An Absolutely Remarkable thing is not a 12/12 book. April May is a jerk with no discernible character arc. The plot is just a journey down a spiral that asks more questions than it answers.
But I love this book more than I love myself. I love this book more than any other book except Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban. This is a book that frustrated me, intrigued me, and brought me to tears.
If you aren’t really a nerdfighter, you may have only vaguely heard of this book as something written by John Green’s brother. Maybe you recognize Hank from Crash Course videos in school. Hank Green is a lot more than that.
Hank Green is the democratically elected King Of Nerds. His kingdom of Nerdfighteria, the realm of internet awesome, is a community of caring, dorky people that come together to decrease Worldsuck. He is nerd Jesus.
I also have a gigantic platonic crush on him, so maybe you should find someone who feels neutral about him to explain him. You’ll be hard pressed to find someone. Even his brother tells him that he loves him at least once a year.
Speaking of brothers, none of John’s protagonists have siblings. April May has a happily married brother that has a few paragraphs about him without getting any of his personality on the page. If in John’s narrative imagination, Hank doesn’t exist, in Hank’s narrative imagination, John is boring.
Yes, I’m getting off topic, and I will only get back to the book unless you surf and subscribe to vlogbrothers
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An Absolutely Remarkable Thing doesn’t fit into a genre. There are sci-fi elements, but there’s so little explanation that it might as well be urban fantasy. It reads like a NA contemporary, but instead of in college, she just graduated from college. And is it really a contemporary when it’s a manifesto on fame?
I don’t think this book would be marketable if Hank Green wasn’t already famous. It’s just too weird. Let’s say you lived through an alien invasion/ First Contact. You became famous because you made First Contact, and also you’re a liberal arts school grad, so you just kept documenting robot alien stuff and building a brand around it. Someone offers you a book deal, because celebrities get book deals. Naturally, it should be a memoir, but you’re opinionated about a controversial topic so you weave your manifesto into it.
That is what this book is about.
April is openly bisexual. She is dating her roommate, but is touchy about commitment. They don’t “Live Together.” They are just roommates who started dating and stayed roommates.
I might just be projecting, but I think April May is aromantic, meaning she doesn’t feel romantic attraction. She has strong friendships, and a sexual drive. But she dissociates sex with romance, and doesn’t seem to experience romantic attraction.
As an asexual, I am the opposite. I feel romantic attraction but no sexual attraction. At the root of Aro/Ace is complete dissociation of touch and romance.
Maybe April is just young and doesn’t want to commit. But she never says “I love you” to anyone romantically. *Spoiler alert* April thinks Miranda is cute and is sexually attracted to her, and they are good friends. But there is no romance.
This is a duology, and I can’t find the release date or anything about the sequel. AART just came out, and I need to be patient, but DAMMIT HANK WHEN WILL YOU GIVE ME THE BOOK? Anyways, it’s entirely possible that there will be evidence of romantic attraction. I hope April and Maya work it out regardless, because SHIPPED. And I wouldn’t be surprised if she realizes, or comes out, or if there is some mention of her being aromantic.
Anyways, I’m not done processing this book. I wish I didn’t have to give it back to the library, but at the same time, I want to give it back ASAP so more people can read it! YOU READ IT! READ IT OR I WILL DISOWN YOU.
If you already read it, what did you think?
DFTBA I will see you on Friday.
UPDATE: The sequel’s expected publication date is July 7th, 2020. Mark your calendars!