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
“An Absolutely Remarkable Thing” is the story of April May as she recalls the events that turned her life upside-down for the better and worse. After finding a robot statue late at night on the streets of New York City, April finds herself suddenly famous as the video she and her friend Andy made goes viral. As she uncovers the mystery of this robot, which she named Carl, April May finds herself having to deal with what it means to be true to yourself while in the face of the public.
Hank’s book is more than a modern sci-fi story. It is an inspection on humanity and how we as humans are absolutely remarkable and flawed at the same time. It is a story about what it means to be human. Humans are flawed beings, we are driven by greed, anger, despair, lust, kindness, love and hope. Our actions and our motives are derived from all these things, and usually more than one at a time.
April May is humanity — realistically flawed. However, the best thing about April is her acknowledgment to her own personal flaws. As she recalls her experience to us she reminds us that her actions at any given time were incorrect. She acknowledges them and does not give an excuse to justify them.
The most remarkable part of the novel is how it is presented. The prose is not flowery or super detailed. There were moments I would forget it was prose because I felt as if April May was talking to me through a video camera on Youtube. It’s almost as if a well made Youtube video was transcribed and put into a bounded copy. Which makes sense if we take into account the author. Hank Green is a well-known youtube content creator. He created youtube’s annual conference — VidCon, and stars in multiple Youtube channels.
As a nerd fighter and an avid watcher of the Vlogbrothers, I was really excited when Hank announced he was writing a book. (Hank is my favorite Green brother and he is my role model. Part of my life goal is to be a good human being and help decrease world suck like him). And in my personal opinion, Hank’s debut novel is superior to John Green’s multiple novels. (Even though Turtles All The Way Down was a fantastic book, John’s best one).
Hank’s novel is like the Hulk roller coaster in Universal Studios Orlando, the excitement isn’t built up, you are immediately launched into the action without a seconds notice.
Even though this is marked as a sci-fi book, I know readers who do not usually read sci-fi will enjoy it. After all, it’s a story about humanity, not aliens and we all need to be aware that humanity is flawed but also an absolutely remarkable thing.
Thank you Dutton for providing me a finished copy to review.
My rating: 6/5
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
By Hank Green
Published by Dutton
Published September 25th 2018