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An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

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In his much-anticipated 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- In his much-anticipated 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 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.


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In his much-anticipated 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- In his much-anticipated 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 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.

30 review for An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jesse (JesseTheReader)

    WOW! This was excellent! I honestly went into it very skeptical, but I am leaving this feeling super satisfied with every aspect of this story. I'm so happy that there's going to be a sequel, because that ending left me hanging! It was the ONLY thing I wasn't satisfied with.

  2. 4 out of 5

    شيماء ✨

    Fortunate happenstance has led to me reading this book with absolutely no prior knowledge to what it was about. I’ve just grown tired with John Green romanticizing the white heterosexual nerd’s quest for the perfect woman whom they win by using the longest most pretentious words possible, and I was very curious to read his brother’s work. Frankly, I expected to tumble into this book dissonant and harsh in my criticism—but what do you know...I actually liked it. (If you look really closely, there' Fortunate happenstance has led to me reading this book with absolutely no prior knowledge to what it was about. I’ve just grown tired with John Green romanticizing the white heterosexual nerd’s quest for the perfect woman whom they win by using the longest most pretentious words possible, and I was very curious to read his brother’s work. Frankly, I expected to tumble into this book dissonant and harsh in my criticism—but what do you know...I actually liked it. (If you look really closely, there's probably a lesson here somewhere lol.) So what's this book about? April May, a twenty-three-year-old bisexual art-school grad languishing in a Manhattan startup, inadvertently makes first contact with an alien when she happens upon a ten-feet tall Transformers-like sculpture. She calls her YouTuber bestfriend Andy and together they upload a faux-serious interview with the statue which they dub Carl, with no way of knowing that the curtain is about to rise on a drama of their own invention when the video goes exponentially viral and many Carls materialize in cities around the world. The unascertained intention of the Carls, enormous as it loomed, was not the only thing weighing on April’s mind. She is now a celebrity, hated and loved with equal ferocity, and when people start getting besieged by perplexing dreams of the Carls making, April takes upon herself the inconvenience of persuading everyone that the Carls are a peaceful entity and not whatever maleficent meaning many want to suit to their existence. April soon finds out that the fame that tied her to the Carls made the world—and maybe even her closest friends—love her a little less. Closeness to one, it seems, means distance from the other. And celebrity comes with a price. A year ago, I watched the world fall in love with my best friend. We thought it would be fun, we thought it would be silly, but then that love tore her apart and put her back together different. April and I, alone in a hotel room, plotted to change her from a person into a story. It worked. It worked because it was a great story, and one that fit her. We did not know that she would actually become it. The most insidious part of fame for April wasn’t that other people dehumanized her; it was that she dehumanized herself. I couldn’t put this book down. I pursued the plot blindly, like in a dream compelled by some great mysterious force to move forward. This is not a thriller by any means, and not what I'd call a page-turner. There was no urgency in my reading, no overwhelming desire to see what happens next—yet I found myself deeply engrossed and utterly content to spend more time with a story where the supernatural felt genuinely weird, a little off-putting, and entirely seductive. Hank’s simplistic and often overly conversational writing style is not for everyone, but it worked for me. It’s also full of lengthy passages of technical exposition about everything from physics to neurology, which can get too leaden at times, but I think Hank’s sheer joy in imparting these ideas beams through like a laser more often than not. Our protagonist, April May, is the narrator, and her first-person account is…full of personality. She’s what you would call "very unlikeable", but in the way an unlikeable character who doesn’t soften up or sugarcoats the less than pleasant aspects of their personalities and with whom you can—to your great horror—assimilate would be. Her character is lackadaisically wry, flawed, potentially unreliable, but at the core benevolent and well-intentioned and always immensely engaging. Sure, I grappled with the impulse to yell at her countless times when her selfish confidence pushes past refreshing and well into repellent and puts everyone around her in danger. But I understood the extraordinary dread of desperately wanting to be a part of something extraordinary and watching the opportunity slip through your fingers. I also felt for her when everyone begun to strip away everything she was until it was small enough to fit into the story they’ve made up about her. More than anything—and I hate to admit this—I’ve come to realize that the things I disliked about her were things I disliked about myself: the unnameable need to be liked, the kind of selfishness that is putting up so many walls around yourself that you can’t see anyone or anything beyond your own problems, and sometimes being—for lack of an apter term—a spectacularily shitty friend. But Hank not only weaves together a suspenseful tale of April's involvement with an alien sculpture and her quest to figure out its origin and intent, he also does so with sly social commentary, and, for me, that was the best part. Hank Green created a story with great deep undercurrents. Under the surface is a very forward and honest discussion about social media and the uncomfortable commodification of the self it perpetuates, and a reminder that a person’s online presence is only a fraction of their personhood, and how we all—knowingly or unknowingly—peddle out every profitable aspects of our personalities on the internet for the very attention most of us would hate to receive in real life. The insights Green drops in through his characters about the process of suddenly finding oneself to be internet famous are also sharp and perfect. Especially how trying to find yourself through your feed and measuring your self-esteem on likes and comments eventually creates an alternate version of yourself that you can only attain at the price of laborious efforts, and that ultimately obfuscates your very sense of self and puts you between a fantasized—but not less real—you behind a screen, and the real you, who becomes more and more fictional. This book also hammers at social-media for glamourizing and rewarding the worst of human attributes (vanity, exaggerated self-importance, materialism, deception, envy, ostentation, narcissism, superiority, etc...) and conditioning people into believing that any of these traits are positive or favorable. Hank is serving some seriously scorching tea about social media, let me tell you. Which is why it’s difficult not to be disappointed by the book's second-half shift away from real relationships with clear and present stakes in favor of pursuing a meandering plot that builds up to what I think was a trite ending, but it's a disappointment experienced mostly in retrospect because, as it turns out, this is not a standalone. And I'm really intrigued to see where and how this story unfolds. Moreover, This book was quite frankly more diverse than any of John Green's books [insert the I SAID WHAT I SAID gif meme]: April is bisexual and her girlfriend Maya is a sapphic black woman. Hank also calls out white privilege and bi-erasure. Overall, this was quite a riveting, witty book, and I was thoroughly absorbed! BLOG | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | TUMBLR

  3. 5 out of 5

    Christine Riccio

    I just finished An Absolutely Remarkable Thing and it was great!! I had so much fun flying through this book. My booktalk will be coming later this week, I'm excited to discuss with yall!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Zoë

    4.5/5 I'm honestly still in shock. I went into this book quite skeptically as this is Hank Green's debut coupled with the fact that I don't tend to gravitate towards sci-fi. HOWEVER. This was such a whirlwind of a book! I didn't research this book before starting (which I'd recommend - just read it), so it took a little bit to get my footing in the story. After that, though WOW. Constant twists, turns, and a mystery that keeps unfolding. I simply had to keep reading to figure out what was up with 4.5/5 I'm honestly still in shock. I went into this book quite skeptically as this is Hank Green's debut coupled with the fact that I don't tend to gravitate towards sci-fi. HOWEVER. This was such a whirlwind of a book! I didn't research this book before starting (which I'd recommend - just read it), so it took a little bit to get my footing in the story. After that, though WOW. Constant twists, turns, and a mystery that keeps unfolding. I simply had to keep reading to figure out what was up with Carl. But I think my favorite aspect were the two discussions about fame as well as mistrust of change/"outsiders." The first topic was especially interesting to me as it was written by an online creator and, being one myself (though a much smaller one), I could semi-relate to it. Despite my excitement for this story, I had to dock off a little because I felt like Hank Green's writing from a woman's perspective felt a little off. I also felt like the supporting characters could have been fleshed out more, but maybe that was purposeful as April is a wee bit self-centered. Anyway, catch me first in line for the sequel!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tucker (TuckerTheReader)

    Publisher: So Hank you want to write a book? Hank: Yes, my brother wrote a bunch which means that I can to! Publisher: What do you want it to be about. Hank: I want to write a book about aliens. Publisher: So like the 5th wave. Hank: Kind of but let's remove all the violent parts. Publisher: So like E.T.? Hank: The alien won't actually talk or interact with the humans. Oh, and he won't be a living thing. He'll just be a big hunk of metal but we'll call him an alien. Publisher: What about the main charac Publisher: So Hank you want to write a book? Hank: Yes, my brother wrote a bunch which means that I can to! Publisher: What do you want it to be about. Hank: I want to write a book about aliens. Publisher: So like the 5th wave. Hank: Kind of but let's remove all the violent parts. Publisher: So like E.T.? Hank: The alien won't actually talk or interact with the humans. Oh, and he won't be a living thing. He'll just be a big hunk of metal but we'll call him an alien. Publisher: What about the main character? Hank: So she'll discover the alien and then make a video about it which will go viral but let's make the main character super awkward and cringey. Hank: Also, our main character will be bisexual so we can call our book diverse without actually going into the subject at all. Hank: And we will have a love triangle. And a butler. Publisher: Well, usually readers hate love triangles but it doesn't really matter because whatever you write will sell because your famous.I Hank: Oh, and one more thing! I'm going to write it so that the reader won't be able to tell when the exposition ended and the actual story starts. Hank: *Whispers* There actually isn't really going to be a plot just a bunch of random scenes that are boring but kind of make sense. Publisher: Sounds great! Let's do it! Hank: Great! I'm going to start writing. Hank: One more thing, let's make the cover really pretty so we can trick the reader into thinking it's a good book. Publisher: I'll have the cover department work on that! Hank: Oh, one more random thing. Let's spell 'okay' as 'ok' and put it in all caps so it looks like the character is screaming. Publisher: We'll call it An Absolutely Remarkable Thing which are spells out AART so the readers subconsciously think this book is art. |blog|

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ariel

    OH MAN. What a dang read. Shoot peeps. This one hit me really hard. It was one of those books where the second I finished it all I wanted to do was read it again. So I will. Soon. And you should too.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Hailey (HaileyinBookland)

    *I'm going to mull this over before I review/rate it because I've bounced around A LOT*

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    Okay where is my crash course squad?

  9. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. This was SO. GOOD. SOOOOO GOOD. I love Hank so I was really worried that I wasn’t going to love it but WOW. What a phenomenal read. I need more NOW 😫

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    April May is the snarky, relationship wrecking narrator who is unwittingly catapulted into the dizzying heights of international fame upon being the first to discover a randomly named “Carl”. Initially thought to be an art installation, the Carls prove to be considerably more than visually striking. April becomes addicted to being first and staying first within the media both social and otherwise. At first glance this seems like a Young Adult novel and it will excite this audience but there is a April May is the snarky, relationship wrecking narrator who is unwittingly catapulted into the dizzying heights of international fame upon being the first to discover a randomly named “Carl”. Initially thought to be an art installation, the Carls prove to be considerably more than visually striking. April becomes addicted to being first and staying first within the media both social and otherwise. At first glance this seems like a Young Adult novel and it will excite this audience but there is a lot more going on than the plot might lead you to believe which makes it appealing to more mature readers. In addition to fame (its effects and aftermath), we take a look at gender (identification and fluidity), crowd behavior (physical as well as cyber), and the unification of humanity in order to solve a puzzle. This is a fantastical journey that leads one to an unexpected destination.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Maxwell

    Meh. It had a really cool plot but I hated the writing style. And that ending made it even worse for me. I did not realize this would be part of a series when I picked it up so I was expecting a satisfying ending, and it did not deliver for me. Bummer.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    It was 2:45 in the morning, and April May was walking home in New York City after a long night of working. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw it: "A ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor, its huge barrel chest lifted up to the sky a good four or five feet above my head. It just stood there in the middle of the sidewalk, full of energy and power. It looked like it might, at any moment, turn and fix that empty, regal stare on me. But instead it just stood there, silent and al It was 2:45 in the morning, and April May was walking home in New York City after a long night of working. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw it: "A ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor, its huge barrel chest lifted up to the sky a good four or five feet above my head. It just stood there in the middle of the sidewalk, full of energy and power. It looked like it might, at any moment, turn and fix that empty, regal stare on me. But instead it just stood there, silent and almost scornful, like the world didn't deserve its attention." April decides to call her friend Andy to see if he could take video of this statue, whom she has called Carl. The two record some video footage just to be sure there was some record it existed, and that it wasn't just some prank. They goof around a bit with the statue, post some footage to social media, and crash. What awaits April and Andy the next morning is extraordinary. Not only has their video footage gone viral, but apparently, Carls have shown up in cities all across the world. No one understands what they want or where they came from, but one thing is clear: April and Andy have found themselves at the center of a media frenzy, and April is determined to get out in front of the story, even if it means becoming a more public person than she has ever wanted. "Even Before Carl, I spent time thinking about what I'd say if I ever had a platform to say it. That's what art is about, right? I mean, not app interfaces, but art. Much of the best art is about balancing between reflecting culture while simultaneously being removed from it and commenting on it. In the best case, maybe an artist gets to say something about culture that hasn't been said and needs to be said." The pair connects with Miranda, a scientist, who believes that the Carls are asking for materials—iodine, americium, and uranium. When a small experiment with Carl leads to chaos across the world, people, including the U.S. government, start to worry if the Carls' intentions are positive and/or peaceful, which forces April to realize that there are individuals out there who want to advance their own causes, and will use Carl—and her—as pawns. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is as much a story about the origins and intentions of the Carls as it is a commentary on our fame-obsessed culture. April discovers, slower than she might have hoped, that while it may be exciting to get everything you've always wanted, to appear on every conceivable television program and talk show, and even have the president's private phone number, there are consequences, which can put your own safety at risk, as well as your relationships, your health, even your future. This book was a little zany for my tastes. I felt like it didn't really know whether it wanted to be more of a sci-fi mystery about the Carls or more of a lampoon of the culture of celebrity, and meshing the two didn't quite work. While there are parts of this book which feel very current, after a while I thought things were getting repetitive and a little bit overly complicated. I'm a big fan of John Green, and his brother Hank definitely shares some storytelling characteristics, as well as a penchant for characters whose primary language is sarcasm. I thought Hank Green had a really interesting idea, but he didn't quite execute it as well as he could have. There are definitely interesting, humorous, and insightful moments here, but overall, the story seemed a little too wacky. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Haley

    Upon Announcement: I CAN'T WAAAAIT! After Reading: So I am giving this four stars for now, even though it is possible it is a 3/3.5-star book. I really loved everything it had to say and the way in which it said it, and I thought it was a highly original and well-written story, but I was confused and unimpressed by the ending. (That being said, given the premise of the book, I would like to point out the irony of this being easily my most-liked review ever.) What I did love about this story was its Upon Announcement: I CAN'T WAAAAIT! After Reading: So I am giving this four stars for now, even though it is possible it is a 3/3.5-star book. I really loved everything it had to say and the way in which it said it, and I thought it was a highly original and well-written story, but I was confused and unimpressed by the ending. (That being said, given the premise of the book, I would like to point out the irony of this being easily my most-liked review ever.) What I did love about this story was its focus on fame and the way sudden celebrity—especially internet celebrity—affects a person. April May becomes more brand and spokeswoman than human for much of this book, and because she's the narrator, looking back on past events with new clarity and self-realization, her downward spiral is very clear and honestly understandable. I could totally understand why she made the decisions she did, why so many people hanging onto her every word would be heady, how she couldn't find it in her to stop. And I liked that, looking back, she knew that it should have been obvious she was being destructive and foolish, but how, in the moment, her choices fit her state of mind. I wish we had seen more of Maya, and more of Maya, Andy, and April all together as friends, but I liked the clearly defined characteristics of each person in the story. I thought these were strong characters, with original views, personalities, and voices, and I liked the way they worked together through the problems of the Carls. And while the message of the book was a blatant one, at times, it's perfect for the time. Not only that fame changes you, not necessarily for the better; not only how even good people can mistake fame as an opportunity to speak for your entire system of beliefs, and, along the way, lose your personhood; but how we're stronger together than apart. This book was very focused on bringing people together across the globe; April realizes time and time again that working through a problem alone never solves it. It's through endless, global collaboration that we make strides—or even a small collaboration between friends who have different ways of thinking. But the ending. WHAT. (view spoiler)[There's no conclusion to this book. After endless Carl puzzles and the world coming together and first contact with aliens, April dies, speaks to Carl for a couple of pages (in which he says she's special without ever saying why), and then the Carls leave and eventually April comes back to life?? Where did she go? Where did the Carls go? Is Hank saying these aliens have the power to resurrect dead people? And HOW, because humans have an entirely different makeup than Carls. Why did it take so long? Why is she back now, and where is the world going from here? It felt like I was waiting for a full finish to this story and what it all means and how the world will cope with the disappearance of the Carls and the re-arrival of living, breathing (?) Carl. And I understand that might be too much for one book. But I at least wanted to know why April was alive, why she was chosen, and where she had been all this time. (hide spoiler)] I could have lived without a full conclusion for the Carls. I needed a conclusion for April. Overall, I love the way this book is laid out. I love how modern it is, and how it's more focused on the big picture and hindsight than characters (even though I am traditionally a huge fan of character-driven stories). I love the originality. I couldn't put it down. I just wanted a few more chapters.

  14. 4 out of 5

    C.G. Drews

    I obviously wanted to read this because...it's Hank Green.. But I think I will just stick to the other brother of John for now oops. This style of story isn't really in my realm of interests, I confess. Adults/scifi? Hm. So possibly the book is just *not for me* but I was so confused and detached. Like April is an actual horrible person so why would I care about her? And she gets famous instantly for seeing a robot on a street and making a movie of it. This is BEFORE they think it's an alien. I I obviously wanted to read this because...it's Hank Green.. But I think I will just stick to the other brother of John for now oops. This style of story isn't really in my realm of interests, I confess. Adults/scifi? Hm. So possibly the book is just *not for me* but I was so confused and detached. Like April is an actual horrible person so why would I care about her? And she gets famous instantly for seeing a robot on a street and making a movie of it. This is BEFORE they think it's an alien. I don't...get it? Why would people even care (this is prior to the alien part, just keep that in mind). I didn't care. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ But I think what made me most disenchanted was April just being a total jerk at every opportunity. (Especially to her girlfriend?! Who she continues to use for solving alien puzzles but treated her like utter trash.) And I found the writing really dry tbh. Anyway. I'M SORRY. I know lots of people love this book and I'm not sitting here comparing it to John's books because they're so so different. I just didn't mesh with this at all lmao what was this.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Rochelle

    I hate that people are calling this "young adult". It's not. Stop it with the inane labels that turn people off instead of bringing them in. The main character isn't even in high school OR college for that matter! This is a book for people that like to read quirky, pop-culture-filled, sci-fi-ish books -- those people might be 15 years old (and their parents don't mind them reading the occasional profanity). Maybe it's a late 20s human that also enjoys reading the novels of Ernest Cline, Robin Sl I hate that people are calling this "young adult". It's not. Stop it with the inane labels that turn people off instead of bringing them in. The main character isn't even in high school OR college for that matter! This is a book for people that like to read quirky, pop-culture-filled, sci-fi-ish books -- those people might be 15 years old (and their parents don't mind them reading the occasional profanity). Maybe it's a late 20s human that also enjoys reading the novels of Ernest Cline, Robin Sloan,Mira Grant, and/or Peter Clines. OR maybe they're a thirty-something mom that likes to read fast-moving books about random robot-alien encounters. Or maybe they're a forty-something that picked this one up because they also liked John Green and they thought this was his new book but realized after the fact that it said Hank -- and they won't be disappointed. I'm certain I have more to say, but I needed to get that out there. Thanks to the publisher for the advance reading copy. *********************************************** Months later and I do have more to say -- this is taken from a presentation I did recommending this book (and more) to library patrons. Hank Green is the brother of wildly successful author John Green – he wrote The Fault in Our Stars – together Hank and John are incredibly successful YouTube personalities. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is Hank Green’s debut novel. Being the brother of John Green automatically sets him up for a lot of assumptions – people may assume that THIS novel is “Young Adult” – a somewhat ambiguous genre label given to books with “youthful” main characters. It is not. People may assume that Hank is not as talented as his brother. He is. People may assume that April May, our leading lady, knew what she was getting into the night she called her friend Andy to come film this giant Transformer looking samurai armor sculpture. She didn’t. In fact, she inadvertently becomes the Carls spokesperson. As we follow April’s upward trajectory in the realm of Talking Heads on 24 hour news channels, we also join her as she attempts to uncover the reason for the Carls sudden appearance and, more importantly, what they want from us. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this book. It is very much a book set in TODAY. Viral videos, instant celebrities, 24-hour “news” (one of my favorite passages discusses this - “here’s a hint: it’s not really “news” until the ads stop)– we see it everyday, some of the viral sensations still live in my head – Rebecca Black’s “Friday”, anyone? Not only does he tackle the positive side of instant celebrity – money, personal assistants, free stuff) he shows the ugly side too – the dehumanization that can happen when you're in the public eye; The many ways we see “the other side” as villainous. Hank Green has actually lived it and he brings his unique perspective to his characters. If you enjoy the writings of Robin Sloan, Ernest Cline, or Mira Grant, pick this one up today!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Actual rating: 3.75 🌟's I initially gave this book 5 stars, because I had such an amazing time reading it and was so incredibly surprised by Hank Green's writing talent. It's hard to believe that this is his debut novel! The writing style was super easy to read and the teenagers actually talked like teenagers. It's nice to know that there are authors out there, who don't insist on constantly using stupid slang to get someones youth across. I found the characters to be lovable and realistic, but w Actual rating: 3.75 🌟's I initially gave this book 5 stars, because I had such an amazing time reading it and was so incredibly surprised by Hank Green's writing talent. It's hard to believe that this is his debut novel! The writing style was super easy to read and the teenagers actually talked like teenagers. It's nice to know that there are authors out there, who don't insist on constantly using stupid slang to get someones youth across. I found the characters to be lovable and realistic, but was left waiting for more background information on them. I think that's the reason why I forgot a lot of the story quickly after I finished reading. I lowered my rating because of this, because in the end, nothing was truly remarkable. However, the plot is still something really unique and unlike anything I've read before. It certainly was a very creative story that was well executed overall and also included some wonderful quotes. It was a super fun and fast read, and its one of those books I definitely see myself rereading at some point (I guess it actually will be a good thing I forgot a lot already - I will be surprised at the twists and turns again!) I'm excited for the sequel!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sol ~ TheBookishKing

    Buddy Read with Fellow Cardan the Furry Enthusiast "Carl is not a possible thing, and yet there he is, guarding the Chipotle, leading people to conclude that he was not created by humans." So ... just like I thought ... Trash. I went in to this with semi high hopes as everyone says that Hank Green is the Better Brother due to the fact that John just keeps putting out Not So Great Books. There was tons of hype around this book that I was gladly not involved in but I read this in favor of a friend Buddy Read with Fellow Cardan the Furry Enthusiast "Carl is not a possible thing, and yet there he is, guarding the Chipotle, leading people to conclude that he was not created by humans." So ... just like I thought ... Trash. I went in to this with semi high hopes as everyone says that Hank Green is the Better Brother due to the fact that John just keeps putting out Not So Great Books. There was tons of hype around this book that I was gladly not involved in but I read this in favor of a friend who adores Hank but wanted thoughts on the book before she bought it. So here I've been for the past two days being extremely conflicted. The beginning to this book was rough, I didn't care for the characters but the story line was kind of interesting and kept me going. Then I started to love the middle a lot and was incredibly interested in everything that was happening! It was crazy hard to put down and I was devouring it ............ then came Chapter 13 - Chapter 25. They completely ruined this amazing idea and I am still a tad angry. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is about April, a normal girl who lives in New York, working an insanely annoying App coding job. It is her life, despite completely despising it. One night on her way home, she passes the local Chipotle and a large Transformer Robot Like structure is just standing there. Just thinking it's a piece of art, she calls a friend and together they film a video about this amazing piece of art that may not be exactly a piece of art. Together they name him Carl. When April awakes the next morning, she is insanely famous for her discovery of the Carls. But New York Carl isn't the only one like his kind, all over the world Carls have appeared. The world is now changed forever by the appearance of these robots, and Aprils life is changed forever as she takes in being a famous discoverer. This book explores the topics of social structures bought upon becoming internet famous, brings about the struggles of the media industry and really the falsities that we are taught about being famous. Which I thought was really cool because Hank was here to EXPOSE the world and I was living, especially since he knows pretty well what it's like to be Internet Famous, practically everyone knows the Greens. So not only was this exploring social media life and internet fame, we also got to see this science robot - potential alien side. All of this mixed together is actually really really good and I loved this part so much. But here's where I started to see more John Green and Less of Hank. Okay also don't get me wrong, I went into this book looking for Hank Green as an author. I didn't want to compare him to his brother at all BUT it just happened because I believe their writing styles are actually very very similar. We have here another boring white girl who believes herself to be so different because she doesn't like Twitter and visits Art Museums instead. But whereas John Green features hopeless straight whites needing to find their tragic lover, Hank features a Bisexual Main Character and a Sapphic Relationship. Hank differs from his brother I believe in, wanting to explore and break normal social gender roles. Which is great of course and I loved but he killed it for me with April by making the only thing that didn't make her your normal Green hopeless romantic white girl, is that she's bisexual. She literally says she isn't like other girls because she doesn't like twitter and goes to Art Museums. Like wow I'm so dang impressed April you're SO QUIRKY I'm so PROUD OF YOU. And it bothered me a lot. What really killed this book though is the Pretentious Ending that made me want to pull my hair out and scream for years. As I said, I didn't want to compare the brothers against each other because I just think it's wrong and I wanted to give him a chance ... but okay were him and John both taught that Pretentious Endings are the Key to a Good Book? The ending tries to explain that we as Humans are more important than we think possible. And OKay sure I'm here for a good "We all need to be here for each other as humans and bring each other up," story line but not when it is randomly thrown in and ruins a GOOOD story line. I cannot STAND this whole we as humans are so much smarter than we believe and we need to believe in our uniqueness because YES we're amazing. Sure we are, but DO NOT build up this book about science and potential aliens and robots and fame and hollywood ONLY to end it on Garbage. It's like the whole middle of this book was thrown out so our Pretentious Overlord could deal this crap onto us. N O W, I do think a lot of people will absolutely love this. But as someone who was read John Greens books for over 5+ years and having to deal with ridiculous characters who think they're so quirky because they don't do normal things, I'm just tired. I'm real tired of this stuff y'all. THE ENDING THAT MADE ME ANGRY. IT'S SPOILERY SO BEWARE! So of course these large robots are aliens. Sentient Beings from across the Universe. And the Carls are sending infectious Dreams through humans minds, making us solve a puzzle. But April is special, she is the chosen ones of the Carls. SO at the end right, she ends up dying because QUIRKY April must have a tragic death. And when she dies she goes into this dream state where she sees Carl and he explains to her that THE CARLS CAME DOWN to unite humans together in being good humans. And to remind US that we are important and unique and beautiful. So you want me to believe this whole time that you built up a story revolving around science, social constructs, fame, and aliens to end it like that?! These huge robot SENTIENT beings from OUTER SPACE came to remind us Humans that are we important? Exit the building please because I am not here for this garbage. It didn't even go well with the story line and here I am BEING angry because it just is pretentious as heck and .. why did I even waste my time. SO YEAH THERES THAT REVIEW. It's a mess but I have been beyond ignored all day and angry so I had to vent out this review. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Taylor Ramirez

    "Coming home from work at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May..." April May Nope. Ya lost me.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen)

    *puts on spectacles* TIME TO IMAGINE A ROBOT COMPLEXLY 🤖 . . . I knew it! I still listen to Hank and John Green's podcast, and a few episodes ago Hank teased an announcement. Totally nailed it with my guess it was going to be a book! Love both the brothers and the impact they've had on Internet culture. Hank is especially well-spoken and enthusiastic about so many important things, can't wait to see how this translates into a book!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Hamad

    This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription “Even on this most terrible days, even when the worst of us are all we can think of, I am proud to be a human.” 🌟 One of the worst thing people can do and specially parents is comparing brothers/ sisters. Because Everybody is a genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid *drowning in deepness* 🌟 The reason I am saying this is that I don’t like Joh This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription “Even on this most terrible days, even when the worst of us are all we can think of, I am proud to be a human.” 🌟 One of the worst thing people can do and specially parents is comparing brothers/ sisters. Because Everybody is a genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid *drowning in deepness* 🌟 The reason I am saying this is that I don’t like John Green books, I simply tried them and they are not just for me. But I am not here to compare those two brothers, I think their relationship is cute and they are supportive of each other but now let’s get objective and analyze the book. 🌟 I actually went into the book with middle expectations. I knew it involved a robot and social media but that’s that. The subject of Social media and its effect on our life is a subject that has been on my mind for a while. I have seen some friends grow and flourish social wise but I have seen how toxic that can be at the same time. Actually in rare occasions I felt obliged to write something not because I believe in it but because I wanted people to think so. Don’t judge me as we all do this! 🌟 Now the major problem in this book was its genre, I think it can be classified as contemporary/ Sci-fi which are two different and opposite genres. Contemporaries are supposed to be real while Sci-Fi makes you imagine and think. The contemporary part in this book was great. I wish it didn’t involve Sci-Fi as it made it hard to believe and unrelatable. The social media representation was one of the best I’ve ever read. 🌟 The pacing was kind of fast, the story was gripping too at first which makes it fast to read. Around Ch13 the Sci-fi part predominates which made the story slower, hard to believe and kind of boring. I even considered DNFing at one point but I pushed through and it improved once again toward the end. 🌟 The characters were average, not ones that will stay with me but not flat at the same time. I think they could have been a bit better. However, I like that they were older than the typical teenagers in novels and the same age as I am which was cool and I don’t see that much. Overall, this is a book that combines 2 genres which would have been better if it focused on one (particularly the contemporary one). The writing was good and humorous and it had fast pacing for the majority of the story. It could have been better but sill is a good book. I ended up giving it 3 out of 5 stars. I still don’ know if I am willing to continue it and only time will tell when book 2 is released. Prescription: for those who like both contemporary/ Sci-fi and looking for a good social media representation by an own-voice author (Given that the Green brothers lives has been changed by social media).

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mary S. R.

    5 ABSOLUTELY REMARKABLE STARS! the most common pun, I know, I'm sorry—well, no, I'm not; because it's true. “Even on this most terrible of days, even when the worst of us are all we can think of, I am proud to be a human.” This book matters to me because, I guess, I've been waiting for something like this for a long time. Not just a book that dares take on an idea this grand and important, or a book that doesn't just bring aliens into the story for destruction or vibes but for something like this 5 ABSOLUTELY REMARKABLE STARS! the most common pun, I know, I'm sorry—well, no, I'm not; because it's true. “Even on this most terrible of days, even when the worst of us are all we can think of, I am proud to be a human.” This book matters to me because, I guess, I've been waiting for something like this for a long time. Not just a book that dares take on an idea this grand and important, or a book that doesn't just bring aliens into the story for destruction or vibes but for something like this—but a book that does both of those things and does it marvelously!“This is what humanity is, solidarity in the face of fear. Hope in the face of destruction.”Hank Green is talking about humanity. And to do that, he takes on some of the most vital topics of the modern days: fame and social media, fear and uncertainty, prejudice and suspicion, acceptance and ignorance, and how each of those things affect our ‘self’ and how they help destroy us and construct us anew—for the better or for the worse.Human beings are terrible at accepting uncertainty, so when we’re ignorant, we make assumptions based on how we imagine the world. And our guess is so obviously correct that other guesses seem, at best, willful ignorance—at worst, an attack.That's where he starts from, but don't for a second forget where he's leading us and what it's all actually about. This may start as the story of a young woman, but it's the story of humans as one person and one species and cooperation and unity :)“I'm not afraid of them, I'm afraid of their fear.”One more thing before we proceed with the step by step review: there are many things that influence and define your opinion of a book. It's not just the book itself, but a collection of all that defines you, with also the outside factors added to the mix. So from something you experienced in the day and your mood, to a personal belief or memory that resurfaces after reading even one specific word, they all change what you will eventually think of that book, whether you are aware of it or not. And so does a song. That's why, in my review, I always include the songs I listen to while reading (if I listen to any songs—which I usually do). And My book playlist for AART (specially the instrumental song) totally set the tone of the book for me. I feel very fortunate to have put those songs there because without them, I'm not sure I would've had this unique an experience reading. You can find the list of the seven songs in the Companions section at the end of the review. Book Title I don't usually discuss the title, but I've read many people's reviews who I felt, sadly, didn't get what AART is actually talking about; so here we go... What is “an absolutely remarkable thing” in Hank's opinion? It's humanity. He starts by first talking about the many remarkable things around us that we are all, to my and many others' utter shame, ignorant of. An artist's art that they put their life into and we admire for one second and then just move on. The very people in our lives who we fail to appreciate.I was thinking of the artist. A fellow creator who had poured her soul into something truly remarkable that might simply be ignored by the whole world. I was trying to get in her head. I was trying to figure out why she had created this thing.And then, after he shows how many precious things there are in our lives that we are blind to, he goes on—and here is why this book is so important and special to me as it should be to you, I think—to one of the most remarkable things and yet one of the most neglected ones: us. Yes. We are, of course, selfish creatures who tend to adore themselves too often. The thing is, we adore ourselves each as a ‘self’, as one individual that is oh so unique—even when we say humans are higher and better than animals, for example, we mean it in the sense that ‘I’ the human am holier-than-thou; not ‘we’ the humans as one and the same. What we often neglect is acknowledging our beauty as species. As an ‘us’, united and alike, not a ‘me’. We are a masterpiece work of art. We are an absolutely remarkable thing even if maybe not the most remarkable thing of all. And never will that be more important and noticed than when we have to work together as one people of a planet named Earth :) Storyline 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 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. That's how the book starts—and it says more about the whole novel that I initially thought! This is the story of—besides humanity—April May, June July August September October November December January February March, yes, April May! “When you’re faced with something you don’t understand, I think the most natural thing but also the least interesting thing you can be is afraid.” One early morning after a sleepless night full of tedious work on her way home, April has to take a sudden trip back to the office—and that's when she sees it; this magnificent sculpture of a robot in a sidewalk in NYC. So she calls her YouTuber friend, Andrew, to get a few shots of it. She calls it Carl. Tomorrow morning; April's whole life changes. New York Carl is not the only one; 36 Carls have popped up all around the world, right when all security cameras in those locations stopped working...Just because someone has power over you doesn’t mean they’re going to use it to hurt you. People who believe that tend to either be: 1. People who have been victims of that sort of behavior, or... 2. People who, if given power, will use it to hurt you.Basking in the glory of being the first person to have discovered a Carl, doing interviews for money, April realizes that no human could've built those robots, and they didn't grow out of the earth now did they?What is reality except for the things that people universally experience the same way?That's when our newly attention-addicted protagonist takes matters into her own hands—experimenting with things she's but supposed to, and spreading a Dream virus as a result...“I looked cocky, but people either love that or they love to hate it, and in the attention game (which I was playing even if I didn’t know I was), those things are equally good.In AART we follow April May's story as she treads the muddy waters of life and fame—and something bigger. Fighting her own demons, she makes mistakes and wise choices; and she builds herself anew :)When you get stuck fighting small battles, it makes you small.This tale has everything—from love and friendship to fame and fortune and hatred and solidarity. I could not put the book down for even a breath! It was weird in the best way!!! I NEED THE SEQUEL RIGHT NOW! Storytelling In AART, April is writing her story in retrospect, so she gets to reflects on past choices—a chance she fully embraces, making this book very special with her honest criticism. But also, that entails a lot of explanatory paragraphs and passages, a lot of reflection and just talking instead of the story and dialogue happening—and there is not a single thing wrong with that. I loved every second of it without a doubt. It only really depends on your taste: if you have just no tolerance for that and only want action and story and dialogue, then you might not love it. I'm not saying you'll hate it because even for someone with that preferences this book will be enjoyable because there is a great deal of anticipation building and enchanting and grand storytelling (specially the second half). And besides, Hank's fantastic and enthusiastic writing will make you want to see what he's got to say! And he's got much noteworthy things to say.Reasoned, caring conversations that considered the complexity of other perspectives didn’t get views. Rants did. Outrage did. Simplicity did.In this book, Green tackles much and more, calling out what's done and said about topics like fame, our actions on social media, bisexuals, people of colour, and gender (can we just talk about the fact that the president of the United States is a woman who stands against people calling her weak or making fun of her womanhood??).It’s so much easier for people to get excited about disliking something than agreeing to like it.He also, awesomely, addresses our tendency to be distrustful, suspicious, and hateful. And also the truth that humans enjoy destroying things. It's a book worth putting time and effort on, and Hank Green's writing only adds to its value :) Characterization “I like it that people think my opinion matters. It’s just ... I don’t know if it does.”April's character starts from a place of uncertainty and is at first reluctant to dive into this new life of fame. But eventually she finds out how good she is at it, and gets sucked in all the same.“You’re a digital girl, April, in a digital world. We all know how to perform.”April sees herself as a symbol, a tool to design as it fits the situation. And as she acts and pretends to be someone she isn't and believe in things she's not sure if she believes in, she starts to forget how she'd originally acted.You can only do so much pretending before you become the thing you’re pretending to be.I appreciated that. I adored how Hank showed the effect our actions have on our personality. The mutual relation of who we are and what we do; and how, consequently, changing either could alter the other. He captured it flawlessly and his attention to its implications and details truly impressed me!“April, you’re not building a brand, you’re building yourself.”So it doesn't matter to me how many mistakes she made; I loved her with all her faults. And the most significant reason is her rebuilding herself—because it's something I can relate to and understand :) Relationships “We are each individuals, but the far greater thing is what we are together, and if that isn’t protected and cherished, we are headed to a bad place.”The author doesn't just do a magnificent job of developing all the complicated friendships, he also masterfully paints a picture of our distrust of eachother and also the relationships between strangers or fans or foes. My Struggle Rating When it started, it was a solid 4 for me. As the story progressed it became 4.25 then 4.5. But I wasn't sure still, because I felt like there should've been more about the Carls' effects worldwide. And more cross cultural mentions. Then, when the Dream happened—and in the second half of the book in general—I saw that there were things about other countries, like this:“Some of the puzzles are impossible unless you speak a certain language or know a lot about Shakespeare or the rules to some obscure Iranian sport.”And even though I would've liked more information worldwide, I understand why there wasn't more: April was, at first, inconsiderate and more focused on herself and her troubles (like not visiting the dream), so it made sense that she didn't focus so much on how something with this huge an scope was being received by other countries in detail. And besides, after when she started caring about something other than fame, we saw much and more that happened internationally! Secondly, she was telling her personal story more than anything, not an account of the whole earth. Also, the author showed perfectly how many Americans think the world revolves around them—don't bite me, it's the truth. After thinking about all of these, I still felt like there should've been more on other cultures. But then I asked myself: “How? If you're so smart, tell me. What would you have added and where, while still staying true to the characters' personality and what she will and won't talk about?” And truth be told, I did not have an answer to that. So I decided to shut it and give it the five stars it deserves :)) Companions Also by Hank Green: • Untitled (An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, #2) [ MY REVIEW ] Book playlist: • “Who We Want to Be” by Tom Day [Instrumental] (this song is amazing and beautiful, mysterious and chilling and enchanting...) • “Friction” by Imagine Dragons • “Our Last Days” by The Fray • “Hopeless Opus” by Imagine Dragons • “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen (plays a role in the book) • “Yesterday” by Imagine Dragons • “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jespen (plays a role in the book) Books by John Green (Hank's brother): • Turtles All the Way Down [ MY REVIEW ] • The Fault in Our Stars [ MY REVIEW ] • Looking for Alaska [ MY REVIEW ] • Paper Towns [ MY REVIEW ] • An Abundance of Katherine's [ MY REVIEW ] • Will Grayson, Will Grayson with David Levithan [ MY REVIEW ] • Let It Snow with Maureen Johnson & Lauren Myracle [ MY REVIEW ] • An Imperial Affliction with Peter Van Houten [ MY REVIEW ] • The Price of Dawn [ MY REVIEW ]

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kales

    This was like a weird mix between READY PLAYER ONE, SIGNS and TASH HEARTS TOLSTOY. I feel like this is going to be one of those books that stays in my head for a while, rolls around a bit in tar, feathers, gum, jelly (see what I did there?) and muddy about until I figure out exactly how I feel about it. So this review might be a little rambley and will probably change. Admittedly, I picked up this book because it was written by Hank Green, John Green's brother and youtuber extraordinaire. That sa This was like a weird mix between READY PLAYER ONE, SIGNS and TASH HEARTS TOLSTOY. I feel like this is going to be one of those books that stays in my head for a while, rolls around a bit in tar, feathers, gum, jelly (see what I did there?) and muddy about until I figure out exactly how I feel about it. So this review might be a little rambley and will probably change. Admittedly, I picked up this book because it was written by Hank Green, John Green's brother and youtuber extraordinaire. That said, I don't know if I would have picked it up by the description or the cover alone. It's a pretty weird book with a pretty out-there premise. I mean, random statues that are obviously aliens -- come on, we know they are going to be aliens -- appear and one girl gets internet famous for filming them. It is weird, but again, it's Hank Green and he can get away with weird. I feel like because of his following (of which I am admittedly a part of) he could have written about damn well anything and it would have sold. That said, it was a well written book. I liked the casual style of the dialog and April's voice. There were moments of true philosophy along with hilarity and modern references. There were tweets, blog posts, texts, video transcripts all included as well. It was a well-told story. I also enjoyed the characters -- except really for April because she was kind of a dick, but there was a self-actualization to her dickness that I appreciated. Like at least she knew she was a dick and admitted to her flaws. Andy and Maya were definitely the other solid characters in this book. Robin was a little flat for me and Miranda just seemed like the nerdy stereotype. But again, Maya did make a good point when she said that they only ever knew April as "April May" so they treated her differently and she also would understandably see them differently. I struggled with the political nature of this book. While I completely understand that when aliens invade there has to be a political element, I didn't like how closely it emulated the polarizing nature of the United States' current political climate. Honestly, I get enough of that in the news right now so I have no interest to read about it. That could just be me, but it's true. I do admire what Hank did in the book and making it realistic but I don't need that kind of realism right now. On that same note, I felt like a good portion of this book was like watching a Vlogbrothers video. Which makes sense, because it's Hank Green, but it was an odd sensation. I felt like a lot of ideals were being pushed through. I also thought a lot of Hank's own experiences with fame and the pressures of his position in the media and with such a substantial following were dumped into the book. Some ways it felt like a weird brain dump from Hank. April was like the female version of Hank...and that's not necessarily bad but I struggled with some of the evangelizing that comes across in some Vlogbrothers videos and especially in this book. I also thought the ending was a cop out. If you're going to kill the main character, just kill her. Don't leave us hanging like she might be alive -- which she is if she's writing this book as a reflection of the previous events...I don't know, just seemed lazy to me. But I will say that I liked that there wasn't a real romance at the center of this book and it explored all sorts of relationships. That was a real strength of the book and I appreciated the balance it brought. It also passed the Bechtel test and the reverse Betchtel test, and that makes me happy. Overall, it wasn't bad. It wasn't stellar either. There were parts I enjoyed and parts I didn't understand and parts I thought should have been cut. That's why it has a three stars. It might move up or down once I wrap my head around it a little more. But got to give it credit for making me think. Conclusion: I haven't made up my mind yet

  23. 5 out of 5

    ☙ percy ❧

    *kicks down the door of every single person on the planet* Y'ALL, GET A LOAD OF THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ngl i've always liked hank more than john and i'm so excited i think i'm gonna scream

  24. 5 out of 5

    Carol (Bookaria)

    This is a story about identity, friendship, and the effects of sudden fame. The last being a common event in this age of information and social media.  April, the main character, suddenly becomes internationally-famous when a video she made with a friend goes viral. We follow her through her journey. I picked up the book because I've enjoyed John Green's books in the past, specially TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. The author of this book is his brother so I imagined I'd see Jo This is a story about identity, friendship, and the effects of sudden fame. The last being a common event in this age of information and social media.  April, the main character, suddenly becomes internationally-famous when a video she made with a friend goes viral. We follow her through her journey. I picked up the book because I've enjoyed John Green's books in the past, specially TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. The author of this book is his brother so I imagined I'd see John's influence in his work. Even though the premise was interesting I was not captivated by the novel and found myself skimming some sections. Overall, it was ok, I would still recommend it to those who enjoy sci-fi, YA, NA, and contemporary fiction.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mari

    In the spirit of full disclosure, I work part-time for a company Hank Green owns. I bought this book for myself, however, with a preorder that predated the job. After I got the book on my Kindle, I decided to splurge and buy the audiobook and I'm so happy that I did. Kristen Sieh did a great job as April May and the tone of this book is so conversational that I think it was best read aloud. I think I also benefited from putting that distance between Hank Green's voice and April May's voice. There In the spirit of full disclosure, I work part-time for a company Hank Green owns. I bought this book for myself, however, with a preorder that predated the job. After I got the book on my Kindle, I decided to splurge and buy the audiobook and I'm so happy that I did. Kristen Sieh did a great job as April May and the tone of this book is so conversational that I think it was best read aloud. I think I also benefited from putting that distance between Hank Green's voice and April May's voice. There are so many thoughts about life, the goodness of people, fame and humanity here that scream Hank Green (obviously, and as they should) that having Kristen Sieh be the one to deliver those thoughts was great. I read the first 80ish pages in starts and stops. I was super invested while I was reading, but it was easy to put off picking it back up again. I think whether or not that is true for you will depend on your investment in the Carl mystery. Even all said and done, I had more investment in April May than in figuring out what the Carl's were. I'll add that after 80ish pages, I had a few hours while baking to just play the audiobook and it was perfect. Because it is April May telling her story in a stream, it is binge-able and worked best for me in that single swallow. The Carl stuff was great as a backdrop and catalyst, but it felt like a introduction here more than anything else. I guess we get kind of an answer here, but it's a confirmation of something we learn/figure out pretty early on. I wouldn't go into this expecting a heavy mystery. Obviously, I loved much of what Green says about fame, having a platform, power dynamics, humanity and also messing up a lot. It's introspective and coming-of-age-y, two things I love. Some might find the messages too heavy handed, but I don't know, it's 2018 and everything is political and it's stuff I think about and it was great to see it so thoughtfully presented and wrapped in a fictional bow. I loved April May. I'll challenge any one who calls her unlikable because I think she's shown as incredibly likable and flawed. You know, as humans tend to be. Some of the other characters felt a little under developed compared to April May, but it's to be expected in a story so closely following our main character and in which one of her main flaws is a bit of taking her friends for granted. This was a great debut and I'm excited to see what comes next.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Telthor

    2.5, and I can't decide if I'm rounding up or down and have flipflopped like three times, but down because of all the memes. *insert very large shrug here* I hate the phrase "millennial humor" -- but I think that's what this book is. The sort of humor that fills tumblr to the brim. Where random phrases are CAPSLOCKED, and characters swear in new and interesting ways, and we throw memes around like confetti (including extremely dated ones, like "Hide yo' kids, hide yo' wife" from freaking 2010). A 2.5, and I can't decide if I'm rounding up or down and have flipflopped like three times, but down because of all the memes. *insert very large shrug here* I hate the phrase "millennial humor" -- but I think that's what this book is. The sort of humor that fills tumblr to the brim. Where random phrases are CAPSLOCKED, and characters swear in new and interesting ways, and we throw memes around like confetti (including extremely dated ones, like "Hide yo' kids, hide yo' wife" from freaking 2010). And maybe that's why I don't like it: I'm surrounded by this sense of humor just about every day, and it feels exhausting. Like I'm trapped in it. I'm not going to lie: Green has some really good ideas about what it's like to be part of this worldwide Internet culture thing. About the reach Twitter has, and about how people can flip out and fangirl so easily. About how for the most part, everyone is really wonderful, and how we can work together to solve things in amazing ways if we would but try. But the trolls can be vocal--and even deadly dangerous--and that's ripped right out of our current headlines. Dr. DisRespect's house was literally shot at a few weeks ago while he was livestreaming, to date this review. This book is fully aware of our world's reality, due in great part to Green's history with podcasting and youtubing. But that's a problem, too. This book is going to be dated really quickly. Yes, I realize it's a contemporary novel. It's talking about our current social and political landscape. I know it uses Twitter and Facebook because That's the Point. And yet. The morals in this book are too heavy handed to be the good support the book needs. Rather than holding the book up and acting as a bone structure for the characters to work on top of, the themes become a heavy weight that the rest of the book has to try and support. It's a reversal of what should be happening, and it's not great. Every couple chapters, Green himself hops up on a soapbox and makes April parrot out his thoughts. His ideas on the tiers of fandom, for instance, or levels of fame, or the impact-the-internet-is-having-on-society interview. It's to the point where it almost feels like Green's liveblog musings (or maybe his podcast? I've not listened to any yet). Ultimately, instead of a cohesive and well-considered book with strong plot points, it feels flabby and a vehicle for these blog post moments. You can always see one of these society/tech/fame/whatever monologues coming, because your eye notices a Huge Block of Text coming up and you wince because you're going to get another speech. But despite all my complaining about the book's floppy structure, there are good things to take away. Having this silent presence behind the action (Carl) and never exactly knowing what's going to happen with them was good--I honestly wasn't sure how it was going to end. It felt like there was an unpredictability factor lingering behind the text. The ending was punchy and fun, and I'm always here for solving huge elaborate puzzles. A dreamworld of puzzles sounds like a dream to me. The last scenes April talks about were really, really top notch, leaving the book on a nice high note (at least before the infodump epilogue killed it, but whatever). Also, even though I believe in the end they weigh down the story, the ideas are relevant to modern readers. Who doesn't want our fractured world to come together, unified in just a few moments, to accomplish some goal? Who doesn't go a little mushy and bubbly with the little feel-good sense you get when you see someone has liked (or, even better, reblogged or commented!) on something that you've created? There's a little flash of excitement when you see a notification on a website, thinking "someone's noticed me!" and this book taps into that, and how it can spiral into something greedy and huge if you let it. It just feels like the book is often nothing more than short blog posts made by Green himself and shoehorned into a plot. All I can do is shrug. It's just not my jam. The sense of humor is too much, the characters' way of speaking too same-voicey due to said sense of humor pervading the entire text, and the ideas are too weighty for the story. But it's relevant and modern and I can see it being the hot new thing for a little while. EDIT REVELATION BECAUSE I'M STILL THINKING ABOUT IT: (view spoiler)[ WAIT A SECOND IF ALL THE CARLS ARE ONE, WHY COME THE NEW YORK CARL IS THE "TRUE" CARL, BUT THE ONE IN CALIFORNIA IS THE ONE WHO LOST THE HAND. ....oh, right, aliens. BUT STILL. (hide spoiler)]

  27. 4 out of 5

    Billie

    Well, that was a thing that I read. I mean, it was fun and I love a good cipher, but it was very...moral, wasn't it? Like, at the end, the message/moral (Good things happen when the whole world works together! And it's fun!) started getting in the way of the story. And April May, the protagonist—for as much as Green tries to dull her sparkle— is still a bit of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, with the added bonus of being the Chosen One because even the Carls aren't immune to her quirky charm. But, as Well, that was a thing that I read. I mean, it was fun and I love a good cipher, but it was very...moral, wasn't it? Like, at the end, the message/moral (Good things happen when the whole world works together! And it's fun!) started getting in the way of the story. And April May, the protagonist—for as much as Green tries to dull her sparkle— is still a bit of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, with the added bonus of being the Chosen One because even the Carls aren't immune to her quirky charm. But, as I stated earlier, it was fun and full of good ciphers and a great soundtrack and it is a debut, so some slack must be granted. Gods know it's going to sell a bajlilionty copies, even if it's absolute crap. And it's not absolute crap. it's really quite enjoyable, even if I wanted nearly any other character to be the protagonist (Maya would have been awesome. Or Andy.) 90% of the time.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joce (squibblesreads)

    I was really excited for this book because a few friends of mine (both in the book community and irl) went to his signing events and enjoyed his commentary and his presence, and they said I would enjoy this. I listened to 100% of it on audio. The tone reminded me so much of Ready Player One, which was interesting because RPO has a male narrator and here we have April May, who is a young adult woman. The best way I can describe this similar tone is extremely conversational like the narrator is tal I was really excited for this book because a few friends of mine (both in the book community and irl) went to his signing events and enjoyed his commentary and his presence, and they said I would enjoy this. I listened to 100% of it on audio. The tone reminded me so much of Ready Player One, which was interesting because RPO has a male narrator and here we have April May, who is a young adult woman. The best way I can describe this similar tone is extremely conversational like the narrator is talking directly to the reader, yet oddly detached and unemotional. It's as if they are telling you the story instead of you experiencing it alongside them. Because of this, I found reading this book on audio to be a great medium, so I would definitely recommend it. Bonus points because Hank Green does small sections of it himself and I always like when authors narrate their own works. In terms of thematic elements, there is a large coming of age and identity exploration element. Our narrator is in a relationship with a woman and being intimate with women, although I don't believe she states exactly what words she uses to identify. I am always wary of male authors who write female protagonists and I felt that here... something was missing with the way she was written but I can't quite put my finger on it. What I really enjoyed was how the book discussed Internet fame, building an internet community, and how we interact with others on the Internet. Another highlight was how the personal is political, and vice versa, especially with the Internet being such a huge place, and how politics interacts with science. Meeting/interacting with people from different backgrounds allows the reader to see how things that may seem "just" personal to one person is entirely political to another because the way that we vote and the laws that are passed and enacted dictate crucial parts of people's lives and how they meet basic needs. Even though I enjoyed how those topics were explored, none of the characters seemed fully fleshed out or had very distinct personalities. The plot, while it started strong, could definitely have used the help of better character development to enrich and deepen it. If the next book has the same audio narrators, I will probably give it a go because it was a nice companion to have on walks and moved quickly. However, I'm not sure I will be re-reading this one anytime soon.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Vitor Martins

    eu não sabia muito bem o que esperar desse livro e o que eu encontrei aqui, definitivamente, me surpreendeu muito. eu passei boa parte da leitura com BIRRA da protagonista e dos personagens secundários que me pareciam rasos demais, mas conforme a narrativa foi me dando as peças que eu precisava pra entender a mensagem da minha maneira, fui ficando fascinado pelas ideias malucas de hank green. assim que eu terminei a última página (berrando), chamei rafael para contar pra ele um pouco sobre o liv eu não sabia muito bem o que esperar desse livro e o que eu encontrei aqui, definitivamente, me surpreendeu muito. eu passei boa parte da leitura com BIRRA da protagonista e dos personagens secundários que me pareciam rasos demais, mas conforme a narrativa foi me dando as peças que eu precisava pra entender a mensagem da minha maneira, fui ficando fascinado pelas ideias malucas de hank green. assim que eu terminei a última página (berrando), chamei rafael para contar pra ele um pouco sobre o livro e fiquei quase 5 minutos explicando sem que ele entendesse nada. e eu acho que tentar escrever uma resenha coerente sobre uma coisa absolutamente fantástica teria o mesmo efeito: eu falando coisas e nenhuma delas fazendo sentido. mas, no geral: excelentes pontos de vista sobre fama e anonimato, relações doentias de fã e ídolo, polarizações políticas que geram violência (brasil 2018 hehehehehe), a ~cultura dos likes~ na internet, o senso de comunidade e de pertencimento, a importância do trabalho em equipe e também da carly rae jepsen. um livro maluco e 100% show!!!

  30. 4 out of 5

    The Full Bookshelf Reviews

    Since no one has written a pre-book review yet, I guess that I will. Although I will leave out star ratings. (I know people hate that.) John Green is a genius. Hank Green is a genius. Together, the make up the genius that is Vlogbrothers, and CrashCourse World History and Psychology. Although, if you are not, like me, a devoted Nerdfighter, John has been stealing the spotlight for years. 5 novels and a long short story, several more books for the HPA and Project for Awesome. The man who made the Since no one has written a pre-book review yet, I guess that I will. Although I will leave out star ratings. (I know people hate that.) John Green is a genius. Hank Green is a genius. Together, the make up the genius that is Vlogbrothers, and CrashCourse World History and Psychology. Although, if you are not, like me, a devoted Nerdfighter, John has been stealing the spotlight for years. 5 novels and a long short story, several more books for the HPA and Project for Awesome. The man who made the word okay romantic! And then there's Hank... who also wrote several books HPA and PFA but has not yet released anything but some wonderfully nerdy songs on his record label, DFTBA records... Until now! That's right, here comes Hank's debut novel, about a young lady and her robot friend... ...which does not yet have a title. But, never mind that, let's get on to my own creative efforts inspired by the matter, shall we? Warning:Nerdfighter Material Ahead Cause I need Hank Green's novel Like a puppy sized elephant needs water And as I wait for a release date My need grows Oh Accio Book title Incendio The word 'untitled' I hope it lives up to all my hopes Oh Accio A book by Hank Green Oh, Accio A book by Hank Green! And, Hank, I'll see you on my Followed Authors list. DFTBA

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