Reviews of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

by Hank Green

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green X
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 2018, 352 pages

    Paperback:
    Jul 2019, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Erin Szczechowski
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About this Book

Book Summary

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. Coming home from work 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 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 - everywhere from Beijing to Buenos Aires - and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight. 

Now April has to deal with the pressure on her relationships, her identity, and her safety that this new position brings, all while being on the front lines of the quest to find 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 from the same dehumanization that follows a life in the public eye.

CHAPTER ONE

Look, I am aware that you're here for an epic tale of intrigue and mystery and adventure and near death and actual death, but in order to get to that (unless you want to skip to chapter 13—I'm not your boss), you're going to have to deal with the fact that I, April May, in addition to being one of the most important things that has ever happened to the human race, am also a woman in her twenties who has made some mistakes. I am in the wonderful position of having you by the short hairs. I have the story, and so I get to tell it to you the way I want. That means you get to understand me, not just my story, so don't be surprised if there's some drama. I'm going to attempt to come at this account honestly, but I'll also admit to a significant pro-me bias. If you get anything out of this, ideally it won't be you being more or less on one side or the other, but simply understanding that I am (or at least was) human.

And I was very ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Equal parts political and personal, fun and serious, critical and optimistic, witty and savvy, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing lives up to its title...continued

Full Review (752 words).

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(Reviewed by Erin Szczechowski).

Media Reviews

Booklist
Starred Review. Green makes an entertaining book debut in this fast-paced, witty first contact novel…At once funny, exciting, and a tad terrifying, this exploration of aliens and social media culture is bound to have wide appeal to readers interested in either theme.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. [Green] applies wit, affection, and cultural intelligence to a comic sci-fi novel. ... A fun, contemporary adventure that cares about who we are as humans, especially when faced with remarkable events.

Library Journal (Fall 2018 Best Debut Novels)
Starred Review. Led by an earnestly flawed, bisexual heroine with direction and commitment issues, coupled with an abundant generosity of spirit, this read is timely and sorely needed. Highly recommended.

Publishers Weekly
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.

Author Blurb Ashley C. Ford, writer
This is the book my teen self would have loved, and my adult self immediately obsessed over. I turned the pages of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing so quickly the pads of my thumbs were worn smooth by the time I finished it. It provokes the mind, tickles the spirit, and April May is the terribly relevant young protagonist we've been waiting for.

Author Blurb Catherynne M. Valente, author of The Refrigerator Monologues and Space Opera
By turns joyful, devastating, personal, zeitgeisty, modern, classic, fast-paced, and thoughtful, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing blew me away with its fresh take on first contact in this fragile, ever-connected world we live in. Quick but never shallow, it will stand as a snapshot of an era as well as just a darn good read.

Author Blurb John Scalzi, New York Times bestselling author and Hugo Award winner
Funny, thrilling, and an absolute blast to read. I knew Hank would be good at this, but I didn't know he would be this good on the first try.

Author Blurb Joseph Fink, author of Welcome to Night Vale and Alice Isn't Dead
Hank Green hasn't just written a great mystery adventure (though he has), and he hasn't just written the most interesting meditation on the internet and fame I've ever seen (but he did that too), Hank has written a book in which the page-turning story and the fascinating ideas inform and support each other. This book expands your mind while taking you on a hell of a ride.

Author Blurb Lev Grossman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Magicians Trilogy
You're about to meet somebody named April May who you're immediately going to want to be best friends with. And bonus, she spends all her time having incredible adventures with giant robots and dream puzzles and accidental Internet fame. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is pure book-joy.

Author Blurb Patrick Rothfuss, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Kingkiller Chronicle
Fun and full of truth. To be honest, I'm a little irritated at how good the book is. I don't need this kind of competition.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

Celebrity Status: Books about Fame

As one half of the famed Vlogbrothers (a popular YouTube channel with over three million subscribers), Hank Green is no stranger to internet celebrity, albeit perhaps not quite at the level that his protagonist, April May, achieves in his debut novel An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. Though Green's debut is aimed at adult readers (with cross-over appeal for younger readers), the theme of sudden and reluctant fame is common in young adult titles. For example:

Cover of <i>Airhead</i> by Meg CabotAirhead by Meg Cabot: After tomboy Emerson Watts is swapped into the body of supermodel Nikki Howard, her life is turned upside down, and she must learn to deal with all of the ups and (major) ...

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