The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman

A Novel

Young Adult - Adventure
329 Pages
Reviewed on 05/06/2016
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman is a young adult adventure novel written by Brady Stefani. Courtney is about to turn 15 years old and it’s the night before her birthday. Her mother has planned a big party for the event, but Courtney is not at all interested in playing at being happy and excited by having all those people there in her house. Courtney has bigger problems, much bigger problems. Her dreams are filled with the visitations of strange alien beings and, that evening, with the rain pouring down and the wind gusting, she finds herself running away in fear of those strange beings that she believes are coming after her. It’s not something she could really feel safe explaining to anyone, except maybe Astra, her imaginary friend, whom she hadn’t seen in about two years now.

It all seemed to stem back to that last night she spent with her grandfather, when she was seven years old. Her mom and dad thought her grandfather was a bit crazy, and he did have all sorts of ideas about aliens, but they were going to visit some old law school friends and dropped Courtney off to stay with Grandpa. After a strange day that included her getting a tattoo she hadn’t wanted, Grandpa made her dinner, burning the hamburgers, and suddenly there was a pounding on the door and some of Grandpa’s old friends from the university rushed in. One of the men said that ‘they’ were coming. She could hear them talking from the other room, and then she heard someone say that she wasn’t safe. Courtney still remembered that night as vividly as though it were just yesterday. But the strangest thing of all about that night was the fact that her beloved Grandpa had tried to drown her in the bathtub.

Brady Stefani's young adult adventure novel, The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman, is a grand read that kept me enthralled for hours. One can't help but feel for the young woman who seems to have no one she can trust -- especially not her lawyer mother and her mother's doctor boyfriend. But Courtney is bigger and braver than anyone expects, and her coming of age is a spectacular thing requiring resilience, self-sacrifice, and imagination. Stefani's heroine is unforgettable, and his plot is inspired. 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. The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman is a thriller of a ride, and it’s most highly recommended.

Brit Rossie

The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman follows the titled character through a vulnerable journey of what seems to be a mental illness of seeing aliens in her room at night. All of this is rooted in a traumatic experience with her equally ‘unstable’ grandfather who could also ‘see’ aliens, which leaves her with a strange tattoo on her ribs. Her night terrors become worse and worse until she encounters a girl who seems to think she’s not crazy. But is this girl even real or is she just in her head as well? But if what Courtney sees and hears in her head is true, the world could be coming to an apocalyptic end and she must help this other girl to prevent it.

The characters leapt off the page and didn’t fit the typical YA mold. (Thank goodness!) But there were some heretical story lines that the author took creative license with; i.e. Baby Jesus was an alien. Now, I don’t like to mix heresy into my fantasy story lines. I prefer to let fantasy be fantasy and religion, religion; that’s just a personal preference. But this creative license may either be the thing that attracts you to this novel or what totally dissuades you from picking it up. However, I believe this foreknowledge could make or break the reader’s experience.

The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman was unlike anything I've read when it comes to alien sci-fi. The author, Brady Stefani, keeps the reader second guessing whether or not this girl is suffering with a mental illness or if she has a gift of truly being able to speak to aliens. It's definitely an out of the box story, although not necessarily a good fit for every reader. Well thought out plot lines and a well built world were discovered in a very well written story. Overall, I loved it! Brady Stefani is a gifted author and a unique one for incorporating issues of mental illness into his YA book, and I would still read the follow up novel to The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman.

Rabia Tanveer

The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman: A Novel by Brady Stefani is the story of a teenager who has the burden of the whole world on her shoulders, literally. The safety of the world depends upon the actions of Courtney, a high school girl who never had it easy. She tries very hard to be normal like her friends, but she is just different, some might even call her dangerous. She has a mysterious tattoo that her grandfather made when she was little and there is no explanation for it now that he is gone.

With the sword of mental illness hanging over her head, she is desperate for some respite. Her life changes when alien scouts come to visit her at night to talk about the allegiance between her grandfather and them. Is that true? When her friend Agatha has a vision of the Apocalypse, she is concerned because she is the only one who can stop it. But, at what cost?

Wow, this is pure, unadulterated excellent writing. This is what good writing is like. This is the reason why I love YA because you get to read such awesome novels. I loved, loved, loved the characters, the thrill, the mystery, and the action. There is nothing that I would want the author to change. The character descriptions and development were so good. I was lost in the story and it made me so happy. I am still blissed out after reading this!