The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik

David Arnold. Viking, $18.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-425-28886-3
In Arnold’s (Mosquitoland) dry-witted and existentially minded story, 16-year-old Noah Oakman’s life has been laid out in front of him. College swimming recruiters are calling, and all he sees ahead of him are four unfulfilling years at a college he is unenthusiastic about. To get some breathing space, he fakes a back injury, and afterward, begins to focus more on his strange fascinations: four seemingly unconnected people. During a disorienting drunken night, Noah meets Circuit Lovelock, the son of a famous inventor, telling him “It’s like my life is this old sweater. And I’ve outgrown it.” Circuit’s attempt to hypnotize Noah recalibrates his reality, and everything has changed, except for his strange fascinations and a handful of people who, Noah realizes, share a common trait: loneliness. Arnold’s characters are seeking higher meaning but he manages to keep the story from drifting into the esoteric by creating moments of true tenderness. Noah’s own writing (“I think writing is less about the words and more about the silence between them”) and his internal exploration propel the narrative forward, allowing Arnold to explore the stagnancy of a predetermined path and unanswered questions about reality, interpretation, and imagination. Ages 14–up. Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writers House. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/19/2018
Release date: 05/22/2018
Genre: Children's
Other - 978-0-525-48726-5
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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