G. Bianco, 2019
When I heard Hank Green was writing a novel, I’ll admit I was both excited and nervous. I was excited because I love Hank Green’s humor and unabashed nerdiness; therefore, to see his personality and mannerisms expressed on Youtube transferred into a book was intriguing. However, would I enjoy his novel as much as I enjoyed all of his brother’s? Were my expectations for Hank too high because of John? It turns out I had nothing to worry about.
Green’s novel follows April May, a graphic designer living in New York City, who stumbles upon a giant metal statue of what looks like a robot in the middle of the street. It’s about 4am and the streets are empty. Having the artist inside her come out, she recruits her friend, Andy, to come and record her reaction to it. After posting the video online, she sees that the statue, which April has named Carl, has popped up not just in cities across the U.S., but the entire world. As April is thrust into the spotlight for being the “Discoverer of the New York Carl,” she spirals into the dangerous world of fame and all the baggage that comes with it. But the question remains: what are the Carls and why are they here?
What sounds like a weird sci-fi novel actually develops into a look at what fame can do to a person. Hank Green writing as a 24 year old girl who is grappling with turning herself from a person to a product is unique and well-executed. What worked really well was the fact that the whole book was a sort of recollection of the past few months in April’s life and how she handled the events going on around her. In many novels and stories, sometimes you have to question the reliability of the first-person narrator and how their perception of the events may be biased. However, April May’s witty sarcasm and self-reflective tone really made her a true narrator who doesn't bias themselves too much. She owns up to her mistakes and realizes her flaws and faults throughout the story. By doing so, Green creates a relatable character that really adds a little something extra to the novel. The overall plot was entertaining as well, with the mystery of the Carls looming over the entire novel.
This book will have you laughing and leave you very intrigued by the end of it. I am anxiously awaiting the sequel because I NEED to know what’s going to happen next! Although it was a bit slow-moving in the middle, you fly straight through the last half. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys humorous fiction writing with a bit of a mysterious/sci-fi edge to it. This book is definitely worth picking up!
Hi! My name is Elisa and my bookshelf is quite literally overflowing! Join me in my journey of reading as many books as humanly possible!