The Carls just appeared. Coming home from work 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–everywhere from Beijing to Buenos Aires–and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense 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.
Hooray for my first book review on this new site! I received my copy of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing through my Book of the Month subscription. (If you’re not a member of Book of the Month and you’re a bibliophile like me, go check it out: bookofthemonth.com) I actually got this book in October, but I fell behind in my reading with everything that I was doing for school and, of course, grading. I finally got around to reading this book while I’ve been on break (and procrastinating on writing my final exam – sorry kids!).
To be very honest, this book started off a little slow for me. I had trouble staying engaged in the story as April, our protagonist, set up the arrival of the Carls and gave us the background of her life. I’m not sure if I struggled with the story in the beginning because it actually is slow in giving the reader all of the information, or if it’s because I am at a different place in my life than April and I couldn’t relate to her. Whatever the reason might be, I did stick with the book and I am so glad that I did, and I finally began relating to April in the process.
I really enjoyed seeing the changes that happened with April, both good and bad. I was intrigued in mystery of the Carls. Which is saying a lot because normally Sci-Fi really isn’t my type of genre. The normalcy of April’s life made it easier to believe in the story of the Carls, no matter how bizarre it seemed. The mystery of where they came from, trying to figure out what they wanted, and trying to understand how April was such an integral part of the plan that the Carls had. The way Green created the story made it believable; he made it feel like the Carls appearing was a completely normal event, even though it seemed strange at first. He created a world that was so much like our every day that it was easy to imagine something like this happening in our own lives. Green also showed how easy it is to get carried away with instant fame. We see so many situations where people become Internet sensations, that April’s obsession with followers and getting likes was nothing new in our society. All of this came together to create a fun mystery that still wasn’t answered by the end.
The ending of this book was phenomenal. I won’t give too much away – well, actually I won’t tell you anything about it – because, as it turns out, this is the first in a series. It was because of the change of pace and the intrigue of the mystery that I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads instead of the 3 stars I was leaning towards at the beginning. The way that the novel ends is a perfect set-up for the next book and I can’t wait until the second one comes out. Please hurry publishers of Hank Green!