Full of Entertaining Sarcasm, but Not My Cup of Tea | Review: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

6:00 AM

I love Hank Green. Sadly, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing wasn't the book for me and I'm pretty bummed about it. (Also, yes, I'm LATE, as always.)

by Hank Green
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 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 by Hank Green
Rating: ★★☆☆

“Behold the field in which I grow my fucks. Lay thine eyes upon it and see that it is barren.”

Admittedly, I picked this book up because, well, reasons. They were good reasons, I promise. No, I really did have reasons! Namely... Hank Green. And honestly I went into it with little recollection of its synopsis because apparently my memory only extends so far and it took me a while to actually get around to reading An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. (And, yes, in turn, it took me ages to get to reviewing it as well.)

The first thing you should know is that I love Hank Green. The second thing you should know is that the sarcasm is on point in An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. The third, and final, thing you should know is that this book ultimately wasn't my cup of tea. While reading An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, I had many conflicting thoughts. I liked Green's writing (the similarities and differences he shares with his brother John Green's prose are apparent from the start) but the story never quite clicked for me.

Honestly, I think I spent most of my time reading An Absolutely Remarkable Thing waiting to feel something. Towards the characters. Towards the plotline. Towards literally anything. But there was never a shift or a spark for me for one reason or another. Reading it didn't feel like a chore, necessarily, but it wasn't something I felt intrigued by. Hank Green's prose is still a breeze in terms of pacing, but other than that... there wasn't a lot to this novel that I found myself in awe of.

In short? If you like Hank Green, there's a half-and-half chance that you'll enjoy this novel. For me, it all boiled down to a personal preference. While this book isn't inherently bad, I can't say that I was blown away or engaged. I was just kind of there. And not, all at once.

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