The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik by David Arnold (411 pages)
Overview: There are many things that interest Noah that other people wouldn't give a second thought about. The old man with the goiter Noah sees on his way to school every day. The forty year time progression of aging- The Fading Girl Video. Famed and mysterious author Mila Henry. Pontious Pilot, the failed and forgetful musician from the school assembly. These are also among the only things that remain unchanged in Noah's life after the Longmire party- after Noah got hypnotized. With everything in his life subtly, yet unmistakably, wrong, Noah must patch together the meaning behind the things that have stayed the same if he ever wants to right his world. Overall: 5
Characters: 5 Noah is probably one of the few characters I could tolerate through 411 pages of very close first person. From the moment I picked up the book I was fascinated by this sixteen year old boy, from his obsession with cleanliness to the way he sees everything around him just a bit deeper than everyone else. Noah is a character that stands strongly alone but is made technicolor by the places Arnold leaves for you to connect with Noah so that you become one with each other.
Noah's way of looking at the world also helps paint the others in the story in a more vibrant way. As our narrator, he makes sure we don't miss the little details that make a person while also giving us the birds eye overview of how they are to the world.
Plot: 5 This book is an exercise in perfectly controlled randomness, much as the cover suggests. Arnold's hypnosis plot, while seeming less than plausible in the summary becomes something living and breathing as the story progresses. He throws in so many "wait what?" moments that at times the reader can feel untethered, but there is always the assurance that your being firmly held in Arnold's orbit, and this is proven with his spectacular ending.
Writing: 5 I've never gone into a book with less preconceived notions about what would happen next, and, as the book progressed, I noticed I didn't even need to bother guessing. I loved how fully Arnold allowed us to absorb Noah and the story, almost as a byproduct of getting to know this intriguing human being. The collage of scenes Arnold builds in these 411 pages will give you a reading experience I promise you have encountered or even imagined before. With this book, David Arnold secures a spot among my most admired authors.
Calling My Name: Review Here
Always Forever Maybe: Review Here
Things I'm Seeing Without You: Review Here