Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
The younger Vlogbrother (John Green is the other) draws on his passion for science and his experience as a "Tier 3" celebrity ("You'll probably trend on Twitter if you die") for a comic debut that combines science fiction and mystery with philosophical musings about the perils of internet fame. His main character, the unfortunately named April May, is a recent art-school grad who happens upon a 10-foot-tall robotic sculpture in the darkened streets of Lower Manhattan. Entranced, she summons Andy, a classmate with a video camera, and the two introduce the figure they dub Carl to the world via YouTube. April May becomes a celebrity but soon discovers that dozens of Carls have appeared in cities across the globe. As she and her friends search for an explanation, she struggles with her newfound addiction to fame and the damage it causes to her most important relationships. April May's narration, which doesn't fully work, is both self-effacing and contradictory: she bemoans how much she enjoys fame while cynically crafting a message stressing community, which she determines will best resonate with her fans, thus growing her fame. Though the ending is disappointing (it appears to be setting up a sequel), fans of Green's YouTube channel will find his humor and perceptiveness intact in this novel. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A young graphic artist inspires worldwide hysteria when she accidentally makes first contact with an alien.Famous multimedia wunderkind Green is brother to that John Green, so no pressure or anything on his debut novel. Luckily, he applies wit, affection, and cultural intelligence to a comic sci-fi novel suitable for adults and mature teens. It's endearing how fully he occupies his narrator, a 20-something bi artist named April May who is wasting her youth slaving at a Manhattan startup. On her way home late one night, April encounters an armored humanoid figure, which turns out to be alien in nature"And I don't mean alien like weird,' " she says. She phones her videographer friend Andy Skampt, who posts on YouTube a funny introduction to the robot she dubs Carl. April's life is turned upside down when the video goes massively viral and immovable Carls appear in cities around the world. After they discover a complex riddle involving the Queen song "Don't Stop Me Now," the mystery becomes a quest for April; Andy; April's roommate/kind-of-sort-of girlfriend, Maya; a scientist named Miranda; and April's new assistant, Robin, to figure out what the Carls are doing here. "None of us older than twenty-five years old, cruising down Santa Monica Boulevard, planning our press strategy for the announcement of First Contact with a space alien," says April. April and her friends are amiable goofballs and drawn genuinely for their age and time. Meanwhile, the story bobs along on adolescent humor and otherworldly phenomena seeded with very real threats, not least among them a professional hater named Peter Petrawicki and his feral followers. Green is clearly interested in how social media moves the needle on our culture, and he uses April's fame, choices, and moral quandaries to reflect on the rending of social fabric. Fortunately, this entertaining ride isn't over yet, as a cliffhanger ending makes clear.A fun, contemporary adventure that cares about who we are as humans, especially when faced with remarkable events. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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