Official Review: The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman

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LivreAmour217
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Official Review: The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman

Post by LivreAmour217 » 25 Jul 2016, 12:54

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman" by Brady Stefani.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Fifteen-year-old Courtney Hoffman is a typical teenager...if being visited by aliens every night can be considered typical. Haunted by the vivid, persistent encounters with otherworldly beings, and by the patchy memories of the last time she saw her mysterious grandfather, Courtney--along with everyone else--believes that she is truly going insane. However, Courtney's new friendship with a girl named Agatha begins to shed light upon her experiences, and makes Courtney realize that she may be closer to reality than anyone realizes...

In his debut novel, The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman, author Brady Stefani delivers a refreshing addition to the YA genre that will entertain readers of all ages. Part science-fiction, and part psychological thriller, this book takes the reader on a fast-paced adventure with plenty of twists and turns.

Mr. Stefani did an excellent job of developing Courtney into a realistic fifteen-year-old girl. Courtney has the same concerns shared by most girls her age, such as dealing with peer pressure, boys, and annoying authority figures. Her story is told entirely in the first person, and her perceptions were very reminiscent of my own at that age. But what makes Courtney unique is her intense internal struggle: is she really seeing aliens, or is the whole thing an elaborate construct of her mind? Courtney's anguish was so realistic that it took me awhile to figure out what was really going on.

In addition to providing an excellent story, this book also gives the reader a glimpse into what those who struggle with mental illness (real or accused) have to go through. The symptoms of any mental illness are difficult enough to bear by themselves, but the fear that comes with being diagnosed, along with the reactions of others, can make it unbearable. In addition to trying to make sense of her bizarre experiences, Courtney must also deal with the insensitivity of her peers and family members, which adds an element of realism to the story.

My favorite aspect of the novel is, oddly enough, something that is missing. An intense, plot-centered love interest is a common trope in YA literature, but it is blessedly absent from this book. I applaud Mr. Stefani for not going down this worn path. There are some serious things happening in Courtney's world, and frankly, nobody has time to get all mushy. This is often the case in YA books, but it rarely stops authors from throwing romance into an already jam-packed plot. I enjoyed the fact that I could focus on the adventure without having to wade through contrived, puppy-love fluff. I'm not against including romance in a story, but I've noticed that YA books tend to be over-saturated with it, sometimes to the detriment of good storytelling.

As for complaints, I can happily say that I have none. This is a well-written and entertaining story that I believe has wide appeal. I give The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman 4 out of 4 stars, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys good fiction.

******
The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman
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Post by derekstvp » 26 Jul 2016, 17:59

As for complaints, I can happily say that I have none. This is a well-written and entertaining story that I believe has wide appeal. I give The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman 4 out of 4 stars, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys good fiction.

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Post by uk8971 » 27 Jul 2016, 01:54

Completely agree there. Good read.. :) 4/4

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Post by LivreAmour217 » 27 Jul 2016, 06:54

@derekstvp and uk9871: Thank you for reading my review! I'm glad that you both agree with me :)
"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." - Albert Einstein

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Post by bradystefani » 27 Jul 2016, 13:33

I thoroughly enjoyed the review. Can I say that as the author?
The review is quite insightful and I appreciate the detail. So far, the reviews have come back positive with a few exceptions. What the negative reviews stress is that Courtney, the protagonist, complains too much out loud and in her inner dialogue. I know everyone hears the narrator's voice in their own way, so I cannot argue with these reviewers about their experience. HOWEVER, I can only guess that they are zipping through the book without realizing what it is about. This book is about a teen girl who is suffering incredibly frightening mental experiences-she's being visited in her bedroom at night by alien creatures who are trying to recruit her. Further, real or not, they are beginning to take over her mind. whether the aliens Courtney engages with are real or not, the experience is absolutely frightening. This girl can no longer trust her own mind, trust her mother, trust her doctors. From the first chapter of the book on, Courtney is a constant state of fight or flight panic. She is struggling to keep it together, but her fears and anxiety are overwhelming her. This is not whining or complaining. This is begging for help when you feel like you are losing your mind!

Now, without spoilers, as the adventure gets underway, Courtney begins to look follow clues and look into her past, and sort out what is real and what is not. She has incredible mental toughness.

I understand: what the writer meant, and what actually came across to the reader can be two distinct experiences. But I'm not talking about what I meant to get across. I'm talking about understanding the reality of mental suffering.

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Post by LivreAmour217 » 27 Jul 2016, 13:53

bradystefani wrote:I thoroughly enjoyed the review. Can I say that as the author?
The review is quite insightful and I appreciate the detail. So far, the reviews have come back positive with a few exceptions. What the negative reviews stress is that Courtney, the protagonist, complains too much out loud and in her inner dialogue. I know everyone hears the narrator's voice in their own way, so I cannot argue with these reviewers about their experience. HOWEVER, I can only guess that they are zipping through the book without realizing what it is about. This book is about a teen girl who is suffering incredibly frightening mental experiences-she's being visited in her bedroom at night by alien creatures who are trying to recruit her. Further, real or not, they are beginning to take over her mind. whether the aliens Courtney engages with are real or not, the experience is absolutely frightening. This girl can no longer trust her own mind, trust her mother, trust her doctors. From the first chapter of the book on, Courtney is a constant state of fight or flight panic. She is struggling to keep it together, but her fears and anxiety are overwhelming her. This is not whining or complaining. This is begging for help when you feel like you are losing your mind!

Now, without spoilers, as the adventure gets underway, Courtney begins to look follow clues and look into her past, and sort out what is real and what is not. She has incredible mental toughness.

I understand: what the writer meant, and what actually came across to the reader can be two distinct experiences. But I'm not talking about what I meant to get across. I'm talking about understanding the reality of mental suffering.
Thank you for reading my review! I am very pleased to hear that you like it :D

The people who say that Courtney whines too much have apparently never been in the vicinity of a teenage girl! I thought that her attitude was very realistic, especially given her circumstances.
"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." - Albert Einstein

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Post by bradystefani » 27 Jul 2016, 15:10

I appreciate that!

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Post by gali » 28 Jul 2016, 04:11

Sounds interesting and unique. I am glad you enjoy it. Thank you for the lovely review. :)

Congratulations to the author on the positive review!
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

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Post by LivreAmour217 » 28 Jul 2016, 11:02

gali wrote:Sounds interesting and unique. I am glad you enjoy it. Thank you for the lovely review. :)

Congratulations to the author on the positive review!
Thank you, Gali!
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Post by K_Kaori » 28 Jul 2016, 23:59

A very detailed review indeed. Really enjoyed reading it. It really makes me want to read the book! Congrats to the author for the positive review!

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Post by LivreAmour217 » 29 Jul 2016, 04:20

K_Kaori wrote:A very detailed review indeed. Really enjoyed reading it. It really makes me want to read the book! Congrats to the author for the positive review!
Thank you! When you read the book, I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did!
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Post by hsimone » 29 Jul 2016, 09:17

Wonderful review, LivreAmour217! A YA without a love interest? That is refreshing! Sounds like such a great story!
Congratulations to the author for receiving such a positive review! :tiphat:
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Post by bradystefani » 29 Jul 2016, 10:18

Thanks for the congrats. Hope you guys give the book a read. I certainly intended it to be an engaging and enjoyable read:) But, yeah... I guess that goes without saying.. Anyway.. If you do read it, let me know what you think. I'm happy to discuss it.

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Post by LivreAmour217 » 29 Jul 2016, 11:09

hsimone wrote:Wonderful review, LivreAmour217! A YA without a love interest? That is refreshing! Sounds like such a great story!
Congratulations to the author for receiving such a positive review! :tiphat:
Thanks for reading the review! It is a very entertaining and unique YA book!
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Post by barb429 » 01 Aug 2016, 15:24

Great review, it sounds like a very interesting book! I agree that YA novels often have too many romantic entanglements, sometimes it is nice to just read a story that has no romantic interest in it. I will definitely have to read this one.

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