An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

Title: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

Author: Hank Green

Release Date: 25 September 2018

Rating: 1,5/5 stars

Cover:

Image result for an absolutely remarkable thing

I’m going to be honest by saying my expectations for this book was sky-high, for the usual reasons. It’s John Green‘s brother, the hype surrounding this was pretty big, and it says THE INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER on the back.

Did those factors play a role in my deciding whether or not to buy this book?

Definitely.

But that’s probably what the publishers already knew from the start.

This book approaches topics that have been addressed so many times that I immediately want to zone out whenever someone wants to talk about these specific topics. That’s right, this book talks about how social media impacts us in ways both good and bad.

If that was all the book was about, I most definitely would not even have glanced at it. What really got me was the aliens.

Let’s be honest: We all love a good, well-crafted book about alien invasions. It’s all about the terror, humanity showing its true colours, and how we as humans deal with the fact that there is indeed life beyond our world.

That’s why I picked this book up. The story I expected was unlike anything I had ever read, concerning how social media both unites and divides us in times of crisis or great joy.

This book definitely explores some unique themes, from the way April has crafted an image of herself for her fans and haters to interact with to how easily things can blow up over the internet with only a few words.

I would have loved this book, if only it was done well.

I have an intense dislike for April. She isn’t written as a character to be liked, I understand that, but she has few redeeming features. I feel like the side-characters were under-developed and almost cardboard cutouts in a way.

The writing is okay, but my biggest problem was with the messages the author tried to convey. In a well-crafted book, the author weaves lessons into the story so that, when we reach the end, we understood the lesson without outright being told what it is.

In this book, there is no subtlety. It’s almost as if the author is saying, “Here’s your lesson; take it and move on.” It’s something I intensely dislike because I don’t like being preached to, especially on a subject that people consistently try to lecture the youth on.

Good Underlying Messages/Themes:

  • Social media can be good and bad; depends on the way you use it.
  • Media often portrays people different from who they really are.
  • Getting attention on media doesn’t lead to true happiness.

A whole star for this category!

Realistic Characters and Growth:

As I mentioned above, April May is not a likeable character. Luckily, she was written to be like that, so it’s not just personal preference or opinion (I hope). I have no problem with unlikeable characters; I’ve read many characters like this before. The problem is that April has no redeeming qualities.

She’s a rude, inconsiderate, attention-seeking young woman who doesn’t care about anyone around her or how her actions affects others. She calls Maya her girlfriend, but then she goes around hooking up with someone else? And that someone else just happens to be her best friend’s crush?

Um, no thanks.

The side-characters were all underdeveloped, which is a pity since I could imagine them carrying the book and making it enjoyable.

To be honest, my only favorite character in this book ended up being Robin, who April chases away too.

No star for this category.

Interesting Story:

The concept of this book was creative and enticing. The plot as a whole, though? Quite boring.

There’s so little that actually happens that this book almost sent me into a reading slump. The only interesting bits were when someone was trying to kill April.

If you think I’m joking, you should read the book and find out for yourself. Every time someone tries to kill her, either a giant robot hand jumps in front of her and saves her, a person’s insides get turned into grape jelly, or she’s trapped in a burning building and aliens save her (I think? Still not really sure about that ending…).

Something that still bugs me is the fact that the Carls aren’t explained at all? How can you have aliens in your book and tell us so little about them? I want to know more, please and thanks.

Half a star for this category.

Emotion:

I had no attachment to anyone in this book, except maybe Robin, who for some reason I kept imagining as Jack Whitehall the whole time. I was definitely not emotionally invested in this story, but I was really mad for Maya’s part.

No star for this category.

Fantastic World-Building:

There is so little detail given in this book; everything revolves around April who I don’t care about.

If there’s one thing I love though, it’s April’s perspective of an artist. She describes things as more exciting than they really are, but at times it became a bit too ‘desperate’ in a way.

Half a star for this category.

That’s it!

I think it’s safe to say that this book didn’t live up to my expectations. Maybe it’s because of my genre preference (fantasy) or just because I didn’t bond well with this book.

Have you read this book? Tell me your honest thoughts in the comments!

Sorry for the lack of gifs in this post; some kind of cable in the ocean broke again and now my gifs won’t load.

Till we meet again!

Xx Alexia

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