There are no spoilers in this review.
I don’t know how to start this review, except with: welcome to my favorites’ shelf? I had been anticipating Hank Green’s debut for so long and no, not because he is one of my favorite authors’ brother, but because I admire him deeply. I’ve been loving everything he does and projects he carries on and was eagerly anticipating his debut, curious to see whether or not he’d deliver with this intriguing premise he had for An Absolutely Remarkable Thing and, spoiler alert, he really did.
A CONTEMPORARY WITH A TWIST
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing takes place in a contemporary world just like ours, in a New York City we are familiar with, whether it’s for living there, having visited, or seen the city in movies and countless TV shows. Yet, this book delivers an interesting mix of contemporary and… science-fiction, almost, dabbling in impossible things, strange, massive sculptures appearing out of nowhere and with no explanations at all. Right from the start, it’s this mix of familiarity, yet strangeness, that drew me in and captivated me, too. Dreams, science, new technologies, strange events: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing delivers a very Hank Green mix and I absolutely loved that.
REALISTIC, INTERESTING CHARACTERS
At the heart of the story, we have April, our main character, a 23 years-old working at a small start-up. Starting her life, a bit lost in her twenties. Hello, familiarity. I just need to say how refreshing and good it was to have a main character in her twenties (mostly because I tend to read YA books with characters being younger than me) and April was such an interesting one. She was not likeable at all times, that’s for certain and she does some questionable things in the book, too. Yet, I could relate, I could understand, I could see how deeply human she was depicted, in front of the strange events happening, the fame falling on her all of a sudden and everything else, too. How it changed her, her relationships to others, her views on herself and on the world, too. Exploring this with April was so very interesting and, if she was certainly a little bit of a tool to convey messages about fame, well I was all for that.
The book also gives us an interesting cast of surrounding characters, as well. From her friends, video and pod-casts makers, to her girlfriend Maya (April is bisexual), to April’s parents – I appreciated how they all surrounded, influenced her and how each of them had their own thoughts and agenda, too. And yes, I said parents, because April communicates with them too and it was refreshing and nice to see how these two milk-producers were adorably there and awkwardly too close and unable to Skype properly. My heart.
IDENTITY, INTERNET, SOCIAL MEDIA & FAME
In his brilliant debut, Hank Green writes with an entertaining, fast-paced prose. It’s not flowery in any way, but I found myself hooked right from the start. He uses his words and his characters to convey important messages, too. He talks about identity, about losing yourself, about being who you really are, or the brand you’re creating and how lines sometimes blur between these two, a message that particularly strikes me as an online content creator. I mean, book blogger, there’s a bit of that.
And that ending had me gasping and staring into empty air for, like, a too long time for it not to be awkward.
I wish I could write more, or less, or something worthy of this new favorite, but I can’t. I really think it’s a book to try, because Hank Green certainly has potential as a writer, a story teller and once again delivers great messages about internet, social media, fame and humanity all bundled up in a super entertaining story I couldn’t stop reading. Please read it? I need to talk about it.
Final rating: yeah, I loved it so a hurricane.
Trigger warnings: one quick scene of graphic violence – clearly marked in the book at the head of the chapter.
Hank Green, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, Published by Dutton, September 25th, 2018.
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.
Did you read An Absolutely Remarkable Thing? Do you want to?
Do you have any great recommendations for me of books with main characters in their twenties? I’d love to read more of these! Let me know your thoughts in comments, I always love to hear from you!