Melissa Rochelle's Reviews > An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
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really liked it
bookshelves: read-2018, arc, scifi-fantasy, robots

I hate that people are calling this "young adult". It's not. Stop it with the inane labels that turn people off instead of bringing them in.

The main character isn't even in high school OR college for that matter!

This is a book for people that like to read quirky, pop-culture-filled, sci-fi-ish books -- those people might be 15 years old (and their parents don't mind them reading the occasional profanity). Maybe it's a late 20s human that also enjoys reading the novels of Ernest Cline, Robin Sloan,Mira Grant, and/or Peter Clines. OR maybe they're a thirty-something mom that likes to read fast-moving books about random robot-alien encounters. Or maybe they're a forty-something that picked this one up because they also liked John Green and they thought this was his new book but realized after the fact that it said Hank -- and they won't be disappointed.

I'm certain I have more to say, but I needed to get that out there.

Thanks to the publisher for the advance reading copy.

Months later and I do have more to say -- this is taken from a presentation I did recommending this book (and more) to library patrons.

Hank Green is the brother of wildly successful author John Green – he wrote The Fault in Our Stars – together Hank and John are incredibly successful YouTube personalities. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is Hank Green’s debut novel. Being the brother of John Green automatically sets him up for a lot of assumptions – people may assume that THIS novel is “Young Adult” – a somewhat ambiguous genre label given to books with “youthful” main characters. It is not. People may assume that Hank is not as talented as his brother. He is. People may assume that April May, our leading lady, knew what she was getting into the night she called her friend Andy to come film this giant Transformer looking samurai armor sculpture. She didn’t. In fact, she inadvertently becomes the Carls spokesperson.

As we follow April’s upward trajectory in the realm of Talking Heads on 24 hour news channels, we also join her as she attempts to uncover the reason for the Carls sudden appearance and, more importantly, what they want from us.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this book. It is very much a book set in TODAY. Viral videos, instant celebrities, 24-hour “news” (one of my favorite passages discusses this - “here’s a hint: it’s not really “news” until the ads stop)– we see it everyday, some of the viral sensations still live in my head – Rebecca Black’s “Friday”, anyone? Not only does he tackle the positive side of instant celebrity – money, personal assistants, free stuff) he shows the ugly side too – the dehumanization that can happen when you're in the public eye; The many ways we see “the other side” as villainous.

Hank Green has actually lived it and he brings his unique perspective to his characters.

If you enjoy the writings of Robin Sloan, Ernest Cline, or Mira Grant, pick this one up today!
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Reading Progress

August 5, 2018 – Started Reading
August 6, 2018 – Finished Reading
August 7, 2018 – Shelved
August 7, 2018 – Shelved as: read-2018
August 7, 2018 – Shelved as: arc
August 7, 2018 – Shelved as: scifi-fantasy
August 7, 2018 – Shelved as: robots

Comments Showing 1-15 of 15 (15 new)

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message 1: by Angie (new) - added it

Angie Boyter Where did you get the ARC? My usual sources do not have it.

Melissa Rochelle Hi Angie! The ARC magically arrived in the mail. I receive a lot of unsolicited advanced copies because I’m a librarian in real life and I’m on a lot of lists!

message 3: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Kania As a librarian myself.... how do you get on these lists

Melissa Rochelle Do you follow Library Reads or participate in EarlyWord galley chats in Twitter? That’s how I started. And Edelweiss, lots of digital copies!

message 5: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Kania Melissa Rochelle wrote: "Do you follow Library Reads or participate in EarlyWord galley chats in Twitter? That’s how I started. And Edelweiss, lots of digital copies!"

I'm on Edelweiss and Netgalley. I don't think I follow Library Reads though and definitely didn't know about EarlyWord! Thanks!

Melissa Rochelle Kathryn wrote: "Melissa Rochelle wrote: "Do you follow Library Reads or participate in EarlyWord galley chats in Twitter? That’s how I started. And Edelweiss, lots of digital copies!"

I'm on Edelweiss and Netgall..."

When I worked in public libraries, EarlyWord was my go-to for staying up to date on those lesser known titles and the books-to-movies list Nora used to do was amazing!

message 7: by Rosa (new) - added it

Rosa Thank you. I was really unsure if I should try this because it sounded interesting but I don't like YA (I have an almost-young adult at home, I really don't need more of that in my books) but now I'll give it a chance!

ClaireEva Yes! Love this

message 9: by Robert (new)

Robert I'm it ok for me too? ;-) I was kind of wondering why this book has been tagged "Young Adult" and "Adult".

Cathy Well, I'm 61 & enjoyed the positive messages throughout the book, so you are correct. This is not just for YA.

Brian Bakker The story isn't centered around a YA character, so by that definition (and I know that's the original meaning of the genre), it isn't a YA book. As far as target audience, this 100% reads like a YA novel...the writing feels aimed at teens. I'm 28 and I enjoyed it though.

message 12: by Joe (new) - rated it 2 stars

Joe Santoro The book is tagged as Young Adult because that is the market of people who are going to enjoy it. That doesn't mean other people can't, but it's clear from the story (the main character is, in fact, a Young Adult, and has all the character traits that are popular with Young Adults these days). They story is ABSOLUTELY centered around this character.. it's a first person narrative that ignores everything that doesn't directly involve her. If this was a sci-fi first contact story, April would have been a minor character.

Melissa Rochelle Young Adult as a “genre” does not mean the same thing as a book about a young adult.

message 14: by Joe (new) - rated it 2 stars

Joe Santoro That's true, but this particular book shares all the traits that go with the genre, IMO. As always, any classifying of books is quite subject to interpretation. Being a Young Adult book isn't a bad thing, it just is a particular set of characteristics, but, more importantly, its where the publisher wants it to be in a bookstore to maimize sales.

message 15: by Elin (new) - rated it 4 stars

Elin Yeah, this is 100% a young adult book, sorry. Doesn't mean others can't enjoy it, but really, the amount of focus on YA issues and the YA voice (including the requisite juvenile sarcasm) is extremely strong in this novel. If it were an adult sci-fi book I would have enjoyed it considerably more. It's YA for sure.

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