Thank you for recommending this one, vel veeter! I’d never tried Hank Green before, but this book was a lot of fun to read and I’m excited to see there’s a sequel in the works.
“When you’re faced with something you don’t understand, I think the most natural thing but also the least interesting thing you can be is afraid.”
April May stumbles across something absolutely remarkable one night: a 10 foot tall statue that looks like a Transformer, standing on a street in New York City. She calls her friend Andy to come out with a camera, and they shoot a little video where she names the statue Carl and pretends to interview him. Then she goes to bed. When April wakes up the next morning, the whole world has changed — 64 “Carls” have been found in total, and she’s an internet sensation. Now what?
“It’s so much easier for people to get excited about disliking something than agreeing to like it. The circle jerk of mockery and self-congratulation was so intense I didn’t even notice I was at its center. It was so easy to get people to follow me, and in the end, that’s what I wanted.”
I was expecting this book to be about the sudden fame of going viral, and the consequences to a young woman’s life. I was not expecting the other main element of the novel — what is Carl and where did he come from? And I won’t go into that, because it’s fun to be surprised. I will say this book was really funny and fresh — Hank Green obviously knows how to write to youths (or, rather, 34 year old women who spend a lot of time on the internet). It’s full of the good things and bad things about social media and fame. “April May’s theory of tiered fame” was a fantastic delve into the levels of popularity a human can attain, and how their lives can change.
I also really liked April’s character. She makes a lot (a LOT) of bad decisions in this book, but she also owns up to it.
“Knowing something is a bad idea does not always decrease the odds that you will do it. If I had examined my motivations on this one, I probably wouldn’t have liked what I found, so I didn’t.”
She’s very introspective in a way that you don’t always see in a novel, especially ones about fame and fortune. This made watching her screw up a few times humanizing rather than frustrating.