SERIES

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

A Novel
Trade Paperback

See other books in this series
Buy
Add An Absolutely Remarkable Thing to Goodreads

THE INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“Sparkling with mystery, humor and the uncanny, this is a fun read. But beneath its effervescent tone, more complex themes are at play.” —San Francisco Chronicle

In his wildly entertaining debut novel, Hank Greencocreator of Crash Course, Vlogbrothers, and SciShowspins 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 best 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.

Praise

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

“With this comic story about the ugly side of Internet fame, Green gives his brother...a run for his money.”
—People

“[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 (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), Fall 2018 Best Debut Novels

“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.”
—Booklist (starred review)


“A captivating debut from a talented new novelist.”
—Bustle

“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.”
—Cosmopolitan

“Sparkling with mystery, humor and the uncanny, this is a fun read. But beneath its effervescent tone, more complex themes are at play.”
—San Francisco Chronicle

“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. [It] delivers unexpected delights and pathos…you will feel smarter and more complete for having read it.”
Paste Magazine, 12 Best Novels of 2018

“Green’s debut novel is an adventurous romp that combines science fiction and interpersonal drama to explore identity, relationships, a polarized world and the influence of media and popular opinion. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is a fun, fast read that invites readers to contemplate their position in the modern world.”
—BookPage

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is an extremely fun read. At every turn, you’ll be dying to know what happens next.”
—Hello Giggles

“Packed with meditations on the nature of celebrity, social media, and the cultural response to the unknown.”
—Harper's Bazaar


“The genius of Hank Green's book lies in the way he skillfully mixes such a variety of topics and messages and melds them brilliantly into a gem of a first novel.” 
—News Tribune

“Both thought-provoking and entertaining… a laugh-out-loud, fast-paced story that is just plain fun to read.”
—Shelf Awareness

“Existential questions born of online stardom figure prominently in Mr. Green’s debut novel.”
Wall Street Journal

“Ambitious.” 
—Entertainment Weekly

“Surprises in its willingness to delve into the unknown and the unknowable, exploring how modern internet fame twists and chops reality and peoples’ lives via the story of twenty-something April May.”
B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog

“[A] smashing, fantastical debut... Step aside, John Green—it's time for Hank to take over the literary world.” 
PopSugar, Best Books 2018

“You're about to meet somebody named April May who you're immediately going to want to be best friends with. And bonus, she spends all her time having incredible adventures with giant robots and dream puzzles and accidental Internet fame. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is pure book-joy.”
Lev Grossman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Magicians Trilogy
 
“Fun and full of truth. To be honest, I'm a little irritated at how good the book is. I don't need this kind of competition.”
Patrick Rothfuss, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Kingkiller Chronicle

“This is the book my teen self would have loved, and my adult self immediately obsessed over. I turned the pages of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing so quickly the pads of my thumbs were worn smooth by the time I finished it. It provokes the mind, tickles the spirit, and April May is the terribly relevant young protagonist we've been waiting for.”
Ashley C. Ford, writer

“Funny, thrilling, and an absolute blast to read. I knew Hank would be good at this, but I didn't know he would be this good on the first try.”
John ScalziNew York Times bestselling author and Hugo Award winner

“By turns joyful, devastating, personal, zeitgeisty, modern, classic, fast-paced, and thoughtful, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing blew me away with its fresh take on first contact in this fragile, ever-connected world we live in. Quick but never shallow, it will stand as a snapshot of an era as well as just a darn good read.”
—Catherynne M. Valente, author of The Refrigerator Monologues and Space Opera

“Hank Green hasn't just written a great mystery adventure (though he has), and he hasn't just written the most interesting meditation on the internet and fame I've ever seen (but he did that too), Hank has written a book in which the page-turning story and the fascinating ideas inform and support each other. This book expands your mind while taking you on a hell of a ride.”  
—Joseph Fink, author of Welcome to Night Vale and Alice Isn't Dead

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

Look, I am aware that you’re here for an epic tale of intrigue and mystery and adventure and near death and actual death, but in order to get to that (unless you want to skip to chapter 13—I’m not your boss), you’re going to have to deal with the fact that I, April May, in addition to being one of the most important things that has ever happened to the human race, am also a woman in her twenties who has made some mistakes. I am in the wonderful position of having you by the short hairs. I have the story, and so I get to tell it to you the way I want. That means you get to understand me, not just my story, so don’t be surprised if there’s some drama. I’m going to attempt to come at this account honestly, but I’ll also admit to a significant pro-me bias. If you get anything out of this, ideally it won’t be you being more or less on one side or the other, but simply understanding that I am (or at least was) human.

And I was very much feeling only human as I dragged my tired ass down 23rd Street at 2:45 a.m. after working a sixteen-hour day at a start-up that (thanks to an aggressively shitty contract I signed) will remain nameless. Going to art school might seem like a terrible financial decision, but really that’s only true if you have to take out gobs and gobs of student loans to fund your hoity-toity education. Of course, I had done exactly that. My parents were successful, running a business providing equipment to small and medium-sized dairy farms. Like, the little things you hook up to cows to get the milk out, they sold and distributed them. It was good business, good enough that I wouldn’t have had a lot of debt if I’d gone to a state school. But I did not do that. I had loans. Lots. So, after jumping from major to major (advertising, fine art, photography, illustration) and finally settling on the mundane (but at least useful) BFA in design, I took the first job that would keep me in New York and out of my old bedroom in my parents’ house in Northern California.

And that was a job at a doomed start-up funded by the endless well of rich people who can only dream the most boring dream a rich person can dream: being even more rich. Of course, working at a start-up means that you’re part of the “family,” and so when things go wrong, or when deadlines fly past, or when an investor has a hissy fit, or just because, you don’t get out of work until three in the morning. Which, honestly, I hated. I hated it because the company’s time- management app was a dumb idea and didn’t actually help people, I hated it because I knew I was just doing it for money, and I hated it because they asked the staff to treat it like their whole life rather than like a day job, which meant I didn’t have any time to spare to work on personal projects.

BUT!

I was actually using my degree doing actual graphic design and getting paid enough to afford rent less than one year out of school. My work environment was close to technically criminal and I paid half of my income to sleep in the living room of a one-bedroom apartment, but I was making it work.

I fibbed just now. My bed was in the living room, but I mostly slept in the bedroom—Maya’s room. We weren’t living together, we were roommates, and April-from-the-past would want me to be very clear about that. What’s the difference between those two things? Well, mostly that we weren’t dating before we moved in together. Hooking up with your roommate is convenient, but it is also a little confusing when you lived together through much of college. Before finally hooking up and have now been a couple for more than a year.

If you happen to already live together, when does the “Should we move in together?” question come up? Well, for Maya and me, the question was “Can we please move that secondhand mattress out of the living room so that we can sit on a couch when we watch Netflix?” and thus far my answer had been “Absolutely not, we are just roommates who are dating.” Which is why our living room still had a bed in it.

I told you there would be drama.

Anyway, back to the middle of the night that fateful January evening. This shitty app had to get a new release into the App Store by the next week and I had been waiting for final approvals on some user interface changes, and whatever, you don’t care—it was boring work BS. Instead of coming in early, I stayed late, which has always been my preference. My brain was sucked entirely dry from trying to interpret cryptic guidance from bosses who couldn’t tell a raster from a vector. I checked out of the building (it was a coworking space, not even actual leased offices) and walked the three minutes to the subway station.

And then my MetroCard got rejected FOR NO REASON. I had another one sitting on my desk at work, and I wasn’t precisely sure how much money I had in my checking account, so it seemed like I should walk the three blocks back to the office just to be safe.

A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor

THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Who has the right to change the world forever? How will we live online?  How do we find comfort in an increasingly isolated world? The Carls… More