of this book is 9780451480477. The publisher sent me a free copy in exchange for an honest review. Being part of the blog tour has not affected my opinions.
I rated this book 3.5 stars.
Here’s a quick list of my own strange fascinations (things I’m a little obsessed with):
1. The film About Time, which I’ve watched at least 25 times.
2. Looking at pictures of abandoned places (I often spend hours doing this.)
3. Watching videos and reading about Princess Diana.