All Reviews, contemporary, young adult

Book Review: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (The Carls, #1)An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑ 5 stars

“I was really, deeply, honestly, and truly infatuated with having people pay attention to me.”

I feel like at the start of every book I’m reading, I get the gist on whether I’m going to like it or dislike it. At the start of this book, I expected to like it, the writing was engaging and the main character was a magnetically diverse heroine, but I did not expect to love it as much as I did.

Hank Green’s writing had the familiar insightfulness of his brother’s, John Green, but whereas John Green’s excellence lies at sculpting an epic love story, Hank Green creates an awe-inspiring anti-love story – not a story of hate, exactly, but a story of humanity at it’s best, and ultimately at it’s worst.

Hank Green dissimilate’s the “person behind the keyboard”, for his main character. Everybody’s social media persona is a compound of each individual’s most favourable attributes; nobody wants to follow the person who cries themselves to sleep at night, who doesn’t make enough money to afford a camera that isn’t blurry, or who doesn’t have enough hours in the day to keep their house religiously clean. We, yes we, all prefer to follow people who live materialistic, happy, powerful lives.

Nobody cares what you have to say anymore unless you have enough followers to hear it.

Hank Green creates that very person everybody follows on social media, that person who has seemingly omnipotent influence, puts all those components into a relatively attractive character with enviable self confidence and frustrating impulsiveness, and subjects her – and the reader – to what it’s really like to have an expansive audience. There are all the best bits of having strangers love your more favourable characteristics; the flattery, the subjective adoration, the widespread attention and awareness to what you have to say. And there are the bad bits. The harsh judgements, the condescending comments, and mainly the observation from the thoroughly pedantic; the ones who jump on each spelling mistake in a tweet, each imperfect picture. Hank Green shows us the person on the receiving end of that kind of international fame.
And reminds us that that person is only human.

In this digital age, this is a particularly relevant theme to have in a novel, and I found that Hank Green writes this theme into his story in an incredibly authentic way, implementing a main character with some dislikable qualities, who has been previously oblivious to controversy except for when attacked and questioned about her sexuality, that I’m finding it quite difficult to file away this character into the ‘fictional’ drawer of my brain. April May feels so real and alive. And if there is anybody who I wouldn’t doubt could bring a story so blatantly made up to life, it would be one of the Green brothers. Their pool of talent is bottomless and abundantly unfair to the rest of us who would love to have a sip of their skill.

This is such an enigmatic, engaging, slightly whacky read. I would recommend to all fictional readers around the globe to pick up this book, not research it or the plot beforehand, and dive in with an open mind and a humane heart.

“If you get anything out of this, ideally it won’t be you being more or less on one side or the other, but simply understanding that I am (or at least was) human.”

And want to know something that makes my smile spread and my heart beat happily? THERE’S GOING TO BE A SEQUEL!

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