Thursday 27 September 2018

Review: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

I was kindly given an advanced copy of the audiobook of this novel by Penguin Random House in exchange for a free review. 

The Carls just appeared . . .
While roaming the streets of New York City at 3 a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture she calls Carl. Delighted by its appearance - like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armour - 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.
There are Carls in dozens of cities around the world - everywhere from Beijing to Buenos Aires - and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the centre of an international media spotlight.
Now April has to deal with the pressure on her relationships, her identity and her safety that this new position brings, all while being on the front lines of the quest to find out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us . . .
Compulsively entertaining and powerfully relevant, An Absolutely Remarkable Thinggrapples with how the social internet is changing fame and radicalisation; how our culture deals with fear and uncertainty; and how vilification and adoration can follow a life in the public eye.

Review: Ok so you might be thinking that a book about robots or mystery transformer-like structures isn't really my thing, but the Carls (robots) are rally just a catalyst for everything else that happens in this novel. This novel deals with loneliness and fame and the Internet, more specifically social media. It speaks directly to you as a reader and it is mainly set in New York city, what's not to love?

April May is a great character to lead this book, she is the story teller through most of the book except for a couple of bonus sections at the beginning and end of the novel and she is just like you and me. I love the fact that she is proud of having got a job that will pay her rent just coming out of college, that really is a big achievement and also the fact that she won't be coerced into anything she isn't ready for. I think she is stronger than she realises and I loved that. She is also bisexual and proud of it and so she makes for a great main character. 

I really didn't find the idea of the Carls hard to believe. They appeared and nobody quire knew what to do with them. I like the April has gut feelings about them and government officials, scientists and of course the media all want to give their two pennys-worth on what they are and why they came, also how they're going to destroy society of course! So even if you don't think you'll be into a book featuring what might be robots, give it a chance!

One of the things I loved most about this book is the use of social media. So many of the contemporary books I read shy away so much from social media because of the fact that editors think it dates the book and obviously we want books to go on selling for years and years to come BUT I think it is much more real and much more fitting of this genre to include social media in books. I love reading about how April blows up on Twitter and the camera and memory card they're using to film their YouTube videos because I am in that world every day, social media is a massive part of my life and so I can see that reflected in this book, and done very true to life and very well! So to me, the use of technology and social media running throughout this book was really one of my favourite things about it!

My takeaway from this book is definitely the message that when things are falling apart, its best if we stick together, we achieve more when we do things together. This book features a female president as well (yey) and has the message 'better together' you can read into that what you will. I really enjoyed this, I like that is is very current and very social media savvy and the ending left me fulfilled but wanting more, I just really enjoyed it and hope that there will be a follow up set in this same world!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

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