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An Absolutely Remarkable Thing Review: Back-of-Book Description
THE INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“Sparkling with mystery, humor and the uncanny, this is a fun read. But beneath its effervescent tone, more complex themes are at play.” —San Francisco Chronicle
In his wildly entertaining debut novel, Hank Green—cocreator of Crash Course, Vlogbrothers, and SciShow—spins a sweeping, cinematic tale about a young woman who becomes an overnight celebrity before realizing she’s part of something bigger, and stranger, than anyone could have possibly imagined.
The Carls just appeared.
Roaming through New York City at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship—like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor—April and her best friend, Andy, make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day, April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world—from Beijing to Buenos Aires—and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight.
Seizing the opportunity to make her mark on the world, April now has to deal with the consequences her new particular brand of fame has on her relationships, her safety, and her own identity. And all eyes are on April to figure out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.
Compulsively entertaining and powerfully relevant, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing grapples with big themes, including how the social internet is changing fame, rhetoric, and radicalization; how our culture deals with fear and uncertainty; and how vilification and adoration spring for the same dehumanization that follows a life in the public eye. The beginning of an exciting fiction career, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is a bold and insightful novel of now.
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing Review: My Thoughts
I have a reading app that sets reading goals for the year, one being “debut darling” which requires you to read at least three debuts a year. I wanted to fulfill this goal, so I searched for a debut among my options and this book was one of them.
It is not new – An Absolutely Remarkable Thing came out in 2018 – so I’m sure some of you have already heard of it and read it. If so – please tell me what you thought of it in the comments!
However, I had never heard of it at all. I have heard of the author, though! Hank Green is popular on TikTok and I’ve seen some of his videos. And his brother John Green is a well-known author of books such as The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns. It’s kind of cool that both brothers are so talented. Well, I assume John is – I have never actually read any of his books.
But I know Hank is talented because you guys – this book was SO GOOD! I was immediately sucked in and couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen. It was quirky and some of the plot points felt kind of silly, but the larger meaning behind it all felt so incredibly important and relevant to today’s issues and the divided nature of American news and culture.
Now don’t get turned off there – this is not an overtly political book. But the undertones of the world they live in are like a parallel to American politics. I’m not even sure I’d go so far as to call it a political satire – I mean they are pretty subtle.
And the sci-fi isn’t overt either. The main theme is one person discovering themselves and what’s important to them in a very public, shocking way I guess. Alongside that are topics of friendship, fame, and conflict.
Now that I think about it – this would be a great book club pick – I imagine people discussing which side of the issue they felt more drawn to. Or how they would naturally react to the presence of the Carls.
The characters were well written and felt complete in their struggles and conflicts. their expression of emotion felt real as well. Honestly, everything about the writing was great! Witty, smart, suspenseful, all the things I was looking for I suppose, without realizing it.
Favorite Quotes from An Absolutely Remarkable Thing:
“‘This is not fair’ I replied…’I keep wondering when you will notice that that’s how everything is.”
“You can only do so much pretending before you become the thing you’re pretending to be.”
“Knowing something is a bad idea, does not always decrease the odds that you will do it.”
“Just because you can’t imagine something doesn’t mean you can’t do it.”
“It’s so much harder to actually define yourself and work to imagine the best possible future than it is to tear down others’ ideas.”
“She came to see herself not as a person but as a tool. And if that tool wasn’t being used, sharpened, refined, or strengthened at every opportunity, then she was letting the world down.”
“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.”
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing Review: In Conclusion
5 stars! An Absolutely Remarkable Thing was… well, absolutely remarkable! I can’t believe it was a debut – it was so well thought out and well written. And incredibly relevant to today’s news and issues. Although it was written back in 2018, there were a lot of themes that resonate today. And as I wrote this I found out that there is a sequel!! Oh my word, I can’t tell you how excited that makes me!
I would recommend this to just about everyone. It would be suitable for adolescents, but also very meaningful to adults. Readers who enjoy a touch of sci-fi and suspense will find it terrific. It would make a great gift!
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