Dear An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green,
Wow, I am so proud of you.
See, I’ve been what they call a “Nerdfighter” for years. I started watching Hank and John Green on Youtube back when I was in middle school, and I loved the idea of being part of a community that was unabashedly and enthusiastically nerdy. When I learned that John was even more excited. I whipped through all of John’s books in a flash, absolutely loving Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns and An Abundance of Katherines. When I think back to those awkward, rather lonely days in middle school and high school, these are some of the books that ring out the loudest. I reread them over and over and over again, hoping that someday I would have wild adventures and zany stories that would rival those of Miles and Quentin and Colin. And now, looking back, I definitely do.
What does all this have to do with you, you may be asking? Well, you were an opportunity to experience that all over again. Every time John releases a new book I revel in the chance to experience another new Nerdfighter adventure, another new novel to add to all my memories of reading his works over the years. But this time, I got to add an entirely different category to my list: a book written by Hank. You.
You are a wild book. You are spontaneous and bizarre and creative and suspenseful. You made my heart break for a lost relationship, for lost friendship, and for a lost sense of self. You put into perspective the damaging effects that fame can have on someone’s sense of identity, especially when that fame involves money and notoriety and new opportunities. You bring diversity to science fiction with LGBTQ+ representation in the main character. And you portray the perspective of a girl from a male writer quite well, which always impresses me.
My favorite thing about you is that even though you contain some pretty unbelievable elements–you are science fiction, after all–the strangeness of it all seems to fade away and the challenges that April and her friends face take center stage. In some science fiction novels, those elements are absolutely integral to the story as a whole. And while the Carls are obviously an important part of your story, it almost seems as though the central conflict–April trying to deal with rising fame–could be told against a myriad of different science fiction backdrops with a similar result. This quality of you might seem like an odd thing to choose as my favorite, but it speaks to how easy it is for readers to relate with your characters in a genre that is quite un-relatable at its core.
The writing itself is hilarious and genuine and emotional. I started listening to your audiobook as I was packing up to go home for the semester and I was surprised by how I didn’t want to stop listening even when I was done packing. You stayed resolutely in the back of my mind until I finished you, and even now I still think of you sometimes. You hooked me in from the first chapter and haven’t let me go since, apparently.
I would recommend you to so many different kinds of bookworms. Even if someone doesn’t normally enjoy science fiction novels, I think your emphasis on character development would nevertheless enthrall them.
All in all, you’re a fantastic book. I’m so proud and happy that you have been added to the little Nerdfighter library that seems to be growing still–rumor has it that your sequel is coming out soon? Good thing, since your ending was a cliffhanger.
Until next time, then.
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