The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman
by Brady G. Stefani
Review by Jarad Johnson
What would you do if everyone in your life thought you were insane? Courtney doesn’t have to imagine. It’s her reality. It has been ever since her grandfather tattooed a strange symbol on her rib cage and tried to drown her in a bathtub when she was seven. He claimed that he was being visited by aliens, but of course no one believed him. Now, as a fifteen year old, Courtney is having the same visions in her dreams; however, the aliens reveal to her that they had formed an alliance with her grandfather, and that it is now passed onto her. When her mother discovers this, she has Courtney committed. While hospitalized, Courtney makes friends, but even friendships come with the risk of making her feel insane. Her journey of self discovery begins. As the book unfolds, Courtney begins to feel that she and her friends may have the fate of the universe resting in their hands. Is it true or is Courtney losing touch with reality?
This book was not what I expected it to be, but in the best possible way. I can wholeheartedly recommend it. The fact that the main character does not always have a firm grasp on her reality keeps the tale suspenseful. The reader’s attention is riveted not only on plot points but on the shifting perspective of the main character. This adds a level of literary sophistication that is unusual for YA literature. Along with Courtney, the reader must question the existence of everything in Courtney’s reality. The author does not hand out easy answers and the reader must do some thoughtful work while enjoying the story.
In the end, this novel grabbed my attention from the first chapter to the last. I loved the element of the unknown, and how the reader got a look inside the life of someone who was thought to be mentally ill. It was an enjoyable read, and I look forward to more from Courtney Hoffman.
Jarad attends Middle Tennessee State University, loves tea, and tries to spend every spare second reading. Jarad is majoring in English. Bless his heart! Let's all light a candle for him and send him happy thoughts!