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An absolutely remarkable thing : a novel
2018
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Characters
April May (Female), Discovers a giant sculpture; uploads of the sculpture go viral; in the center of an intense international spotlight; life changes after
Genre
Fiction
Coming of age
Science fiction
Fantasy
Topics
Celebrities
Fame
Viral video
Social media
Life changes
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

DEBUT This widely anticipated debut from vlogger Green (Vlogbrothers), the brother of best-selling YA author John Green, lands in our midst much as one of its central characters, the Carls, do. Coming home from work late one evening, April May nearly crashes into a massive robot (is it street art? a statue?) in New York City. Chastising herself for nearly walking away without taking time to appreciate the wonder of artistic expression, she returns, calls her friend Andy, and together they film a video of the object, which they name Carl. The next day the video has gone viral and there are Carls in cities around the world. April is rocketed into social media stardom and has to decide what to do with her newfound fame. Caught between people trying to manage her and those who know her best, April tries to find her way through to fight for the Carls and for humanity. Is it so terrible if she makes some money along the way? VERDICT Led by an earnestly flawed, bisexual heroine with direction and commitment issues, coupled with an abundant generosity of spirit, this read is timely and sorely needed. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 4/9/18.]-Julie Kane, Washington & Lee Lib., Lexington, VA © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

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.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
THE INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER <br> <br> Entertainment Weekly 's 20 New Books to Read in September<br> Nylon 's 12 Great New Books To Read This September<br> Newsweek 's Best Books to Read in September 2018<br> Library Journal 's Best Debut Novels of 2018<br> BookPage 's Most Anticipated Fall 2018 Fiction<br> <br> 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.<br> <br> The Carls just appeared.<br> <br> 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 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.<br> <br> 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.<br> <br> 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.
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