Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik
by Arnold, David

"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 excepthis Strange Fascinations"-

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 over a dozen languages.
Learn more at and follow him on Twitter @roofbeam and Instagram @iamdavidarnold.

*Starred Review* Noah is a rising senior who loves three other things: David Bowie, making real-world connections, and minutiae. Life is good, except Noah dreads returning to the swim team, making a decision about college, and being alone. After leaving an end-of-summer party drunk, Noah feels hypnotized. As a result, he detects slight changes in his family, friends, and external life. The minutiae turn into obsessions, four of which become his Strange Fascinations: a local semi-celebrity musician, who dropped a photo that is now in Noah's possession; an old man with a goiter, who he sees walking alone every morning; his favorite deceased author, whose words and sketches are codes to crack; and a woman on YouTube, whose video is comprised of pictures she has taken of herself every day for four decades. They are the only things in his life that go unchanged, and he sets out to learn why, making connections he never dreamed of in the process. Highly introspective and strangely fascinating, Noah dominates this surreal story with his complex internal struggles to make sense of external world "ch-ch-ch-changes." Arnold (Kids of Appetite, 2016) has written an in-your-face validation of the power of real and honest friendship, guaranteed to mesmerize readers and leave them altered. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Noah Oakman is having a rough year.There's the issue of his bad back, which has pretty much blown his champion swimming career out of the water (or has it?). And then there are the strange incongruities that keep popping up after he gets very drunk at a party one night and ends up hanging out with the son of a dead inventor (or does he?). A new scar on his mother's cheek, a clumsy dog that's suddenly cured, a best friend (gay and of Puerto Rican and Dutch descent) who is suddenly into Marvel instead of DC Comics—all these bizarre occurrences create a patchwork of confusion and dread. What happened to him the night of the party? Why does he keep having the same dream over and over? To find the answer, Noah, a white Midwestern boy, embarks on a deep dive within himself and navigates the psychological inconsistencies within his own mind with a mix of intellectual connections and acute self-importance (he is a teenager, after all) that occasionally veers toward self-indulge nce. Arnold's (Kids of Appetite, 2016, etc.) major plot points often feel convenient rather than revelatory, though the book as a whole hangs together well as a what-if, second-chance, awaking-from-a-dream narrative. A compelling exploration of a life within a life. (Fiction. 14-17) Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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