An ambitious social-media climber captures "an absolutely remarkable thing" and realizes going viral is the least of her worries.
Good to know
Why I love it
BOTM Readers Committee
Who doesn't dream of the transformative powers of fame and fortune? I certainly do, and so does April May, the fiery narrator of Hank Green’s debut novel, a rags-to-social-riches-meets-science-fiction hybrid that kept me guessing from start to finish.
It’s 3am in New York City when April encounters a giant, armor-cladded sculpture of unknown origin. She dubs this bizarre curiosity “Carl” in a YouTube video that immediately goes viral. Catapulted into the capricious world of internet celebrity, April becomes an unlikely sage in the biggest news story of the world, a trajectory that threatens to unravel her relationships—and life as she knows it.
As a big science fiction fan, I love that this novel is both an intriguing story (where did Carl come from? Is he a threat?) and an exploration of how social media has irrevocably altered our humanity. Hank Green manages to combine deft humor with poignant moments that showcase April’s snarky side. This book is a seamless blend of heart, science, and humor—it’s easy to fall in love with this absolutely remarkable debut!
The Carls just appeared.
Roaming through New York City at three a.m., 23-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship—like a 10-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor—April and her 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.