An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (Green)

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing 
Hank Green, 2018
Penguin Publishing
352 pp.

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.
Roaming through New York City 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—from Beijing to Buenos Aires—and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight.
Seizing the opportunity to make her mark on the world, April now has to deal with the consequences her new particular brand of fame has on her relationships, her safety, and her own identity.

And all eyes are on April to figure 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 for 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. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Birth—May 5, 1980
Where—Birmingham, Alabama, USA
Education—B.S., Eckerd College; M.S. University of Montana
Currently—lives in Missoula, Montana

Hank Green is the CEO of Complexly, a production company that creates educational content, including Crash Course and SciShow, prompting The Washington Post to name him “one of America’s most popular science teachers.”

Complexly’s videos have been viewed more than two billion times on YouTube.

Green cofounded a number of other small businesses, including, which helps online creators make money by selling cool stuff to their communities; and VidCon, the world’s largest conference for the online video community. In 2017, VidCon drew more than forty thousand attendees across three events in Anaheim, Amsterdam, and Australia.

Hank and his brother, John, also started the Project for Awesome, which last year raised more than two million dollars for charities, including Save the Children and Partners in Health. Hank lives in Montana with his wife, son, and cat. (From the publishers.)

Book Reviews
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.
Lincee Ray - Washington Post

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

With this comic story about the ugly side of Internet fame, Green gives his brother John (The Fault in Our Stars) a run for his money.

A quirky millennial mix of sci-fi alien mystery, celebrity and social media commentary.
Family Circle

Hank Green, super-vlogger and brother to YA legend John, pens the heart-warmer An Absolutely Remarkable Thing.

Packed with meditations on the nature of celebrity, social media, and the cultural response to the unknown.
Harper Bazaar

A quirky millennial mix of sci-fi alien mystery, celebrity and social media commentary.
Family Circle

It’s not in the nature of a sci-fi comedy blockbuster to shift boulders in your soul. But with his debut novel, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, Hank Green pulls it off.… There are still a few exceptionally remarkable things that rise above the rest of their absolutely remarkable peers. In the pages of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, April’s discovery of New York Carl is one of these exceptions; in the real world, Green’s debut deserves to be another."
Paste Magazine

[A] comic debut that combines science fiction and mystery with philosophical musings about the perils of internet fame.… Though the ending is disappointing (it appears to be setting up a sequel), fans… will find his humor and perceptiveness intact in this novel.
Publishers Weekly

(Starred review) 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) Green makes an entertaining book debut in this fast-paced, witty first contact novel…At once funny, exciting, and a tad terrifying, this exploration of aliens and social media culture is bound to have wide appeal to readers interested in either theme.

(Starred review) [Green] applies wit, affection, and cultural intelligence to a comic sci-fi novel.… A fun, contemporary adventure that cares about who we are as humans, especially when faced with remarkable events.
Kirkus Reviews

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, use our LitLovers talking points to help start a discussion for AN ABSOLUTELY REMARKABLE THING … then take off on your own:

1. April May unwittingly finds herself at the center of a media frenzy. Talk about the effect all the attention has on her life. How well does she cope with being an internet sensation? How does she change? Think about yourself: would you want that kind of unanticipated fame; how do you think you would be able to cope?

2. Follow-up to Question 2: How does fame affect a person's sense of themselves: their identity? Hank Green has said that "the act of seeking fame is the act of seeking dehumanization." How does this play out in his novel? Consider, too, the role of the internet and the way it increases fame exponentially—is that a good thing, bad thing …or an absolutely remarkable thing?

3. Follow-up to Question 1 & 2: Why do so people desire fame? What is its attraction? What about you—any desires for fame, or to become a "brand"?

4. How do you respond to the novel's other characters: Andy and Maya, especially, but also Miranda and Robin?

5. Are Peter Petrawicki and his followers realistically drawn?

6. The Carls' motivations are only hinted at, never made explicit. How do you see their motivations?

7. Follow-up to Question 6: What do the Carls tell humanity about itself? How does the author contrast them with who we humans are (or who we think we are)?

8. How do you take The Dream? What do you think it means?

9. The novel's ending: will there be a sequel to An Absolutely Remarkable Thing?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online and off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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