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An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

A Novel
Written by: Hank Green
Narrated by: Kristen Sieh, Hank Green
Length: 9 hrs and 25 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (141 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The instant number-one New York Times best seller

In his much-anticipated debut novel, Hank Green - co-creator of Crash Course, Vlogbrothers, and SciShow - spins a sweeping, cinematic tale about a young woman who becomes an overnight celebrity before realizing she's part of something bigger, and stranger, than anyone could have possibly imagined.

The Carls just appeared. Coming home from work at three a.m., 23-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship - like a 10-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.

Compulsively entertaining and powerfully relevant, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing grapples with big themes, including how the social Internet is changing fame, rhetoric, and radicalization; how our culture deals with fear and uncertainty; and how vilification and adoration spring from the same dehumanization that follows a life in the public eye.  

The beginning of an exciting fiction career, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is a bold and insightful novel of now.

©2018 Hank Green (P)2018 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is a thrilling journey that takes a hard look at the power of fame and our willingness to separate a person from the brand. Green manages to blend humor, mystery, and science-fiction in his fast-paced debut novel.” (Associated Press)

“A deceptively romp-y novel about mysterious samurai alien robot statues appearing all at once, everywhere that has hidden and absolutely remarkable depths.... Green's understanding of the power and limits of social media is incomparable; what Douglas Coupland did for the elation and misery of the tech-bubble with Microserfs, Green does for YouTubers and other social media stars. It makes for a novel that's always charming, always fast-paced, but which is sneakily and uncomfortably ambivalent about the things it celebrates. It gallops to a startling and great ending (I read it all in one sitting) and lingers afterwards.” (Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing)

“[An Absolutely Remarkable Thing] is perhaps as honest a look as we will ever get into the phenomenon of cyberfame, and Green balances this careful introspection with a plotline that is both fun and mysterious, puzzling, and compelling.... Green quickly proves himself adept not only at playing into our 2018 anxiety and love/hate relationship with social media, but also at driving suspense, world-building, and a true love for science-fiction.” (Bookreporter)

“Led by an earnestly flawed, bisexual heroine with direction and commitment issues, coupled with an abundant generosity of spirit, this read is timely and sorely needed. Highly recommended.” (Library Journal, starred review) 

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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2+2 in fact = 4

The narration, by the primary narrator, is excellent. The setting of the dilemma is intriguing. 80's Music references feels...a little too Ready Player One. Descriptive writing was pleasant (The beginning when April May discovers Carl and describes him).

HOWEVER. The whole story was really hard to digest when the protagonist describes how she's going down a path of being a terrible person, then the reader is subjected to listen to her be a terrible person. Either show me you're a terrible person, or tell me you're a terrible person (I prefer the former but will accept the latter if it helps move other facets of the story along)- But don't do both! This story hits you over the head and then kicks you while you're down with the dangers of being a public figure in our modern world. I was hoping for more subtle social commentary- but I think my nose is still bleeding from the ham-fisted attempts of shoving all of the problems of the world down my face.
All in all, there are great bones in this story. The ending was...lacklustre and disappointing, I hope it can be resuscitated in a sequel.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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An Absolutely Remarkable Book

Incredibly poignant and relevant to the current social and political climate in both the western and global society. Hank's book takes a hard look at how we as a species participate in discourse and how the discourse we chose to engage in effects us. April May's journey through notoriety and fame is believable and heartfelt. It shows the difficulties in coping and making good decisions in the face of being rapidly propelled into the public eye. A great read. I will not so patiently await a sequel.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A New Favorite!

I’d recommend this if you want to read a book about "first contact", but you will be surprised how it is way more about humans than it is about aliens.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Totally turned around

I wasn't won over from the first few chapters, but the story progressively builds and gets deeper. Won me over in the end.

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Couldn't stop listening

This book caught me pretty quickly but the second half moved so fast I couldn't stop listening.

This book won't be for everyone. But if you'd enjoy an inspiring sci-fi-esque character piece, I would certainly recommend it.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Underwhelmed

Follow hank on YouTube. Was super excited about this book coming out. Was a little disappointed with the product. The story was a little zany and never quite had the character development that his brother is so famous for. The recording is very good but just never quite tugged at the heartstrings. Perhaps because it’s the authors first book, but I just was expecting more because of the high quality of his online content. So in a word... underwhelming

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social media sci-fi

Wonderfully interesting story following what could happen if a seemingly innocent viral video consequently had world- and species-wide repercussions.
Explores the nature of social media fame and gives new insight into what the experience of some of our favourite creators might just be like.

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Beautiful

Narrating was perfect. This book is going in my top 5 favourite books ever. Hank, you are an absolutely remarkable thing.

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OH MY GOD IM HOOKED

This book is AH MAZE ING!!!!! im only about 5 chapters in and can honestly think about nothing other than fisnishing it right now.... like NOW!

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Very relevant to today!

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is a definite must read for anyone engaged with the internet world. Hank Green brings up a lot of relevant themes, such as fame, identity, online interactions compared to personal interactions. Certainly this is a a read well worth your time.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Marissa
  • 2018-09-27

Grape jelly in the void

This novel is funny, gutwrenching, charming, and couched comfortably in a familiar world despite being properly absurD. In this story Hank Green peeks existential dread through optimistic curtains and tracks the most relatable of human emotions through subtle sci-Fi landscapes. The story is compelling. The characTers are dimensional, lovaBle, and deeply relatable. I


This novel is very good And I highly recommend it.

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Ann
  • 2018-09-29

Incredible

This story was astounding! It was moving and vivid and, yes, #relatable. I started recommending it to friends and family before I’d even reached the halfway point.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-03-20

Disappointed

April is very obviously a female character written by a man. She lacks depth, nothing really moves her emotionally, and she’s just a jerk. I wanted to like her and hoped she’d develop, but alas, she sucks. Hank Green missed the mark in developing a bisexual heroine. I made it more than halfway through but the plot is just too boring. I can’t believe this book keeps getting 5 stars. I gave the performance 4 stars because the narrator does a great job at embodying April.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew Morrison
  • 2018-10-03

My first audio book

This was my first audio book, and this was an absolutely phenomenal experience. I listened during my hour long commute.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Jacob
  • 2018-09-28

Flawless Narration to a Truly Remarkable Book

Hank Green not only captures the current social media world perfectly, but also does the same with people. He manages to covey, explain but also never justify the actions of a 'caught up in fame' main character somehow managing to make you hate, feel sympathetic for and understand her actions all at once. Hank doesn't create a character, he creates a human, with all the complex and dumb thoughts and emotions we all have displayed in a very modern tale.

It frankly has the potential to become a very dated book, with social media platforms like Twitter , YouTube and Reddit being use candidly and without explanation, assuming that everyone reading can interpret without needing explanation. Instead of hinder, that only helps to elevate the story as even non-twitter users know and understand it's layout and basic rules.

But the story also needs a consistent story to follow and it is created with a mystery that is both as compelling as it is awesome. A world wide mystery that all who read it would feel pretty great being able to participate in. By mimicking the ideas of many projects that have existed it never feels off, in fact doing the opposite and feeling completely natural in a highly connected social media landscape.

But finally a shout needs to go out to Kristen Sieh, who narrates this book, the character of April May and all supporting characters with such emotion that it is hard not to think of them as real. Often a small line of dialogue will be said so well that the following description of "he sounded scared" is completely unnecessary. But the absolute best part is the amount of time between panicked words. On a page it will be separated by a few dots, but in this it is full seconds between crying, hushed words. It, combined with the completely open dialogue into April May's thoughts that Hank writes, makes Kristen Sieh's performance feel like you are simply listening to April May.

Hank Green has written a book so modern, real and raw, that if the starting events where to physically happen to our world, no one would be at all surprised if this is exactly how it played out.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Sharey
  • 2018-11-24

Awful

Returned. Unless you're 20 or under this book should be extremely annoying. Ridiculous premise and childish narration to match. Sounds like a school aged child's writing assignment.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • JaylinRenee
  • 2018-10-22

Just okay.

I was pretty disappointed. I love Hank Green and listen to his podcasts and watch his videos. The downside to this book is that it reads how he talks: frantic and a bit scattered. Also the narration of the book distracts from the story as well. Her attempt at male voices takes me out of the story, and makes the main character April come off as unapproachable and unlikeable. It had potential but I think more revision would have made it better.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Stephanie Epps
  • 2018-10-15

Fame meets modern social media meets sci-fi.

This is a book maybe for young people who like the cameras, media, and over inflated self personification.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Justin
  • NEW PORT RICHEY, FLORIDA, United States
  • 2018-10-02

Not that remarkable

I will be the one to say it, that this book was not all I thought it was going to be. It was very bland and I guess my expectations were a little high. The ending was probably the worst part.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Jessica LeVitre
  • 2018-09-28

Holy Mackerel

It’s no secret that this Green is insanely talented, but what a writer!! So torn that it ended. More!!

6 of 8 people found this review helpful