An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Dec 2019

Member Reviews

I love this book so much! The sequel is coming very soon and I am so pumped to see what happens next. Hank did a great job of taking a wild and ridiculous concept and fleshing it out into a full warm story. April May is a believable and relatable lady and I hope she is in the next book in some way.
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When April May accidentally stumbles upon the discovery of all human existence, her life gets shoved into the spotlight at an alarming rate. Soon she has millions of follower and many haters while also trying to figure out the mystery that made her. 
This is not a book about aliens, as you may first believe. It's about sudden fame and how it affects you and those you love. How fame, the internet, and the act of not knowing what is going on in your world can tear you down more than it can lift you up. 

I loved the way this book asks "Maybe aliens are real?," which is a question humans have asked for forever, while simultaneously asking how fame (specifically internet fame) can change our lives, which is very current.
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Okay, wow. I have so many thoughts. There will be a bit of spoilers in this review.
First off, I didn't know what I was getting into with this book. Had no idea what the plot was and wasn't really sure if I was going to like it. Well, I ended up loving it.
I'm going to put this in a list because I have a lot of things to touch upon that made me love this story.
1. It was SO INTERESTING to see someone come into fame. I loved how the story wasn't really about the Carls at all, but about humanity and how we behave. It was a very complete analysis of fame and what it means to be human. April herself is a great example of this. She was impulsive, selfish, and reckless - but who isn't sometimes? Yes, she did bad things, but she also did good things. Like any other person on Earth, we can't be reduced to just being "good" or "bad," and that idea was really interesting to explore.
2. Along the same idea, I noticed that in some parts April was kinda forced to have an opinion on certain things. Her views were kind of molded by what society pressured onto her. Which is a valid struggle, especially in the world today. If you don't have an opinion, then you're seen as ignorant and uncaring, even if you just don't have all the information. It's just a small detail that I could connect back to real life.
3. I was surprised that nobody was latching onto Andy like they did with April. He was there for the original video too, so I would have thought he would have been invited to talk and shows, too. Maybe that just reflects real life - the person in front of the camera matters more than the person behind it, even though both were needed.
4. The thing I liked the most about this book is that it was so different from anything else I've read. There was a plot, but a loose one, because I NEVER KNEW WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN - and I LOVED that! This story could have gone so many different ways, and I was kept on the edge of my seat the entire time. It had me flipping pages. While reading, I never really expected to have a clear cut answer/explanation to the Carl conundrum, so the ending wasn't really surprising to me. I now know there's a sequel coming out, so now I can't wait to see what happens next!
5. In general, this book just had a different atmosphere. I was compelled to read more, and it never felt like the mystery was solved. And even though it still kind of isn't, I feel a sort of resolution. It's not the sort of book I usually read, but the human analysis was well done and the sci-fi just enough to keep me reading.
In short, thanks, Hank Green. You probably just wrote one of my favorite books of 2020.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book. 

 This book was really.... weird. Just the synopsis alone sounds like a crazy ride, but unfortunately it was lost in translation. I feel it really lacks in the execution, though I see it trying to humanize things in an alien invasion. However, what really made it go south was the main character, April, she was SO annoying and VERY unlikable. It's really hard to continue to read a (very unnecessarily) long book when the main character just flat out sucks. Overall, the premise cool and surprisingly different for what it was. As far as reading a sequel.... I don't know.
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This was a wild wils ride. The story was a trip. The main character was utterly annoying. Could not ever connect with her. I wonder if anyone could. Loved everything else about April.
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This is one of my new favorite books. I love alien invasion stories, but this one was different than what I'm used to. It's more human than most, and the ending left me eagerly anticipating the sequel. Bravo to Hank Green for writing a YA novel that appeals to adults like me!
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3 stars. 

The main character is a twat. She’s annoying, selfish and so hard to like. I wish she was easier to like. 

This book felt unnecessarily long. I kept thinking “these are some of the longest chapters I’ve ever read.” I would have liked to learn more about certain events (can’t spoil it). 

The characters seemed ok (aside from April). I liked Maya, she was smart and confident but let April just constantly mistreat her. 

I don’t think I’d read a sequel and don’t think I’d read another book by Hank Green if the main character was female. I honestly think he just didn’t know how to write a female character. The premise of the book was cool, but I think the execution was a little off. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
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An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green was captivating. It was incredibly accurate in it's blunt display of internet fame and the toxicity revolved around it. It managed to put into words something we have all witnessed and probably experienced to some degree in this internet age and I trust Hank to be the one telling this story with his large involvement on social media. Aside from this realness, the book was quirky and addicting. April May was a real person, flaws and all, and I found her so relatable as a 24 year old graphic designer myself. Hank put a lot into her, layers and layers, and it paid off so well. Anyone could write a story about an alien invasion and the supernatural, but how will it ever feel believable if the characters do not? Great job Hank! I can't wait for the second one!
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I couldn't read this book because the formatting was so wonky. The first 20% of the book was just odd symbols.
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April May is on her way home from work at 3am when she sees an interesting sculpture that compels her to call her friend Andy to help her make a ridiculous youtube video starring herself and the sculpture she has named Carl. The video goes viral quick and everything in April May's life changes overnight. Come to find out that Carl is actually an alien or some form of alien technology and April has been the one to make first contact. 

I was honestly not expecting to love this novel as much as I did. I can enjoy sci-fi as much as the next person, but I RARELY love it. In my opinion there are some beautiful messages in here that I can only hope are seen by the majority of readers because they are important. First off, that we give people power with social media. The "influencers" of the internet need to take that into consideration, but also we as viewers, readers, listeners, etc. need to think about this when we are paying attention to these people as well. Secondly, humanity should be working together as a whole instead of staying divided because of differences. We are more effective as one and more destructive when divided. This hit me in my feelings big time, because it is just so relatable to how our world is currently. 

Overall, I loved this book. It made me think a lot about some deeper topics without feeling like a heavy political novel. Well done Hank Green!
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4.5 stars - I am not usually interested in anything labeled "sci-fi" yet this book captured me from the very beginning. Sure, it could've been because it featured a graphic designer who found something transformer-like beautiful (which is kind of my life in a nutshell), but it was the fascinating subject-matter that truly hooked me.

At its core, AART is a study of social media influencers / content creators / viral internet sensations and how they utilize their voice. It very clearly highlights the power people feel when they begin seeing their numbers increase on the internet and how it changes them. Our main character let internet fame go to her head and I honestly didn't like her, but I don't think we were meant to. She definitely used her online presence for a positive message but ruined her personal relationships at the same time.

There was also quite a bit of political commentary on today's society within this story as well. Hank Green effortlessly made a statement about the terrorist attacks that occur on a daily basis due to scared people who want to take back power from those who are creating a positive change.

In the end, I loved how so many elements of this story all came together. Hank Green revived the "chosen one" trope in a fresh way that I really appreciated. The only reason this received 4.5 stars was due to such an unsatisfying ending; I seriously NEED the next book in the series immediately!
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Such an interesting book! Going into this story, I wasn't sure what to expect but I'm really glad that I went into it blind because it just added to the reading experience. Briefly, it's about a woman first discovering a "transfomer" type of statue thing that's in public located in NY. Her and her friend decide to record themselves in front of it and talk about it like a news reporter. Needless to say, things get crazy from that point on. This book touches on the YouTuber/Social Media Influencer life and the obsessions in our culture for likes and celebrity.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing has comical moments with Sci-fi/Mystery elements to it. Again, I really enjoyed this and glad I was able to get an e-copy on NetGalley for review.

4/5 stars
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I have two things I need to share before I dive into this review in too much detail.

1) I really hated April May.
2) I loved everything else about this book.

It's hard to like an unreliable narrator, and ultimately, that is what April is in the entirety of the book.  We're stuck experiencing this Epic Thing with her from the start and as the story unfolds... and fame impacts April... she makes some decisions that make her really unlikable.  Even when she's trying to explain it's a "character flaw" of hers to behave in certain ways and she has had these issues since she was young -- it doesn't make you go, "Oh, it's her personality!"  Well, if it's her personality, she's still a really shitty person.

THAT being said...

This book was absolutely captivating to read.  I hope that it's taught in High school -- and, knowing Hank Green -- that may be the intent of this entire book.  I don't know if that's true, as I've kept away from reading other reviews or news articles relating to this book as I was in the thick of reading it.  There are some major themes here and life lessons wrapped into a sci-fi mystery thriller.  It is easily engaging for a YA book.

The pace of the book got me page-flipping at some points as I knew the build-up was there for something EPIC to happen a few pages ahead... and if I had any hopes for changes to be added to a possible sequel (I'm sure there has to be one!) it would be for the author to be able to clean-up some of the back story parts.  I certainly didn't need a number of pages on a pet detective foray in April's youth.

The mystery of the Carls is enticing and held me all the way until the end of the book.  I wanted to know more about them than anything else in the whole story.  I hope we get more information on the Carls in coming books!  We have to... don't we?!

I rate this book a 3 out of 5 stars.  The 3 is all for the story itself, the themes it presents, and the discussions it can have held around it.  I couldn't get behind April at all.  But then again, I think that is a point of the book as well.
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I think you should read this book. I think you should pick it up and read it even if you aren’t a science fiction reader, because it’s a great alternative to the typical use of the genre and because it’s straight up fascinating to read about it through the lens of how the internet affects and shapes and rules our lives these days. That’s my favorite word descriptor of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing: fascinating. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and everything it offered and I am very absolutely waiting for a sequel!
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I am torn about this book. I'm so not used to sci-fi, and while I really liked the voice and the flawed characters, I was just out of my comfort zone and unsure. I ended on four stars because I enjoyed my time with it, for the most part, and it was certainly unique.
I listened to this entire thing on audio book, and I think that was a good choice for me. This book is sort of told like the main character is writing a conversational book and that's the book you are reading, like the reader lives in this world that the story is set in, don't. Kind of hard to explain, but while I've seen other people have problems with it, it didn't bother me, and I thought it was a cool tactic. 
The plot of this weird, which I think works both for and against it. I never felt more confused than I thought I should, which was sort of a concern of mine going in. I did not know going in that this would be a series, and I'm not sure how I feel about that either. I'm not dying to get my hands on the next book, but at the same time, I'll probably read it. The relationships in this book were also not as strong as I wanted them to be. There were a lot of interwoven relationships with her roommate and the partner/friend and the scientist and her assistant and her publicist, and I'm not sure any of those got quite the depth they deserved.
My favorite part of this book were the tangents and discussions and rants. I really enjoyed the discussion of fame, especially internet fame, and the role of identity in fame. I just think Hank Green has a lot of good ideas and great insight into culturally relevant topics.
Overall, not sure how I feel, but I think I enjoyed it, so I would maybe recommend.
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I was looking forward to reading An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green, but in the end, it failed to keep my interest. This book ended up not fitting with me personally, although it does seem like the kind of novel many people will greatly enjoy.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I really enjoyed that it was a commentary on fame and social media masking as a sci-fi novel. Where a girl is the first person to discover a mysterious large metal ‘robot’ she calls Carl her live changes in ways she could never imagine. The characters seemed very real and relatable! The plot kept me engaged throughout and I am over the moon that this is only the first book!
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This was such a cool story! It reminded me in some ways of Sylvain Neuvel's Themis Files (but in a wholly different way, if that makes any sense at all). 

The appearance of something unexpected with the attendant worldwide consequences that accompany Things We Don't Understand lends itself to everything from slapstick antics to thoughtful consideration of what it means to be human in the modern world, and in the hands of a talented writer (which Green clearly is) that blend makes for a marvelous ride. I also REALLY enjoyed the exegesis on fame, social media, and the fleeting nature of public opinion in this day and age. Add in excellent writing and spot-on pacing, a clever heroine (who is, in the nature of the best heroines, often too clever for her own good or the good of those around her), a fantastic (literally and figuratively) idea, and the result is a book that pulled me in from the opening salvo and never let go. 

There's a subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) biting wry wit at work here. It simultaneously makes a mockery of our obsession with social media "fame" and pays a reluctant homage to the bizarre power of masses of people to shape the way the world works (for good and most definitely for ill). I found it thoughtful and thought-provoking and infuriating and inspiring - an amalgamation that doesn't come along in one entertaining package all that often.

I must confess, John Green isn't much to my taste. I find him a little too angst-y and existential-why-of-youth  focused. I'm not his prime audience, so that's not a criticism so much as a comment. Hank Green is ENTIRELY to my taste though, and I'll be seeking him out in his myriad fora from now on!
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An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green was something. . . I spent much of the book deciding if I really liked the book. The story revolves around the arrival of Carl statues around the globe - Imagine a bunch of Optimus Prime replicas, and that's what goes down. They show up unexplained one evening at a variety of locations, and April May and a friend film their interaction with one. Overnight (literally), April becomes an internet sensation as buzz about the Carls goes viral. Throughout the story, April navigates her newfound fame and perceived expertise, as everyone tries to figure out who the Carls are, what they mean, etc. I liked the pieces of the book that focused on how April tried to navigate being thrust into the spotlight and all that came with that experience. It was some intriguing commentary on how social media can accelerate a story and the role it plays in news and real life happenings today. Overall though, this wasn't one that totally captivated me. I kept reading because I wanted to know what was happening with the Carls. However, I wanted more character development and depth. I was more driven to know what was happening because of the mystery, and I wanted it to be because I was drawn into what was happening to the characters. This was an interesting enough read that kept me turning the pages, but wasn't fully and totally my jam. Thanks to NetGalley for letting me have a look at this one that's now available in paperback.
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I was missing the character F, but after a while I didn’t really notice because this crazy story had me wanting to read more. It might have been the weird formatting, but it took me until pretty much the of the book to realise that this might be a book of a book. Anyways, I really enjoyed the story; she was a little whiny, but this was fun and quirky and different.
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