An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
I added Hank Green’s book to my Goodreads’ “Want to Read” shelf in September of 2017 so to say I’ve been waiting a long time to read this book is an understatement. Was it worth the wait? ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY. It’s timely, funny, thought-provoking, and highly entertaining and it’s one that will appeal to teens and adults, alike (BTW, it’s marketed as an Adult book, not YA).
April May is 23, fresh out of art school, and already disillusioned. Walking home from her crappy job at a start-up company in NYC very late one night (actually, very early the next morning), April stumbles across the most (dare I say it?) absolutely remarkable thing. It looks like a Transformer wearing samurai armor. It is over ten feet tall. It is radiating power and energy. She assumes it’s an art installation (the most amazing art installation she’s ever seen) and her gut tells her to call her best friend, Andy, who is a videographer and an aspiring YouTube star, to meet here there. Andy is equally astonished and knows they need to get it captured on video and uploaded immediately. Andy films April charmingly and cleverly introducing the world to the “statue” she names Carl then April goes to her apartment to sleep and Andy edits and uploads the video. By the time April awakes the following afternoon, all hell has broken loose and April’s life is forever changed. Carls have appeared in major cities all over the world, overnight, with no witnesses as to their arrival. April seems to have been the first to discover what has already been christened, “The Carls,” she and Andy’s video has gone viral (major understatement), and April is an instant, worldwide celebrity. What follows is the story of April’s determination to be the one to discover the secret of The Carls while maintaining her instant fame, unintentionally destroying relationships and the person she was pre-Carl, in the process.
Although this book definitely comes across a bit preachy about the pitfalls of internet fame and presents a social commentary about the power of media in our lives, it is a fun ride. It’s a fast-paced (SO FAST PACED) quest story that brought back those warm fuzzies I felt when reading Ready Player One for the first time. As the main character, April is not completely likable; she hurts loveable characters and she is selfish. However, she was such a realistic character and one that I was rooting for and did like (especially her snarkiness and humor), despite her many flaws. I enjoyed the way this story was told. Most of the story is told from April’s POV telling, us the events after they have happened. The end of the story (for reasons that will become apparent) is told by Andy. I listened to this one and the audio is fantastic. April’s POV is perfectly narrated by Kristen Sieh and Andy’s POV is narrated by Hank Green, himself (which is spot on because Andy’s character is basically Hank, lol). I highly recommend this book!