The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman by Brady Stefani
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The cover of The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman: A Novel by Brady Stefani might seem a bit disturbing at first glance with a young woman standing there in what appears to be a hospital gown but this Young Adult book kept me, who enjoy super-natural and aliens, turning page after page.
The main character is Courtney Hoffman right before her fifteenth birthday. Courtney believes she may have the gene that her grandfather had that made him crazy. He had to be crazy or why else would he have tattooed her eight years ago and not only try to drown her but he himself drowned? Then of course there is always the aliens visiting and Astra, her imaginary friend, or was she?
The character of Courtney was very complicated and she was a bit of a crybaby as well as defiant. I guess many would say a typical teen with hormones producing her mood swings. Since she is in very unusual circumstances throughout the book it is hard to say if she is believable overall but I do recall the devastating situation with her mother when she learned her mother knew she wasn't crazy all along and how well she handled it in the book where I thought she should have had more of an altercation with her. She handled it so well, I had a hard time believing her as a character since I think anyone who found out that they'd been lied to their whole life and put in a hospital when nothing was wrong would have had a lot more to say even if it was to their mother. At times, I didn't even find her likable (especially at the beginning) but her character grows in many ways throughout the story and she becomes stronger as a person and much more confident.
Astra, who turns out to be a real person by the name of Agatha Kirlich seems to accept whatever is thrown at her and she deals with it. She doesn't seem to experience the mental turmoil that Courtney does when faced with some very unusual circumstances. Much of her life remains a mystery but she is a presence to be acknowledged.
There are several minor characters in the story which all aid in the development of the characters. Their development varies, if at all, but they all keep the story moving at a somewhat quick pace and are assets to the storyline.
The plot of the book might seem simple at the beginning but this book took me for some twists and turns that always kept me glued to the pages. It isn't a book just about aliens, it isn't a book just about ESP or other supernatural talents, it isn't a book about the end of the world, and it isn't a book about a crazy mixed up kid who is growing up, it is all of that and more. This is why I recommend it for young and old alike.
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