Review by: Ivy

“I often wonder about the subtle connectors of the universe stretching through time and space, some skipping from one star to the next like smooth stones across a pond, some left to float through the wide, aimless infinite. I wonder about words like reincarnation and relativity and parallel. And I wonder if any of those stones ever land in the same place twice.”

Noah is a sixteen-year-old with two best friends, a David Bowie obsession, and confusion about his future. Then he goes to a party, gets hypnotized, and things start to change. Small details: his parent’s favorite show, his friend’s taste in comics… Yes, it’s concerning, but Noah feels prompted to make the most of this somewhat fresh-start by pursuing answers to his biggest questions while coping with the new differences he keeps discovering along the way.


David Arnold’s writing in The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik is packed with relatable emotion. Nothing ever feels too angsty or overdramatic. Noah is a natural and expertly crafted character, the whole book believable in one way or another. His relationships are not superficial, but raw and personal. From his cottagecore fantasy with Alan to his unspoken understanding with Val, Noah and his friends are my favorite part of the novel.

I never expected how many themes and quotes from this book would reflect the self-isolation we’re all under. Thus, I have edited and compiled them into “Times when Noah said stuff that was too real”:

  • “Hermits get a bad rap, now that I think of it. All they want is to stay home and be left alone. What’s wrong with that?”
  • “Two weeks and it’s getting colder. And I’m barely aware of the isolation until I feel it pooling around my feet.”
  • “And sometimes I think the potential of loneliness is scarier than actual loneliness.”

The plot of Noah Hypnotik is not straightforward, but I was okay with that. Instead of a clear objective, the novel supplies a twist ending and plenty of turns along the way. Noah’s observations alone are enough to keep me entertained, so the storyline is an added plus in my book. To be clear, this book isn’t boring, it’s very focused and enjoyable with a story that takes its gentle time.

Overall, Noah Hypnotik is a slightly trippy, deeply heartfelt, and accessibly thought-provoking book that stretches from the genre of YA, as very few contemporaries do, into generally important fiction. I’ve read some of David Arnold’s other work but this novel hit me the most, whether it be the time period in which I’m reading it, wisdom I’ve acquired in my old age, or the fact that this is Arnold’s greatest work yet.

Rating: five/five, duh.

For fans of: Rabbit and Robot by Andrew Smith, More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera, The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson


“…I’m beginning to suspect a plot wherein my Strange Fascinations have been conspiring together to remind me that this world is both very real and full of very real magic.”