Book Review: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (Hank Green)

Review of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

Find An Absolutely Remarkable Thing on Goodreads.

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*Spoiler free*

Summary of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

Picture this. You’re 23 years old, in a job you’re not particularly happy about, living in New York City trying to work out what you want from life and where you fit in. You’re walking home from a long work day, in basically the middle of the night, when you happen upon a giant statue of what seems to be an armour-clad stone robot.

Well, this is exactly what happens for April, who then decides to call her best friend (and cameraman) Andy so they can make a quick video about the discovered sculpture and upload it online.

When she wakes up the next day, April discovers the video has gone viral, amidst hundreds of identical statues appearing all around the world at the exact same time. Automatically becoming the spokesperson for the international situation, April has to battle new-found fame (and all the problems and dangers that come with it) while trying to unravel the mystery of why the statues are here, and what exactly they want from us.

Main Characters

  • April is our heroine and narrator throughout the novel. She’s your typical early-twenty something, fresh out of art college and not sure what she’s doing with her life. I found her rather likeable, though there were times when she could be a little too obtuse for me – her attitude towards her relationship with her girlfriend baffled me somewhat, and she became quite mean to her best friend Andy at one point (though you could argue that was a side effect of dealing with fame and the mystery, and who knows how anyone would react in that kind of situation). Overall though, her character arc was quite satisfying from beginning to end, her personality was strong and relatable, and her flaws made her interesting to be around.

Things I Liked

The mystery, to begin with. The Carls were so intriguing, and every time you thought you learned something, something else completely bizarre would happen to throw you all over again! Throughout the whole novel I wanted to know what the Carls were and why they’d appeared, and what was going to happen (to both them and humanity)!

I also liked the journey April and her friends went on through their new-found fame. It’s not an everyday kind of occurrence, and watching them navigate their new life and circumstances was both genuinely interesting and entertaining.

Unusually, I also really enjoyed the relationships between all the characters. Though April was our star, there were several other main characters, all with their key parts to play; how they all interacted – with April, each other, and through their own place in the mystery – was highly engaging.

Final Thoughts

When I first heard about An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, I found the summary intriguing. I thought it sounded interesting and unique-enough to be a good ride, but then it surpassed my expectations! The mystery was even better than I’d hoped, and the characters were above average (I feel that’s a high compliment in novels these days)!

I’ll admit, as a huge fan of John Green, I wasn’t sure if Hank was going to meet the same level (or whether he’d just managed to nab a ride on his bother’s success… [sorry, Hank!]). However, the story was excellently told, and the novel very well written. I was both surprised and pleased! 

Recommended for

Fans of John Green, Ready Player One (Ernest Cline), and The Rest of Us Just Live Here (Patrick Ness).

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