An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, Hank Green
I confess this isn’t much of a review. I don’t have proper words for this book and I get it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s mine, so I wanted to share my review with you, however poorly it is.
There are words and an order in which to place them, but that order is a puzzle to me. Was the social media aspect maddening? Yes, because it was supposed to be. I saw in various reviews people complaining about the sci-fi, and really, this isn’t sci-fi, and I would hate them to come across actual sci-fi. This book is an imagination that tackles so many important issues the world faces today. I have heard from several people that book 2 is even better than this one, so it’s a good thing I grabbed both books when I bought this one. Nicely done.
About the Book:
The Carls just appeared.
Roaming through New York City at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship—like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor—April and her best friend, Andy, make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day, April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world—from Beijing to Buenos Aires—and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight.
Seizing the opportunity to make her mark on the world, April now has to deal with the consequences her new particular brand of fame has on her relationships, her safety, and her own identity. And all eyes are on April to figure out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.
Compulsively entertaining and powerfully relevant, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing grapples with big themes, including how the social internet is changing fame, rhetoric, and radicalization; how our culture deals with fear and uncertainty; and how vilification and adoration spring for the same dehumanization that follows a life in the public eye. The beginning of an exciting fiction career, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is a bold and insightful novel of now.
Truly Devious, Maureen Johnson
I’m trying to work my way through paperbacks that have sat on my shelf for far too long. The book landed across the room when I realized it ended in a totally unnecessary cliffhanger. I expect that kind of thing from fantasy books these days, but this isn’t fantasy, and I was well and truly ticked. But I don’t appreciate the cliffhanger when there was absolutely no warning in the blurb about it—what a disservice to readers.
Outside of an entire paragraph complaining about the ending, I will continue with the series because the writing is good, I love the dual timelines, and I love the mystery of it all. I’m a fan of well-written private school stories, especially when the adults are actually involved, and it’s not all teens going off with no supervision. So it makes for a fun read. But I’m guessing I can expect the same sort of ending with book 2… grumble
About the Book
Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”
Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.
True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester.
But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.
The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three.