Let’s start by establishing that this is not the kind of book that I usually request and read right away but one of my booktube friends said she was going to read it and as someone who has watched the Vlog Brothers channel, where the author and his (more famous) author brother John Green, post vidoes that appeal to my nerdy side, well, I was intrigued by what the book was about. True to form, I did absolutely no research, not even reading the book synopsis before I opened the first page and in keeping with that tradition, I won’t share too much of the story details in this review either.
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is about a twenty-three-year-old white American woman, recent college graduate in graphic design, working in the kind of job millennials hope to get in New York City – actually using their degree and designing for an app-developing start-up, but also dreaming up the kind of pure art that she hopes will get her noticed someday. Then one night on her way home from her absolutely unremarkable job that is yet, designed to make her feel like she is doing something important, she sees something that is actually, Absolutely Remarkable. What he object is and what it does, she doesn’t really know but she starts to interact with it and then her life changes, and then life in general changes and she is sucked into the vortex of something that may or may not be the best or worst thing to ever happen.
The novel is 343 pages of speculation on reality and the laws of the universe as we know them, about the physical laws, as well as how relationships work – both with individuals and matter. With this captivating mix of pop culture commentary and application of nerdy science and mathematical relationships, Hank Green achieves what he probably couldn’t as a science teacher, and that is tell a story that keeps students turning back the pages to see if they can solve the mystery even knowing that the answers are in the back of the book.
Despite the 300+ pages where I think the author could have presented more characterization instead of the vlog-style narrative he employed, I chalk the style choice up to the millennial, video-gaming audience the book is probably aimed at. Despite not being a gamer myself, I enjoyed a lot about the book so I won’t gripe too much about the things I didn’t like – there were a lot of red herrings along the way and some of the clues were weirdly easy at the end as though all the work that you’d done until that point was in vain. I won’t even complain about the pseudo ending and the way I only found out at the end that the novel is book 1 in a series. I don’t do series, but I am definitely, absolutely coming back for the resolution? continuation? of this saga. I mean, what could possible be more Remarkable than this? One just has to know.
Author: Hank Green
Date Published: September 25, 2018
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