Prologue

Dedication

Thanks, Mom!

Acknowledgments

I have never done this before, so even finding out that it was possible was a bit of a journey for me. For that I have several hundred thousand people to thank. First, John Green, who is my brother and who kept saying that being an author is not some impossible job and it’s a real thing that real people do to enough people who weren’t me that eventually I believed him. My wife, Katherine, who just kept loving the things I wrote in ways that I believed and that made sense to me. Phil Condon, who helped me realize that writing was a thing I was good at in large part by helping me understand the parts of my writing that were bad. Guy Bradley, who once told me that, if chemistry didn’t end up being my job, writing might. And a number of people who, over the last four years, said something like, “Send me what you have and I swear I will be honest about whether it sucks.” Those people included: Patrick Rothfuss, Hugh Howey, Amanda Hoerter, and Jodi Reamer at Writers House.

But, maybe more important than any of that, I could not have written this book if I had not been taken on a weirdly remarkable journey into Tier 3 fame by a bunch of very cool and very supportive people who like my videos, tweets, re-blogs, posts, and podcasts. In a very real way, Nerdfighteria created this.

I had to do a lot of really interesting research for this book, so thanks to Sarah Haege, Megan Rojek, and Lauren McCall, who attended the same school as April, Maya, and Andy and let me hang with them for a day to understand what their lives were like. Thanks to Phil Derner Jr. of NYCAviation.com for talking to me for a solid hour about the bowels of the Boeing 767. Thanks to Jessica and Mitty for DM-ing with me about ambulances and first-responder protocols. Thanks to Kevin Gisi, who helped me figure out what’s possible, impossible, and really impossible to do to Wikipedia. Brent Weinstein and Natalie Novak are longtime friends who are also Hollywood agents, so I guess I should both thank them for the insights they provided me and apologize for all the things I said. Also thanks to @cmdrSprocket for naming Slainspotting when I asked on Twitter for a good podcast name about TV deaths.

I also set out to do something difficult and scary in writing about a lot of characters who have very different life experiences than I do, so I want to particularly thank the people who read through this manuscript to help me avoid my own biases and to more accurately represent people who aren’t like me. For that, I am extremely grateful to Ashley C. Ford, Amanda Hoerter, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Gaby Dunn.

Thanks also to my parents, who are just like April’s parents in that all they want to do is help me feel happy and valuable and are great at biting their tongues when they think I’m doing something ridiculous. And to my wonderful friends and coworkers in Montana and elsewhere for being so supportive and comforting and comfortable.

Before I started this I also didn’t really know what editors do, so I’m so grateful to Maya Ziv for holding my hand every step of the way and helping me not freak out over problems big and small. Maya’s advice and ideas were so deeply valuable to this project. Also, thanks to the valedictorian of my high school graduating class, Mary Beth Constant, who by some marvelous fluke of the universe was also the copy editor for this book. You saved my butt so many times. And of course, thanks to all the people at Dutton who helped make this book a thing and helped get it into the hands of readers.

I also want to thank every single person who ever says, “You have to read this book!” to a friend. I don’t care if it’s this book; I just want people to remind each other how wonderful books are. Particularly, thanks to the people who work at bookstores who do that every day—professionals who can help you find books you will love and are, get this, even better at that than computer programs.

About the Author

Hank Green is a vlogger, entrepreneur, science communicator, and probably some other things. His company, Complexly, has produced videos that have been viewed more than two billion times on channels like SciShow, Crash Course, and Vlogbrothers. He lives in Montana with his wife and son.