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An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

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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 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.


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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 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.

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. 5 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. 5 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

    Hailey (HaileyinBookland)

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

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tucker Almengor

    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.

  7. 5 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 😫

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    Okay where is my crash course squad?

  9. 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.

  10. 5 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.

  11. 4 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

    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.

  13. 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.

  14. 4 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).

  15. 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.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen)

    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 novel. *casually sells soul for an ARC* *(...or at least a release date? C'mon!)

  17. 5 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. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Amazing! RTC.

  19. 5 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

  20. 4 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

  21. 4 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.

  22. 4 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!!!

  23. 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.

  24. 5 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.

  25. 5 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

  26. 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.

  27. 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)]

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

    Immediate thoughts after finishing, sorry if this is disjointed. Excellent read. Great tone, great mystery, great build up. I read it in two days, couldn't put it down. The tone and overall story reminded me of The Oracle Year in a very different but awesome way - so if you liked that, you may like this. I loved both. The main character is going to be one that is love her or hate her, I happened to enjoy her character but I can see where others may not. She's narcissistic and not always likeabl Immediate thoughts after finishing, sorry if this is disjointed. Excellent read. Great tone, great mystery, great build up. I read it in two days, couldn't put it down. The tone and overall story reminded me of The Oracle Year in a very different but awesome way - so if you liked that, you may like this. I loved both. The main character is going to be one that is love her or hate her, I happened to enjoy her character but I can see where others may not. She's narcissistic and not always likeable, but that's what I liked. She was human. And it was fascinating following her journey. And that's what this book is about. Humanity. It's about our addiction to the internet, our addiction to news, our addiction to competition and to being "first." It's about how we divide ourselves so much and we should come together more often. At many points in this book it almost felt more like a manifesto than a novel. I didn't always mind it, but I did notice it. It sort of fits in with the narrator so it worked for me. But there are a lot of things that Hank Green wanted to say in this book and he took the time to say them. I loved this book and the things he had to say. Now that I've finished and I know how it ends (? leaves open for a next book, so here's hoping) I want to read it again more slowly and fully take in the messages and comments on humanity that are there. Something about this book that stands out in the best possible way is that it takes place now. Like right now. I read a lot of fantasy and science fiction, so maybe that's not a weird thing for anyone else. But from the references to the core of this book it felt very now in an important way. It made me think about the internet, and social media, and humanity. It made me think about the addictions we all have and how we really are just figuring out how the internet is rewiring our brains and stuff. About how we are constantly fighting battles with strangers and with ourselves. I'll leave you with this - I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in humans and how we relate to each other, and the internet and social media. This book could easily be YA despite the characters being in their twenties. Read it and have conversations about it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Eli

    Okay, so I'm basically dying but I think I have to livestream it maybe? You know... for my brand... This was really fast paced, had some really gripping moments and I totally get where Hank is coming from but 1) I didn't like the writing style (it was wayyyy to jumpy-ish?) 2) A lot of what was happening was just absurd or strange or both 3) the protagonist was just so mean and stupid sometimes Nevertheless I was very entertained but you just can't expect this to be the perfectly deep and clever book Okay, so I'm basically dying but I think I have to livestream it maybe? You know... for my brand... This was really fast paced, had some really gripping moments and I totally get where Hank is coming from but 1) I didn't like the writing style (it was wayyyy to jumpy-ish?) 2) A lot of what was happening was just absurd or strange or both 3) the protagonist was just so mean and stupid sometimes Nevertheless I was very entertained but you just can't expect this to be the perfectly deep and clever book I was expecting.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Janel

    I don’t think it’s going to surprise anyone that I didn’t like this, but it is just a big no from me. Writing like this, one step of plot and then five steps of “here’s my opinion on society!!!!” never really works for me, and I was telling myself “well at least I’ll have read it and be done with it,” but of course it was a “cliffhanger” ending so THERE IS THAT.

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