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The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman: A Novel
     

The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman: A Novel

4.5 19
by Brady Stefani
 

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Fifteen-year-old Courtney wants to be normal like her friends. But there’s something frighteningly different about her—and it’s not just the mysterious tattoo her conspiracy-obsessed grandfather marked her with when she was a child. The last thing Courtney wants to do is end up crazy and dead like her grandfather—but what about the tattoo? And

Overview

Fifteen-year-old Courtney wants to be normal like her friends. But there’s something frighteningly different about her—and it’s not just the mysterious tattoo her conspiracy-obsessed grandfather marked her with when she was a child. The last thing Courtney wants to do is end up crazy and dead like her grandfather—but what about the tattoo? And the alien scouts who visit Courtney in her bedroom at night, claiming to have shared an alliance with her grandfather?

With her new friend Agatha’s apocalyptic visions, Courtney begins connecting the dots between the past, present, and future—of her bloodline, and the ancient history that surrounds it. So is she going mentally insane, like her family claimed her grandfather did, or is she actually a “chosen one” with ancestral connections to another world? Either way, Courtney has a mission: untangle her past, discover the truth, and stop the apocalypse before anyone from school finds out she’s missing.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Next Generation Indie Book Awards 2016: Finalist in the First Novel category

"A must-read sci-fi book"
Hypable

“Chock-full of sharp tonal contrast . . . This debut novel fuses a serious issue—the stigma of mental illness—with sci-fi to chronicle a girl’s unusual coming of age.”
Kirkus Reviews

"This novel has a breakneck pace and Stefani's writing is fluid and perfectly suited to this most extraordinary tale that blends the coming of age, adventure, science fiction, and post-apocalyptic genres—and it all works beautifully."
Readers' Favorite, Five Stars

“Brady G. Stefani’s The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman finds a way to thread together a fast-paced young adult novel feel with a substantive agenda. Stefani’s storytelling skills and elegantly simple language immediately get you involved in an emotional, suspenseful, off-balance reading experience that is equal parts drama and science fiction.”
—Ian Kahl, author of Anxiety is a Rambling Dagger, and That Faraway Place

"Beyond our everyday world there lies the alternative reality of childhood, a universe populated by strange beings and powered by our collective imaginations. The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman is a doorway for readers of all ages that returns us to that world from which so many have become disconnected. Brady G. Stefani's ability to connect us to that larger, weirder reality is a gift from an ever-changing, ultimately unknowable cosmos."
—John E. L. Tenney, Paranormal Researcher

"Stefani’s The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman is a thought-provoking and emotional journey through a young girl’s mind as she struggles to understand who she is, where she came from, and who she is supposed to be—all while deciphering between reality and the tricks our minds can sometimes play on us. Stefani beautifully demonstrates how difficult life can be for anyone who thinks or acts a little differently, and reminds us that, more often than not, the things that terrify us the most are the things trying to save us."
—Jessica Stevens, author of Within Reach

“As the father of two teenage girls, I can tell you that Brady Stefani must have some sort of supernatural helmet that helps him think and write in their language. But The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman is much more than a novel for teens. This fast-paced adventure kept my attention, blazing back-and-forth from reality to an alter-world so close by that it’s creepy. Here’s a page-turner that captures a lot about childhood struggles through an imaginative story filled with surprises.”
—Jim Schaefer, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and writer for the Detroit Free Press

"Brady Stefani has written a wonderful coming-of-age tale of an adolescent girl who is struggling to grasp what is real and what is not real. While conveying the actual inner experience of an adolescent is a difficult task, because of the unconscious and incomprehensible facets of the mind, Stefani uses a scientific metaphor to accurately convey the demands, perils, and triumphs of adolescence that must be traversed to become an adult. With The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman, Stefani has achieved an important literary form that will be of interest to adolescent and adult readers alike."
—Melvin Bornstein, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Wayne State University, Training and Supervising Analyst at Michigan Psychoanalytical Institute, and editor of Psychoanalytic Inquiry

Kirkus Reviews
2016-06-10
A debut novel fuses a serious issue—the stigma of mental illness—with sci-fi to chronicle a girl's unusual coming-of-age. On the surface, Courtney Hoffman seems like an average 15-year-old girl: she holds down a decently high spot in the high school hierarchy, serving as vice captain of the soccer team. But she also experiences nightmares stemming from when her now-dead grandfather, who believed in aliens, supposedly tried to drown her. Turns out, these aren't dreams after all—aliens visit Courtney at night, trying to communicate with her ("Slowly I cracked my eyes open. Silhouetted in the light were three alien creatures. Their long, lanky bodies shuffled awkwardly toward my bed. This isn't supposed to be happening!"). But how can she figure out what they want when her mother keeps threatening to lock her up in a psychiatric hospital? With the help of an older girl named Agatha Kirlich, who possesses an extravagant goth wardrobe, and a brother who is also visited by the aliens, Courtney uncovers clues that lead her to an ancient group known as the Knights of the Magi. Courtney's destiny lies with the Knights and their quest to keep the dangerous pathways between universes closed off—but their mortal enemies, the Soldiers of Bilim, are determined to stop her from fulfilling it. Stefani takes readers along on a wild ride through portals to other worlds that delivers plenty of amusing adolescent dialogue; Courtney and Agatha's interactions crackle with chemistry and eccentricity. In contrast to these funny moments, the earlier parts of the book, before Courtney realizes the aliens are real—when she legitimately believes that she is losing her mind—are pretty dark. The character of Courtney's mom is unsympathetic and cruel to the point of feeling like a coldhearted cartoon; she treats her daughter's potential mental illness as an inconvenience that must be forcibly submerged by Courtney or she'll be shuttered in an institution as punishment. Once Courtney's conflict with her mother takes a back seat to her escapades with Agatha and the aliens, the plot picks up speed and becomes a lot more enjoyable. Chock-full of sharp tonal contrasts, this tale should appeal to readers with a hunger for alien adventure and an understanding of how it feels to be considered crazy.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781940716343
Publisher:
SparkPress
Publication date:
06/07/2016
Pages:
328
Sales rank:
411,703
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
12 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Brady G. Stefani has a bachelor's degree in creative writing, and a graduate degree in law. During law school, he spent time as an involuntary commitment caseworker for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, where he interacted with patients suffering from severe thought disorders, including numerous patients presenting with subjectively real memories of being visited and abducted by alien beings (commonly referred to as alien abduction phenomenon). It was through his study of these patients, along with his own struggles with anxiety and cognition, that Stefani became aware of just how deceiving, mysterious, and powerfully resilient the human mind can be. After law school, Stefani wrote and directed a feature film, The Wind Cried Larry, which received honorable mentions at the East Lansing Film Festival. In addition to working on a second YA novel that continues the storyline from The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman, Stefani continues to write YA fiction for his website, exploring issues of mental health in the context of our boundary-less imaginations.

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The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman: A Novel 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Paula_Stewart1 More than 1 year ago
Space Girl I recently finished reading an excellent book by a very talented author that I have never had the pleasure to read one of their works before. In The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman: A Novel by Brady Stefani you met Courtney Hoffman, who at first glance appears to be your average straight “A” teenager. However, nothing is ordinary about her life, starting with alien visitations in her bedroom, all the way to discovering a genetic brain anomaly which she shares with her Grandpa Dahlen. Their common anomaly has created the ability to communicate with extraterrestrial beings as well as a portal for visitation and travel between universes. You see, Courtney and her grandfather have been chosen by their own ancient blood to aid and protect these aliens beings who have visited for thousands of years. Being a tough teenage girl with attitude, Courtney makes a great main character. She’s scrappy and determined in dealing with body changes, peer pressure, and the always vicious school rumor mill. If all this isn’t enough, Courtney is traumatized by a false implanted memory of her grandfather who really was an eccentric sweet old man who loved her more than his own life and would never harm her. I underestimated the complexity of the plot, and the depth of it characters at first. While reading this spine-tingling tale, I felt like I was seated in a roller coaster slowly climbing higher and higher, knowing that the vertical drop was imminent! That’s what I call an excellent writer and editor who both obviously worked very hard making sure that this fantastic story flowed without interruption. Every time I anticipated a conflict of logic, the author soon addressed it and painted it into believability which significantly enhanced the story for me. This book falls in the “Don’t judge a book by its cover” category. I appreciated the unassuming peaceful book cover, and the illustrations inside this book made me laugh and cry. Never looking at the stars in the sky the same ever again! I highly recommend this plausible, believable, sometimes tense, action packed sweet book to all teenagers nad those who never stop dreaming, whatever universe you inhabit.
ReadingGrrl More than 1 year ago
I don't know how Stefani did it but he nailed Courtney's character right down to her teenage angsty speech. From the battle with parents and siblings to worrying about her social life Courtney comes to life. (Interesting how most of the "bad guys" in this book are adults.) This book has the potential to turn into a fun series and I definitely would recommend this book to anyone who wants a fun, teen x-files adventure.
Holly More than 1 year ago
The Alienation Of Courtney Hoffman is the story of one young woman's quest to find if she is just plain crazy or if there is something to her visions. Fifteen year old Courtney is claiming that she is seeing Aliens at night and doesn't want everyone to think that she is insane like her grandfather was but as she soon finds out that there is something more to what is going on. As her quest leads her to Agatha who knows about the Alien world, a trip will lead to more questions than answers until one night when everything goes down horribly and secrets are reveled about certain people. It all leads to a stunning conclusion that not everything is for this world to know! I'm torn about this book about loving it or just not liking it due to the heavy Sci-Fi that it is. I do have to admit that once you start reading it, it will grab you and won't let go until the last page is read. I'm not much for reading heavy science fiction but I could see this book doing well due to that factor that is does grab your attention and there isn't many books out for YA that deals with situations that this book explores!! Thank You to Brady G. Stefani for writing a good Sci-Fi book that will definitely grab anyone's attention! I received this book from the BookSparks YA Summer Reads in exchange for a honest review.
Amys_Bookshelf_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Absolutely Magnificent! Secrets stemmed from her tattoo. It's a great YA fantasy that delves into the life of Courtney. The story is a great twist-filled journey as she tries to find her way. It's a brilliant piece of literature and though it's for young adults, readers of other ages may enjoy it also. Stefani has a unique writing style that perfectly fits this story. I thoroughly enjoyed the story.
Reader_Views 11 days ago
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (01/17) “The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman” by Brady G. Stefani is a captivating and gripping sci-fi adventure that is geared toward the young adult crowd, but sure to thrill readers of all ages. Courtney Hoffman wants nothing more than to be a normal fifteen-year-old, but there is no such thing as normal in Courtney’s world, and it keeps getting stranger by the day. It all started eight years earlier, when her grandfather marks her with a mysterious tattoo on her back, right before he tries to drown her in the bathtub. Add to that the voices and visions of aliens in her head that she fears are more than dreams, and Courtney thinks her mom may be right – maybe she does need to be locked up in a mental hospital. The aliens however, have a different view, as does her new friend Agatha, and Courtney soon finds herself working furiously to stop the impending doom before the forces against her succeed in their evil mission. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The writing is excellent. Stefani drew me into the story within the first several pages and kept me engaged throughout, with a plot full of drama and suspense, supported by a well-developed world, and delivered with crisp detail. The setting in the monastery created another layer of fascination, and the setting in the abandoned mental hospital added a bit of horror and creepiness to the overall tone. I found the characters dynamic and magnetic. Courtney is a heroic protagonist and it was nice to see her develop and mature as the story progressed. All of the main characters stirred up different emotions in me. I was totally outraged by the shallow attitude and behavior of Courtney’s mother. Her unyielding beliefs and condescending tendencies really created feelings of genuine dislike for the woman. Ditto for her boyfriend, Dr. Anderson. Other characters are enigmatic and disturbing, and very relevant to this science-fiction story – it would scarcely qualify as a great sci-fi without aliens or a few mad scientists now, would it? "The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman" by Brady G. Stefani is an intriguing, fast-moving science-fiction adventure. It has the makings of a great series for young adults, but it is truly a gem for all ages.
George_Elliott 9 months ago
Courtney Hoffman is in many ways a typical fifteen year old girl. She has a crush on a boy at school, has problems with her parents, who are divorced, and has a mentally unstable grandfather who tried to drown her. Well that last one is not quite typical of all fifteen year olds, but Courtney has grown up believing her grandfather was crazy, with an obsession with aliens. Then Courtney herself begins to have visions of aliens and her mother tries to convince her she is suffering from a mental illness like her grandfather. So is Courtney crazy? Well if I tell you that 'The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman' features lot's of amazing sci-fi action, does that give you a little bit of a clue? Each scene is so well described that the novel is a totally immersive experience, with a completely unique take on the YA genre. Good character development and a innovative and exciting storyline, made for a 5 star read.
Bookie__Wookie 10 months ago
I remember how hard it was to be a fifteen year old girl. You desperately want to fit in with your friends, you're confused by a lot of new feelings and emotions, and a lot of the time you just don't know who you are. It is difficult enough being fifteen, so it must be a real trial for Courtney Hoffman. She has been marked with a strange tattoo by her recently disappeared grandfather, who her family say is crazy. Then come the nightly visits from aliens that claim she is the key to preventing the apocalypse. Courtney can barely think of anything else, terrified that she is going crazy like her grandfather, but it isn't long before she thinks her nightly visits may be real. With the help of her friend Agatha, Courtney determined to figure out what is real..the world my just depend on it. So well written, a fun and interesting plot, and such wonderful characters, I read 'The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman' in a single sitting. Brady Stefani has really captured the voice of a fifteen year old, which made the novel even more endearing...highly recommended.
Anonymous 10 months ago
The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman: A Novel by Brady Stefani is about the quirky imaginings of Courtney, a young 15 year old girl who thinks that aliens are visiting her. Are they or aren't they? After a bizarre incident with her grandfather when she was just 7, Courtney thinks that aliens are visiting her during the night. She also has an imaginary friend, Astra, who keeps showing up at the most inopportune times. Courtney's mother thinks she's crazy and has her institutionalized for a bit. Through a series of misadventures and connecting the dots with the past, Courtney attempts to arrive at the truth. This book has an intriguing premise and was well executed by the author who managed to capture not only the angst of the teenage years, but the fine line between perception and reality. An interesting read for the YA crowd with some mild language in places.
Bookish_Picks 10 months ago
If you are looking for a light read that is sure to keep you occupied during a long journey, or on a rainy weekend afternoon, consider 'The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman'. As it is classified as teen fiction, although the science fiction plot is very perilous for its characters, the writing style remains light, with bits of humor thrown in. The title character is very convincing as a fifteen year old dealing with crushes and annoying parents, but remains believable once the aliens enter her life. I don't want to give away too much of the plot, as I think it will affect the exhilaration I felt at each new plot twist. What I will say is, you go on a journey with Courtney, and she must find out the truth, the whole world depends on it.
Jamztoma 11 months ago
Mental Illness or Telepathic Genius? Life for Courtney Hoffman has always been peculiar. When she was a little girl, her grandfather tattooed her ribcage with strange looking insects, almost drowned her in a bathtub at his cottage, and has an alien-transport machine as well. Her grandfather often talks about aliens and the sort and she thinks of him as cool while others think he is just crazy. Now as a teenager, she revisits all of those abnormalities when she sees aliens in her bedroom at night. Her mother, who takes all of this as a mental illness, admits her into the local psych ward where she is administered medication to eliminate these “hallucinations” once and for all. However, strangely but excitingly, she meets an older teenage girl in there who she thinks is her childhood imaginary friend Astra. However, the girl’s name is Agatha Kirlich. Agatha, unlike her mother, her doctor, and her friends at school, really believes in her alien visions and so they agree to join forces to help her solve them. In the process, they encounter all sorts of twists and turns, creatures and villains, and monks who explain that there is an alien aspect to Jesus Christ. I am not going to spoil and reveal some more of this story but I assure you that you will laugh, say “wow”, and stay up all night to find out how the protagonist Courtney and her friends will fare throughout. There’s one part where you will question, “is it all in her mind?” to “nah, what about the bad guys, how do you explain their actions, coincidence or false?” Whatever the case, you will absolutely enjoy this book because it mixes sci-fi, mental illness, and religion all in one. Get it for your Young Adult reader this Christmas season. It will really make him or her “laugh their brains to pieces.” Trust me, mine did when I did. Hahahahahahaha.
Reading_For_Life 11 months ago
If I was given the choice of suffering my teenage years again (bad skin, social awkwardness, and unrequited love) or dealing with extraterrestrial visitors, I think I would probably choose the aliens. Unlucky for 15-year-old Courtney Hoffman, she doesn't get to choose, she has to deal with both, along with being accused of being mentally ill, conspiracy, and a missing grandfather (who once tried to drown her). Courtney thinks she may be crazy, aliens can't really be visiting her can they? Her Grandfather was crazy and he was obsessed with aliens, the only explanation for the nocturnal visits, must be that mental illness runs in the family. But what if everyone was wrong about her Grandfather, what does that mean for Courtney? If you like crazy Sci-Fi action with a hint of the psychological thriller, then make a place at the top of your reading list for the Alienation of Courtney Hoffman. It is a totally unique plot, which is beautifully told by a supremely talented YA author. This novel will definitely stay with me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Courtney Hoffman is a smart girl, straight A’s you might think by the look of her, but what you will find out about her, will blow your mind. Aside from her being your average teenage girl, going through your average physical body changes and peer pressures of the usual high school social scene, Courtney Hoffman is pretty typical. Now if you count her having alien visitations in her bedroom, or having the ability to communicate with them and also open portals where she can travel to other dimensions, while sharing a genetic anomaly in her brain similar to her grandfather, then you should say she’s slightly askew. The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman, by Brady Stefani is a fun and exciting read.
TheHungryMonster More than 1 year ago
After reading Brady Stefani’s The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman you will find yourself questioning everything you ever thought was real. The story follows Courtney Hoffman, a fifteen-year-old girl who has undergone a trauma in her youth. For the eight years since her grandfather purportedly tried to kill her Courtney has suffered with strange dreams and apparent delusions of aliens standing over her bed while a strange apparition of a girl haunts her waking hours. Her mother definitely doesn’t win any awards as she dismisses her daughter’s plight with coldness and distaste. Courtney finds herself wrapped up in an event that will change the very universe in which she lives and sets out uncovering the truth of her past with unlikely friends. It becomes a fine line for Courtney, trying to separate the illusions from reality and she most certainly has to go about it the hard way. For a young adult writer Stefani certainly knows his audience. Written in an easy-to-read way his tale is easily digested without seeming juvenile or mundane. While the page count is quite high the reader will find that it’s not a difficult read. Stefani writes in a way that any person, young or old, will be able to identify with. This novel touches on different views of what is mentally healthy and it’s clear that that Stefani did his research. While the average person might have to use the internet to find out information, Stefani writes in a way that makes the reader believe he truly understands the aspects of the human mind. Our minds can be dangerous and difficult. It can be said that the human mind undergoes a great transformation during our teenage years. The fact remains that many young adults will have their first brush with suffering a mental break at this age. Stefani uses this to his advantage and keep the reader guessing about the stability of Courtney’s mind. It’s evident that Courtney needs help. She is suffering and she is confused. The one person who she could have connected with is dead. Her parents are divorced and her father, while seemingly nice, doesn’t seem to have time to spare on his daughter. Her mother, on the other hand, does not have her daughter’s best interests at heart. It’s written in such a gripping fashion that readers will undoubtedly recognize certain dismissive behavior that the mother displays in other adults. It’s an ugly world out there and our protagonist is not spared this. Where many young adult stories have protagonists living in a seemingly perfect world where they learn they are special, Courtney comes from a fractured world very much like the one we all live in. This makes her special status that much more gratifying. The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman is a delightful read and can stand alone very well. The ending leaves the universe open for other books, with or without Courtney, but it also wraps up in such a fashion that if no other books were to follow, the reader is still satisfied. Stefani is a genius that is not often seen any more.
lynne1946 More than 1 year ago
A really thrilling story about a girl tortured by memories from her past, strange happenings in the present, and a future she's better not knowing! When Courtney starts talking with her imaginary friend, who turns out to be real, about her imagined memories and nightmares about aliens, which also turn out to be real, she discovers that she's part of a huge and ancient mystery that she alone can solve, or not only her universe, but all universes will be destroyed in a terrifying holocaust. This is a pretty big responsibility for a teenage girl with a shaky sense of self and not a whole lot of confidence. With her friend Agatha she is able to work out the puzzles from her past, and begin unraveling the mysteries of the present. I found this book to be a real page turner - I just couldn't stop reading it! Courtney's character was a bit too pitiful at the beginning - I kept wanting to tell her to toughen up and get a grip, but just as the saying goes, when the going got tough, Courtney got tougher - in a big way! The characters of the "bad guys" were very well written, and even the more minor characters like her dad and sister were well fleshed out. Written for young adults, recommended for all readers who enjoy a thriller.
Baileigh22 More than 1 year ago
Courtney Hoffman is in many ways a typical fifteen year old girl. She has a crush on a boy at school, has problems with her parents, who are divorced, and has a mentally unstable grandfather who tried to drown her. Well that last one is not quite typical of all fifteen year olds, but Courtney has grown up believing her grandfather was crazy, with an obsession with aliens. Then Courtney herself begins to have visions of aliens and her mother tries to convince her she is suffering from a mental illness like her grandfather. So is Courtney crazy? Well if I tell you that 'The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman' features lot's of amazing sci-fi action, does that give you a little bit of a clue? Each scene is so well described that the novel is a totally immersive experience, with a completely unique take on the YA genre. Good character development and a innovative and exciting story line, made for a 5 star read!
Gvalt More than 1 year ago
I remember how hard it was to be a fifteen year old girl. You desperately want to fit in with your friends, you're confused by a lot of new feelings and emotions, and a lot of the time you just don't know who you are. It is difficult enough being fifteen, so it must be a real trial for Courtney Hoffman. She has been marked with a strange tattoo by her recently disappeared grandfather, who her family say is crazy. Then come the nightly visits from aliens that claim she is the key to preventing the apocalypse. Courtney can barely think of anything else, terrified that she is going crazy like her grandfather, but it isn't long before she thinks her nightly visits may be real. With the help of her friend Agatha, Courtney determined to figure out what is real..the world my just depend on it. So well written, a fun and interesting plot, and such wonderful characters, I read 'The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman' in a single sitting. Brady Stefani has really captured the voice of a fifteen year old, which made the novel even more endearing...highly recommended.
GemmaDavison More than 1 year ago
I'm not an avid reader of young adult fiction. I used to be a huge fan, but over the past decade there seems to be a huge amount of adult fiction, all taking on the same few plot lines. So I was really excited when I dscovered The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman, as the synopsis seemed very inventive and unique. I'm pleased to report that the book did not disappoint, it was just as imaginative as I hoped it would be, and I loved the science fiction heavy plot line. The writing style was beautiful and the characters were sympathetic, particularly the title character, Courtney Hoffman. She just wants to fit in, but she is finding it a struggle as her life is not typical of a fifteen year old. She is recieving nightly visits from aliens that claim to have a connection to her grandfather, who is now dead following a long battle with mental illness. So is Courtney going crazy too, or are her visions and alien visitor the key to preventing the end of the world? This is such a page-turner, with such a wonderfully 'out there' plot that has definitely left me wanting more from Brady Stefani.
Francine1440 More than 1 year ago
It’s nice to read a young adult book these days that doesn’t involve zombies, angels or werewolves. Instead, Mr. Stefani has brought aliens back into fashion and he does it quite well in The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman. Courtney is a teenager who has always been plagued by memories of her grandfather’s obsession with aliens and of the night he held her under the water in the bath tub. Unsurprisingly, she rarely sees him these days but she believes that he isn’t totally crazy, even if her mother forbids any mention of him. Strange things start to happen and Courtney’s life begins to spiral out of control. Is it all in her mind or are there really aliens visiting Earth? That is the question that the reader will ask themselves throughout the book and, to be honest, I'm still not sure what the truth is, even after I’ve read the whole thing. If it is all in Courtney’s mind, then this book is an amazingly well done look at what happens to the human mind when you believe something that others don’t. All aspects are explored here including Courtney’s observations about what she sees as her reality as well as the frustration her mother feels as she tries to deal with Courtney’s perceived illness. The writing is great and the character of Courtney is very well written and multi-dimensional. The author does a good job of keeping the reader guessing as to whether everything is in Courtney’s mind or is Earth really in trouble from “visitors”. After reading the book, I looked back to see if there were any clues as to what is really going on but I couldn’t find any. The only thing I found issue with was that it seemed like the ending was rushed too much albeit, from the way it ended, there could be a sequel. I read this on my ereader and it formatted well and the editing was perfect. The cover is also interesting as is the title. This is a great book, whether you’re into aliens or wanting to learn about mental illness.
Sue_in_CT More than 1 year ago
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.