An ambitious social-media climber captures "an absolutely remarkable thing" and realizes going viral is the least of her worries.
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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.
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Long Beach, CA
This book was so different than anything I’ve read before. I couldn’t believe this was a debut book, it was so good! Hope to get more from this author, I prefer his writing over his brother’s. Crazy!
I’m a sucker for a good ol’ sci-fi story and this has all the thrills & chills of classics like The Day The Earth Stood Still. A satisfying roller coaster ride that ends with the possibility of more.
Thought provoking! This one really makes you think about how social media can control your life…and you become more about your persona than you are about yourself. Oh, and a twist I didn’t see coming
It took me awhile to discover how I felt about this book. I couldn’t get myself involved with the characters, but the world Green created was intriguing and thought-provoking. Can’t wait for book two!
From the moment I picked this book up I couldn’t put it down. Instantly, I related to the imperfect main character and her inability to learn. The writing’s great and I was ALWAYS eager to read more.
This was a fun book. I wish it were more about the Carls and less about April’s shitty personality, but I still enjoyed it a lot. I’m hoping for a sequel and expecting to see it on-screen eventually.
The author did a good job of appealing to the reader’s humanity and of making the main character, who isnt the type of person you’d normally attach to, become someone you care about. A uniting story.
An exciting plot driven by a clever, unique concept and an authentic millennial voice that felt extremely relevant in today’s tech- & media-pervaded world. I’d love to see more of Carl in the future.
After a rocky start, AART won me over. I was skeptical to pick it up, not being a sci-fi person, but I’m glad I did. It’s issues are so timely and handled with nuisance. Can’t wait to the sequel!
So clever! Great commentary on the current social media without beating you over the head with it. I wish BOTM had the sequel, A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor, available for members. Can’t wait to read
New York, NY
This isn’t a book I would normally pick up but I’m so glad I did. I breezed through it in a day and had such a great time following April and Carl. Hard to believe this is the author’s first book!
I’m over the big robots show up unexpectedly trope but I ended up loving the story. It was an amazing meditation on fame, on finding meaning, on social media & burn out culture, and learning yourself.
This book was such a wonderful surprise to me. It’s poignant and honest in its delivery. The commentary on the human condition and its relationship to the internet is so pertenant to our current world
I love that Hank Green wrote a book with a strong female lead and even made the POTUS a woman. This book has such a cliffhanger, I can’t wait for the second one to come out! It should be a BOTM pick!
Newport News, VA
I have read this twice and I still can not stop thinking about it. The scifi aspect, the critique on society, social media, polarization in politics and so many other topics in such a clever way! Loved
Bryn Mawr, PA
Wow! I couldn’t put this book down. What an amazing meditation on how social media is a driving force, and how much better humanity would be if we all worked together. Can’t wait for the next book!
I had many emotions while reading this book. April May is a great narrator, and Hank Green wrote her story well. This book had me LOL, gasp, and audibly react throughout. Great story! Strong message!
This was an enjoyable read. It had mystery and was very imaginative. I also appreciated that the main character wasn't always likeable, but relatable. It gives you something to think about at the end.
I absolutely loved this. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I picked this up but it was so much than advertised. I highly recommend it! It speaks a lot about the current world condition
My favorite thing is a mystery without a murder so this was up my alley. I would maybe put this in my top ten. Fun puzzle + interesting concept + humor makes this a near perfect book. Will read again.