Book Review: The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman, a novel

This was an Book of the Day!

About the Author

Brady G. Stefani has a bachelor's degree in creative writing, and a graduate degree in law. During law school, he interned with 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. 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. 

In an effort to provide awareness of mental suffering, and spread hope to all those touched by it, Stefani is focused on writing YA novels that explore the experience of being different, and the other-worldly places our boundary-less imaginations can take us. Alienation is his first novel. But with two works currently in progress, the journey has just begun.

The Recommendation

Psychological Sci-fi at its best! Check this one out if you like interesting and thought provoking stories.

The Review

This one skipped a lot of the things we might expect from plot driven sci-fi, such as a romance or love interest. Instead, it narrowed its focus down to a few elements and really drove those home. 

I wondered through much of the story if what she was seeing was real or if she was experiencing some sort of mental illness. It didn't really fit into what I would consider normal sci-fi or genre fiction, but rather included elements of a lot of different things. The best part was that such inclusion wasn't tacked on, but rather merged perfectly into the story. I think this book will have wide appeal, because the ideas it presents about mental illness and alienation underscore the entire story, and I believe a lot of people can relate to it even more than the idea of seeing aliens.

Courtney was a good protagonist and helped the reader sympathize with her plight. Battling against the alienation of her peers and the fact that no one seemed to understand her was something I could sympathize with myself and it was like being in school all over again. All in all, I really enjoyed reading this one and found it to be quite unique.

The Rating


About the Book

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.