Review: The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik by David Arnold

The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik
by David Arnold 

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 except his Strange Fascinations . . .

(cover image and synopsis lifted from Goodreads)

Series: Standalone
Publisher: Viking Children's
Expected Publication date:  May 22nd 2018
Source/Format: ARC/Netgalley
Pre-order links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Book Depository
My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts:
I am honestly finding it hard to review and rate “The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik” right after reading. To help me make up my mind, I’ll be using one of life’s decision-making hacks, also used by a character in the book: the dependable pros and cons list! Here goes: Would I recommend “The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik” to my fellow book wanderers?


  1. Reading the book is like looking at an abstract painting where I can appreciate the beauty of the art but I can’t exactly pinpoint what I am looking at or what’s the artist trying to convey. It’s trippy with a dose of weird and I was pulled into it page by page.
  2. Noah’s concise histories. Noah writes these things he calls concise histories which is like six degrees of separation with historical events, famous people and their birthdays and uncle’s names and their dogs leading to, of course, Noah. It’s really fascinating how he connects himself to these things. It’s like him saying, “This is me. This is my place in the world.”
  3. Relatability. Noah is not the most likable main character out there. He is on the egotistic side. He is hyper self-aware that often, he sees himself more than he sees others. The plus on this is the book provides Noah’s freeflowing personal insights and opinions. It’s a fodder of teen angst and blabber. Any teen who will read this book will surely find and pick up something that he/she can relate to.
  4. Strange fascinations. Speaking of relatability, having an addictive personality and being a perennial people watcher myself, I can so relate with Noah’s four strange fascinations which are basically four strangers he is strangely obssessed about.
  5. It has drawings. There is a part where Noah, while contemplating the passage of time, passes time while drawing things procured by his mind. There are actual drawings on the book and who doesn’t love books with actual drawings?
  6. Chapter titles. I’ve mentioned this before in the blog, I love books with catchy chapter titles.
  7. Pop culture references from music (David Bowie, Radiohead) to TV shows (Friends, Gilmore Girls). David Arnold said that the book is his love letter to Bowie, so it’s a plus if your also a Bowie fan like Noah.
  8. Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In the book, Noah’s sister, Penny, is passionate about this film. And guys I have to confess, I AM PENNY. I have its iconic lines memorized. I sing Moon River at every opportune time. I adore Audrey Hepburn. Like Penny, I find it hard to reconcile how a problematic film as this is a thing that I love. And then came my salvation when Noah said this: “I think it’s okay to recognize a thing’s faults and still like that thing.”
  9. Friendship. The “delicate triangle” friendship among Noah and the Rosa-Haas twins is definitely squad goals but the Noah-Alan duo has a special nook in my heart. They are just so earnest and funny together. And then I found out why they click with such authenticity when I saw this EW exclusive where David Arnold and fellow YA author, Adam Silvera, revealed that the friendship of Noah and Alan is based on their real-life friendship.
  10. Cool Parentals. Aside from his friends, Noah has a cool set of parents to support him.
  11. Mila Henry. She is Noah’s favorite author. Her book, “Year of Me”, is one of of Noah’s strange fascinations. Soundbites of her interviews and excerpts of her book are inserted between parts of the book. Her personality and her works are really fleshed out and she fascinated me so I looked her up and found out that she is just a fictitious person made up by David Arnold and I am wowed, because all that work for your main character’s favorite author is really wow.


  1. I hate the epilogue because it mostly involves (unnecessary, IMHO) closure with the paper thin antagonist and love interest.
  2. Paper thin antagonist and love interest.
  3. The epilogue was really a letdown.¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Okay, the result of my listing is clear as day. So yes, despite some flaws, I recommend you read “The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik”.

Diversity Watch:
Noah Oakman is racially indeterminate. Her younger sister, Penny, is described as black haired.

Fading Girl is a girl in a youtube video, described as blond.

Alan and Val Rosa-Haas are Noah’s bestfriends. They are paternal twins. Explicitly mentioned as having Puerto Rican mom and Dutch dad. Alan is openly gay.

Sara Lovelock is described as having wavy dark hair, pale skin and freckles around the nose and eyes.

Circuit Lovelock is described as blue eyed.
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