Recommended for ages 12+
Courtney Hoffman is a 15 year-old whose biggest fear is that she’s going insane, like her grandfather did. When she was 7, her alien-obsessed grandfather had her tattooed with a strange symbol, and then he tried to drown her in his bathtub. She’s lived with this for years, but now, the aliens are visiting her in her bedroom. Her mother and her mother’s doctor boyfriend are more concerned with trying to commit her so they don’t have to deal with her anymore – stellar parenting, right? – and she’s just discovered that the girl she grew up envisioning as her imaginary friend is real, that she’s got some alien obsessions issues of her own, but that she’s also got information that will help Courtney get the whole story about her grandfather and about herself. There are secret societies, family secrets, and conspiracies aplenty to be had.
There is a lot going on in The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman: think X-Files meets DaVinci Code, with family drama tossed into the middle of it all. Courtney’s mother is just an awful human being that shouldn’t even have custody of her older daughter; she’s more concerned with getting her locked away so she can focus on her Courtney’s younger sister and her sleazy doctor boyfriend. Courtney’s father is almost nonexistent, except for that one time he bailed her out of the nuthouse and let her stay with him for the summer to let things blow over. What kind of father lets his daughter go back to a woman like Courtney’s mother? Agatha, Courtney’s imaginary friend who’s not so imaginary, is a tough character to like; she vacillates between trying to help Courtney and being obnoxious and rude. Agatha has alien visitation history of her own, and ends up helping Courtney figure out more than she does to push her away, which ends up being a huge plus.
Overall, this was a promising paranormal adventure that just needed a little more structure to be unputdownable. If you really love alien visitation theories and stories, take a chance on Courtney Hoffman; I was hoping for just a little more.