I’ve been a fan of John and Hank for many years. After having read all of John’s books, I’ve come to love his writing style, and I was eagerly anticipating An Absolutely Remarkable Thing book to see what sort of writing style Hank would have. And it’s safe to say I love it.
The story follows April May who happens to discover a robot (which she haphazardly decides to name Carl) in the middle of New York at 3 a.m. It turns out that it’s not just New York, and these robots (now referred to by the world as Carls) have appeared all over the world. April becomes an overnight sensation and is plummeted into this new world of internet fame and robot madness.
You may now think this book is a heavy sci-fi because of the whole robots appearing on Earth situation. It’s not. It definitely has elements of sci-fi, but it felt and read like a contemporary. And I loved that. I loved the mixing of genres. It gave it a fresh vibe and felt like something I’ve never read before.
The sci-fi elements and concepts that do make up the plot were so interesting and I was avidly flipping the page to find out what was happening and HOW?! WHY?! I love when a book makes you question everything and leaves you eagerly wanting to find out all the answers.
I also saw none of the plot twists coming! Like, even small little plot twists made me gasp; I just really couldn’t put it down. I also love that it was peppered with science throughout because it made it really interesting, but also made me smile as it is felt very Hank.
I really enjoyed the exploration of internet fame (I wonder where he got the idea from?) It’s a relatively new concept, as concepts go, and so it was interesting to see April’s character development and experience the change with her as she suddenly becomes a household name.
April is definitely a main character who you root for. She’s interesting and funny, sarcastic and brazen. But she’s also a bit of a dick at times and you find yourself yelling “PLEASE STOP FORGETTING ABOUT *redacted: spoilers*”. I love a complex main character where you find yourself getting irate at their flippant decision making but can’t help but root for them. I feel like she was really easy to connect with and keeps you reading because she’s reliably wild and unpredictable. I also loved that this book comes under the New Adult genre, as simple things like living arrangements, rent, and dead end jobs were extremely relatable.
Frankly I could go on and on because I REALLY loved this book. Small details throughout like making the president a woman but not talking about the fact that the president was a woman made me VERY HAPPY. The representation was also excellent. The moment when April was asked if they can just call her “gay instead of bi because it’s easier” felt so real and highlighted in a subtle yet powerful way just how real bi-erasure is.
If you’re looking for a hard core sci-fi novel, this isn’t for you. But I loved it for what it is. It’s a contemporary novel with splashes of sci-fi and I can’t recommend it enough.
If you liked this review, check out my review of I was Born For This by Alice Oseman