Noah Oakman’s life feels like it has stagnated. While he and his two best friends are all preparing for the future after high school, he just can’t bring himself to be excited about college. A chance meeting at a party with a boy named Circuit leads Noah to confront a number of unexpected changes as well as his entire outlook on reality in the captivating novel, The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik.
After what felt like a chance meeting, Noah starts noticing strange little changes in the world around him. His closest friend Alan who loved DC Comics, suddenly only talks about Marvel, his mother has a visible scar that he doesn’t recognize, even his family dog seems to be behaving like an entirely different pet. As he tries to understand what is going on, he finds himself on a quest to understand why certain things have changed, while others haven’t and in doing so he travels down a path into his own peculiar fascinations and their connections to his life. Throughout The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik the story moves between Noah’s journey and the work he does on concise histories. Each concise history is inspired by something Noah experiences and provides the reader with additional information as well as Noah’s insight into specific people and events. There are also references to a novel written by Noah’s favorite author, Mila Henry. As one of the constants in his life her writing acts as a connection between him and the changes going on around him.
The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik was unlike any other book I had read before. I am a huge fan of unreliable narrators, these types of characters include Holden Caulfield and while they act as your primary character their view of the world isn’t entirely trustworthy. Within this book though Noah is a reliable narrator, the issue is that the world around him is unreliable. You can’t trust that what has been happening is true or that somehow Noah has involuntarily misled you over the course of the story. David Arnold’s character work is exceptionally detailed and even minor characters are given some form of depth that allows you to feel fully connected to Noah’s world. One of my favorite characters, outside of Noah himself, is his younger sister Penny. She has such a vibrant personality and her relationship with Noah is remarkably sweet. I was completely caught off guard at a certain point in the book and no matter how much attention you are paying to the story this moment will have you questioning everything. The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik is an engaging and thought provoking read that will have you completely hypnotized by the world you have entered. You can find it on sale on May 22nd.
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