An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

Hank Green. Dutton, $26 (352p) ISBN 978-1-5247-4344-4
The younger Vlogbrother (John Green is the other) draws on his passion for science and his experience as a “Tier 3” celebrity (“You’ll probably trend on Twitter if you die”) for a comic debut that combines science fiction and mystery with philosophical musings about the perils of internet fame. His main character, the unfortunately named April May, is a recent art-school grad who happens upon a 10-foot-tall robotic sculpture in the darkened streets of Lower Manhattan. Entranced, she summons Andy, a classmate with a video camera, and the two introduce the figure they dub Carl to the world via YouTube. April May becomes a celebrity but soon discovers that dozens of Carls have appeared in cities across the globe. As she and her friends search for an explanation, she struggles with her newfound addiction to fame and the damage it causes to her most important relationships. April May’s narration, which doesn’t fully work, is both self-effacing and contradictory: she bemoans how much she enjoys fame while cynically crafting a message stressing community, which she determines will best resonate with her fans, thus growing her fame. Though the ending is disappointing (it appears to be setting up a sequel), fans of Green’s YouTube channel will find his humor and perceptiveness intact in this novel. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/09/2018
Release date: 09/25/2018
Ebook - 978-1-5247-4345-1
Compact Disc - 978-0-525-64178-0
Library Binding - 500 pages - 978-1-64358-081-4
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio

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