An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (The Carls #1), by Hank Green

To be honest, at first I didn’t think I would like this book because it falls in that category in which everything is just like today’s world except for that one thing. Someone has a superpower, someone has a time machine, that sort of thing. It will make it hard for me to believe and that puts me off.

With AART I was right as well as wrong: yes, one thing changes. But the one thing has so much influence on the world, and the story is so gripping that it doesn’t matter at all anymore.

Protagonist April May (oh well) discovers a ten feet tall robot statue. Which she names Carl. She is not the only one to discover a Carl: around the world Carls are popping up. Who put them there, and why? With her friend Andy she tapes a video and they upload it to YouTube, where they will also document the rest of their journey with the Carls.

AART is stuffed with social media references. Which you can choose to let it bother you because it is a gimmick, or to accept it because life itself is stuffed with social media. At times it can feel artificial (‘Let me just quickly mention Twitter here because it should speak to a young audience’) but because it is an integral part of the story it is kind of functional.

The characters aren’t very deep, however this does not diminish the story’s entertainment value. It remains fast and humorous and the short chapters following rotating characters make for a gripping read.

My advice: suitable for reading by anyone not limiting their interests to colouring books.

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