So I wrote another spoiler-free review here, where I gave the book five out of five stars. I’ve never made two parts reviews, but I really want to geek out over this book honestly.
So I just listened to an interview by Hank where he said the book was born out around a lot of individual scenes and trying to write a story around them, especially the grape jelly scene. Did he mean Carl making a person turn into grape jelly? Jeez. That’s a great way to start writing a book, and makes my ideas feel a bit more valid.
Anyway, here’s a lot of moments I liked:
- “You’re a digital girl, April, in a digital world. We all know how to perform.” Already on page 10 I realized that Hank Green’s real life thoughts and concerns would slip through into the book in form of Andy’s bluntness.
- Maya. All of Maya’s parts. That girl is awesome.
- When “Don’t Stop Me Now” was first mentioned was when I realized I would have a lot of songs stuck in my brain reading this book. The wikipedia puzzle was creative.
- “So here’s a really stupid thing about the world: The trick to looking cool is not caring whether you look cool. So the moment you achieve perfect coolness is simultaneously the moment that you actually, completely don’t care.” I need more time to consider the degree of truth to that. I have a few friends that have become models, they’re also the people that look cool in everyday normal and weird circumstances. They do also seem to care very much. But I get what April’s thinking.
- April ruining every relationship and “isolating yourself from the love of other humans because of deep, subconscious fears that you are unable to recognize even exist.” and still realizing it. I’ve seen a lot of readers say that they didn’t like her as a person, while many also saying she’s a great character, but I have to disagree. A girl that can fuck up this much and still be aware of it. I had to consider it, but I definitely like her. The internal monologue lists are great and fit with the direct writing style really well, btw.
- Here’s the first moment I adored: Maya’s no-bullshit reaction when April is purposely distancing herself from her. That “oh, fuck you, April” moment. Wouldn’t have thought of it so highly if I realized we wouldn’t see much of Maya for a while thought. Just wanted her to stick up for herself.
- The mom’s point of how the dreams could’ve changed people more than they think. That would’ve been a different book if it went down that path, but it really stuck with me and my suspicion for the rest of the book.
- April feeling burned out and going on “temporary fuel” with cool things happening until the growing hate for Peter became that long-burning fuel and motivation. It’s so dangerous, but I understand too well what she’s doing.
- Second moment I adored: Miranda taking on the role as CEO of a tech start-up. The idea of the start-up was amazing, with everyone collaborating online on this dream and puzzle they all was given and had equal access to and could prove themselves against. But reading about Miranda, who April had described as pretty shy and smart until then, taking on such a leader role made me appreciate them both. And realize how unreliable April’s narrative is.
- “One plus of the Dream was that if I stayed in it all night and didn’t wake up, I’d stay out of my nightmares.” OOoff, that hit me.
- Was concerned for a bit there if Hank Green was going to write a lesbian sex scene and how much I would laugh out loud and cringe at it. The solution seemed like the most Hank thing to do and I laughed anyway.
- All the pages with messages of what people in power can do faced with uncertainty and ignorance. Of groups moving towards the poles and becoming more radical, and how that happens.
- When Carl was revealed to be sentient and understand April I was excited. When he didn’t want to be taken pictures of I died laughing for some reason. I just like the surrealness of things like robot hands running around, saving people like superheroes.
- April’s description – without emotions at the most intense moments. Like she can show frustration talking about “minor” daily life issues, but when she was stabbed she’s describing her scream as awful enough that they had to cut it out of the tape and goes on to describe the mic. The switch happened regularly, really brought out different sides in her.
- April’s perspective is really interesting because I didn’t realize just how big of a star she’d become before the president told her how it would be a joy to watch her big future.
- Seeing your own faults and behaviour through other’s eyes suck and it’s part of why April is running from Maya I guess. Relatable.
- “Call Me Maybe” started playing, I squealed with glee and horror. I love the pop teen songs in this. My heart. They sound so omnious too.
- I was aware she would die, she says so early on in the book. p.16’s “That night was probably the best night’s sleep I had until after I died.” Which hints that there was a thing after she died as well, so I kept my hopes up
- Ok, my love for Maya was strengthened by the fact that she had to go on a pilgrimage after April’s accident. And even more Andy staying. Aahh, I really liked these characters.
There’s a sequel coming being currently written, which I didn’t know going into it. The ending was very open, but I had no problem with it. If there was no sequel, I would’ve taken my immediate theory of April being uploaded to a computer-mind of sorts. That she still lives, but outside of a body. I don’t know if there’s evidence of that yet as I haven’t read theories. Also I’m not sure that she’s completely herself towards the end. I feel there might’ve been a shift, of Carl taking more control or sharing more with her or maybe just more a natural “losing herself”, but haven’t looked too much into it yet.