The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman: Flighty Plot, Much?


The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman

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 before he disappeared. She’s being visited in her bedroom at night by aliens claiming to have shared an alliance with her grandfather. And imaginary or not, they’re starting to to take over her mind. “Mental illness is a slippery slope,” her mother warns her.

The last thing Courtney wants to do is end up crazy and dead like her grandfather did. But what about the tattoo? And the aliens trying to recruit her? With her new alien-savvy friend Agatha and her apocalyptic visions, Courtney begins connecting the dots between the past, present and future—of her bloodline, and the ancient history that surrounds it. Is she going insane, like her family claims 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 it’s too late for everyone.


Science Fiction/Fantasy/YA
282 Pages
SparkPress Publishing
Publication Date: June 7th, 2016
Get a copy here!

Quick Reasons: confusing, chaotic plot progression; unbelievable character interactions/reactions; tons of action, but I didn’t feel invested in the characters; this felt a bit like watching a horror movie with the sound turned off; complex characters and relationships; very little romance

Huge thanks to Brady Stefani, SparkPress Publishing, and BookTasters for sending me a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.


I feel like, after a year of pretty awesome reads, I’ve hit a bit of a slump at the end of December. Perhaps this is to be expected–I mean, I’d be surprised if I continued on such a high streak of exciting, enthralling books! Sadly, this particular title just didn’t speak to me the way I was hoping it might. Which sounds worse than I mean it to, because honestly, at the beginning of this journey, I was SUPER stoked. There was a hint of mystery and intrigue laced throughout the pages, I was super curious about what happened to Courtney in her childhood–and what was happening to her in present day. I was excited for this book, but somewhere along the way, that excited sense of longing fizzled out and disappeared.

To be honest, I think there was almost TOO much happening in this book–and this led to a fair amount of confusion for me as a reader. Instead of stopping now and again to focus on the little things–character development, dialogue, interactions and reactions–I feel Brady Stefani rushed through those aspects of writing in order to keep the plot moving and push things along. But this effort, while commendable, still fell flat; I wasn’t able to connect or empathize with the characters much at all, and instead found myself scoffing at their interactions, or wondering over the realistic implications. Courtney, while snarky and dramatic, came off as flighty and wishy-washy to me. I didn’t understand half of her reactions to the situation around her…and found I didn’t try to comprehend the other half. Her family, as well, felt a bit stiff and awkward–more cardboard cutouts instead of actual, complex people.

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While there were several entertaining moments of high snark and sass, I overall felt as if the dialogue was half-heartedly written and meant more to spur the action on than to reveal anything important to the story. The plot is FULL of action and adventure…but I felt as if there was too much trying to be done in a very short amount of time. I wasn’t, as a reader, given the chance to acclimate myself to the changes happening before yet another weird change was thrown at me. While it’s not always necessary to let your readers wrap their heads around your plot, it’s sometimes a good idea–especially in books such as this, where genres are being blended and a character’s mental state is called into question. Where at the beginning, I was super confused and LOVING it because I felt I was getting a great glimpse into Courtney’s head…by the end I was confused because the plot seemed to bounce from one idea to the next without a coherent plan or shape.

Yet again, I guess this just wasn’t quite the right fit for me personally. I am not giving up on books about aliens, penguins–I WILL! one day! find a book with aliens or alien characters that I actually enjoy, I promise. Today just isn’t that day, unfortunately. For this book, I couldn’t connect with the main character; I struggled with my sense of disbelief; and I was super annoyed at how dramatic and flighty the plot seemed. I would still recommend to readers seeking unique titles, alien visitors, and dysfunctional family dynamics. Even though this book failed to beam me out of MY bedroom, it might not fail for you–so give it a shot!


6 thoughts on “The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman: Flighty Plot, Much?

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