A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green
The Carls disappeared the same way they appeared, in an instant. While they were on Earth, they caused confusion and destruction without ever lifting a finger. Well, that’s not exactly true. Part of their maelstrom was the sudden viral fame and untimely death of April May: a young woman who stumbled into Carl’s path, giving them their name, becoming their advocate, and putting herself in the middle of an avalanche of conspiracy theories.
Months later, the world is as confused as ever. Andy has picked up April’s mantle of fame, speaking at conferences and online about the world post-Carl; Maya, ravaged by grief, begins to follow a string of mysteries that she is convinced will lead her to April; and Miranda infiltrates a new scientific operation . . . one that might have repercussions beyond anyone’s comprehension.
As they each get further down their own paths, a series of clues arrive—mysterious books that seem to predict the future and control the actions of their readers; unexplained internet outages; and more—which seem to suggest April may be very much alive. In the midst of the gang’s possible reunion is a growing force, something that wants to capture our consciousness and even control our reality.
I’m going to start by saying that if you haven’t read An Absolutely Remarkable Thing to turn around and do that, because neither this book nor this review will make any sense to you unless you have. Not a sequel that can be enjoyed without having read the first book, sorry folks.
I don’t have a lot to say about this book. It was very well received, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first book. Mostly because I felt like it was really preachy. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing had a lot of social commentary in it, but most of it was done without judgement and with the characters understanding that we are all flawed. But A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor just kind of came right out and said “We [humanity] aren’t going to make it unless _________”. I mean, I am a fan of Hank’s, so obviously I agreed more or less with what he was saying, but I didn’t feel like it was as well executed as in the first book.
I also found the plot to be a bit less interesting. First contact is my JAM, but this book spent more time going into virtual reality, which I am not as interested in, and also has been beat to death already. Don’t get me wrong, I still REALLY wanted to know what happened, but I just wasn’t as invested as the first book.
The pace of this book is quite a bit slower than the first. There was a lot less dialogue, maybe? I prefer a slow book, myself, but I know it isn’t for everyone.
I liked getting to know the other characters a little better. April wasn’t the most likable protagonist, and even if that is what made her interesting, getting to read from other people was refreshing. It might have been nice if Andy wasn’t *so* obviously Hank, but at least Maya and Miranda were fully fleshed out characters. It was maybe a little weird to read a f/f romance written by a dude, but I thought Hank handled it well and it felt very honest and caring.
I definitely think this book is worth reading if you loved the first one, but it’s not a can’t-miss sequel.