THE INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“Sparkling with mystery, humor and the uncanny, this is a fun read. But beneath its effervescent tone, more complex themes are at play.” —San Francisco Chronicle
In his wildly entertaining debut novel, Hank Green—cocreator of Crash Course, Vlogbrothers, and SciShow—spins a sweeping, cinematic tale about a young woman who becomes an overnight celebrity before realizing she's part of something bigger, and stranger, than anyone could have possibly imagined.
The Carls just appeared.
Roaming through New York City at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship—like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor—April and her best friend, Andy, make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day, April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world—from Beijing to Buenos Aires—and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight.
Seizing the opportunity to make her mark on the world, April now has to deal with the consequences her new particular brand of fame has on her relationships, her safety, and her own identity. And all eyes are on April to figure out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.
Compulsively entertaining and powerfully relevant, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing grapples with big themes, including how the social internet is changing fame, rhetoric, and radicalization; how our culture deals with fear and uncertainty; and how vilification and adoration spring for the same dehumanization that follows a life in the public eye. The beginning of an exciting fiction career, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is a bold and insightful novel of now.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Unlike his bestselling brother, John (of The Fault in Our Stars fame), Hank Green isn’t known for being a writer. That all changes with the popular vlogger’s startling debut. His winning and witty speculative-fiction novel asks: What would happen if we had physical evidence that we’re not alone in the universe? As she navigates internet notoriety and a global existential crisis, Green’s gutsy protagonist, April May, proves herself devilishly easy to root for. Nimble and electric, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing lives up to its name.
The younger Vlogbrother (John Green is the other) draws on his passion for science and his experience as a "Tier 3" celebrity ("You'll probably trend on Twitter if you die") for a comic debut that combines science fiction and mystery with philosophical musings about the perils of internet fame. His main character, the unfortunately named April May, is a recent art-school grad who happens upon a 10-foot-tall robotic sculpture in the darkened streets of Lower Manhattan. Entranced, she summons Andy, a classmate with a video camera, and the two introduce the figure they dub Carl to the world via YouTube. April May becomes a celebrity but soon discovers that dozens of Carls have appeared in cities across the globe. As she and her friends search for an explanation, she struggles with her newfound addiction to fame and the damage it causes to her most important relationships. April May's narration, which doesn't fully work, is both self-effacing and contradictory: she bemoans how much she enjoys fame while cynically crafting a message stressing community, which she determines will best resonate with her fans, thus growing her fame. Though the ending is disappointing (it appears to be setting up a sequel), fans of Green's YouTube channel will find his humor and perceptiveness intact in this novel.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Fun read...a bit anti climactic but I liked it
I don’t write many reviews, but this book was well executed on many levels. It’s a meditation on celebrity in the age of social media, but also on the polarizing pressure social media creates. Highly recommend.
If you've seen any vlog brothers vids, or John and Hank doing those teaching videos (I know I have seen John's history vids a number of times in class) you'll enjoy the experience. Apart from that, even if you have no idea what Hank's voice is like (or even if you haven't read a single John Green novel), if you have any ideas about the world and how it works (or how it doesn't), mental health specifically in the fields of social relations, this book is astounding.
Of course the story alone is great. But getting to read the annoying quirks of humanity alongside the finality of its willingness to work together (because what are we if not solo creatures in a world branded to make us similar, and similar at the very core anyway) is just a great experience.
The topic of the novel is great but it incorporates so many other "issues" to consider, and how many different people consider them and how they consider them differently, but somehow leading to the same conclusions on opposite sides of any spectrum.
I would recommend this book to my girlfriend (who really only likes classics and poetry and sometimes quirky lesbian fics) and to my mother (who likes mysteries and political hububs.) There's something here for almost anyone. Even my dad who hasn't picked up so much as a comic book or a race-car magazine in over a decade would get a kick out it.
I've never before felt so compelled to write a review.