Roaming through New York City at three AM, 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.
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is one of those gems that gets better and better as you keep reading. I’ve been procrastinating reading this book because of my love for Hank Green and Nerdfighteria, and I was so worried it wasn’t going to be as good as I wanted it to be. No worries, though; it’s better than I thought possible.
I like that the story is told from April’s POV from the future with her commentary throughout. Not only does it build a sense of something big coming, but it also gives real-time feedback when she realises that she does something dumb or insensitive, rather than having to wait for character growth or an epiphany in the future. This does lead to the only drawback I had, though: probably the most unrealistic aspect of this book, which, I realise, is saying a lot considering the subject matter, is the level of honesty and self-reflection. I don’t know that anyone would be that aware of their motivations, even looking back at them. So while her real-time commentary is exciting and unique, it also seems too honest to be, well, totally honest.
I liked all the characters in this book and that not all my questions were answered in the end. The best part about procrastinating reading this is that I know I now get to go straight to the sequel! I’ve watched Hank and John on YouTube for years and I’ve learned so much from them. I love that Hank took his own experience with fame and his super nerdy geek side and combined them into this incredible book.