Title: The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman
Author: Brady Stefani
Publisher: SparkPress, 2016
Genre: YA Science Fiction
**I received a copy of this book free from the author and Booktasters in exchange for an honest review**
But let’s get into it…
Courtney Hoffman is a little troubled ever since her grandfather tattooed a symbol on her ribs and then tried to drown her at seven years old. Her grandfather was found dead later, and Courtney has mixed feelings about him. See, Courtney’s grandfather believed in aliens. Yup…aliens. Like this: 👽.
Courtney doesn’t want to believe, but when she starts getting visits in the middle of the night, she knows she’s either crazy…or her grandfather was right:
When Courtney tries to tell her mother, it doesn’t go well. Especially since her mother has been dating Dr. Anderson. He is creepy and seems to think Courtney is mentally ill. Maybe she is? I mean, who sees aliens in their bedroom at night? She can’t sleep, and when she does, it seems like the aliens are trying to tell her something…or maybe hurt her like her grandfather…are they the ones that hurt him?
Luckily for Courtney, someone believes her: a girl she thought was an imaginary friend. Courtney knew her as Astra, but she’s real, and she’s been trying to communicate with Courtney, because maybe Courtney isn’t so crazy after all…
And what do these aliens want…if they’re real?
Here’s a video trailer for the book that I think sums it up nicely:
Is It Classroom-Appropriate?
Nope. And that’s only because there’s some swearing. Especially use of the F-word. If that wasn’t there, then I would say yes 100%. But you know how parents can get…and I don’t blame them. However, if there wasn’t, I would think this could be a good book for the classroom: you have a young girl, suffering from the loss of her grandfather and some trauma in her childhood, questioning her mental health and getting very little support from her mother.
Unfortunately because of the swearing, I cannot recommend it for the classroom. Maybe for older readers?
On this one, I would say 15 and up. 16 and up if you are extremely conservative about swearing. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. I don’t think this should turn off older readers to this book, though. I’m overly cautious when it comes to two areas: sex and swearing, as well as adult themes. So for a mid-teen, I don’t find this offensive. But that’s a personal call I can’t make, as I don’t have children.
So this is where it gets a little tricky with me. I love most books. I liked the concepts and I did get glued to the page. But Courtney…oh, Courtney.
Let’s just say that Kestrel from The Winner’s Curse used to be the most annoying character for me. Past tense.
Courtney has stolen the spot from Kestrel.
Throughout the book, Courtney is whiny, always crying, and always doing the one thing you are SCREAMING AT HER NOT TO DO. “Remember, don’t open the gate.” Courtney opens the gate. “Don’t go meet with Dr. Delmar!” Courtney meets with Dr. Delmar. Seriously??? You’re brought to a room in a dirty, abandoned hospital, without your parents or a safety buddy, where someone could rape you and leave you for dead…but it’s ok because he’s a doctor that specializes in aliens?? AND THEN YOU ALMOST GO BACK???
I wanted to slap her. So bad. So many bad choices. I know teens aren’t always making the best decisions, but seriously. C’mon. That was my biggest complaint: Courtney and her mistakes. Courtney and her poor decision-making skills. Courtney and her attempts to tell her mom what her mom obviously won’t believe.
There is a second book coming out apparently. And I’m a sucker for finding out more. I did not like Court of Fives, but when paired with Poisoned Blade, I started to like it more. Maybe this was Courtney’s “growth” period and she won’t be so frustrating. Or maybe she was just being a teenage girl.
I give The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman ★★★☆☆. I could see others liking it, but it wasn’t my cup of tea. But I will probably read the sequel, because I always have to know more. (At least a sequel or follow-up was alluded to).
That also means: