An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

8 CDs. Books on Tape. Oct. 2018. 9:30 hrs. ISBN 9780525641803. $40. digital download. F
OrangeReviewStarThis thrilling and thought-provoking debut by Green (co-vlogger with his novelist brother, John) is a must-have for all collections. April May, through a strange series of events, ends up walking down a particular New York City street one night and encounters a giant Transformers statue. She thinks it's cool and is about to walk by but considers that, as a graphic designer, she ought to appreciate the effort that went into this presumed art installation. She calls her best friend Andy Skampt, and they record an irreverent video for his vlog. She names the statue "Carl," and they post the video. When she wakes up, the world has changed forever. Carls have appeared all over the world, but April May and Andy got the scoop. They figure they may as well cash in on it and brand April May as defender of the Carls, promoting the viewpoint that these aliens, yes, aliens, are on Earth for peaceful reasons. As a famous person on social media, not only does April May have a massive following and a sort-of girlfriend, she has a scary number of fanatical detractors who might want to see her dead. This massively flawed heroine struggles with the influence of social media and is extremely relatable if not always likable. Kristen Sieh narrates all but the last chapter and does an expert job portraying all of the twentysomethings in this first-person novel. She presents the copious amounts of humor with a deft hand. Hank Green narrates the last chapter, which is from Andy's point of view, conveying Andy's guilt, sorrow, and shock.
VERDICT An audiobook you'll want to listen to in one sitting; recommended for all collections. ["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": LJ 7/18 starred review of the Dutton hc.]

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