Cristina Reads Too Much: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

Getting around to reading a book (other than a textbook) can be tough in college, we know this.  When you’re cramming in between classes, Her Campus Lasell’s got you covered.  

Introducing Cristina Reads Too Much, a weekly segment where we break down and spill the tea about the best books RN and give our honest reviews and ratings. 

 

The Rundown:

This modern sci-fi adventure follows two best friends after they accidentally go viral.  April May is a 23-year-old art school graduate who stumbles upon an intriguing and mysterious being on a Manhattan street on her way home from working overtime one morning.  Described as looking like a 10-foot-tall Transformer in a samurai uniform, April assumes it is an art installation and calls on her best friend, freelance videographer Andy Skampt, to shoot a video about it.  Andy makes a video featuring April and uploads it to YouTube, only to have the video go viral overnight. April and Andy soon learn that the installation, whom they nickname “Carl”, is not the only one--there are identical ones in major cities all over the world.  As their video continues to skyrocket in popularity, April becomes famous in her own right. She and Andy collaborate to create more videos, and eventually, they’re asked to be guests on talk shows and write a book. It isn’t long, however, before hatred towards April and fear about the Carls turn ugly.  What begins as online attacks on April, Andy, and their backers quickly escalates into real-life violent attacks that left thousands dead and injured. Meanwhile, mysterious things are happening to the Carls. Their limbs disappear, seemingly into thin air, and one of them always manages to save April whenever she is the target of a violent attack.  It becomes clear to April and Andy that the Carls need her for some reason, and they are determined to figure out why--even if they die trying.

My Thoughts:

Amusing, creative, and thought-provoking, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is equal parts a fun romp through the internal monologue of an accidental celebrity and a provocative look at the effects of social media on society.  It’s far-fetched but still grounded enough, in reality, to be relatable. I loved April’s dry humor in her narration of the story, and Green does a wonderful job at accurately portraying a twenty-something woman. At times, I lost track of the direction in which the plot was going, and I felt that there were some inconsistencies in the writing style (for the most part it’s very informal, but some academic-sounding words were seemingly randomly inserted).  I don’t usually read science fiction, but I liked this book. If you’re looking for a story that accurately reflects the world we live in today, or if you want a light and entertaining read that still has some substance, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is the novel for you.

My Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“I don’t know what happened to April.  But I do know that April was a person. She wanted to tell a story that would bring people together.  Maybe she didn’t do it perfectly every day, and she made many mistakes, but I don’t think any of us are blameless when we all, more and more often, see ourselves not as members of culture but as weapons in a war”.