*This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is no way swayed my opinions.*
We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach is one of those books that really gets you thinking about life in general and about how it’s too short. The book is about an asteroid named Ardor which has a 66.6% chance of hitting Earth in two months and it follows group of teenagers who’s stories intertwine in what Kurt Vonnegut referred to as karass. Upon reflection, I’m realizing that I like this book more than I did while I was reading it (I actually gave it a higher rating on Goodreads because even though I didn’t totally love it, I can recognize that it is a well written book). It tends to be sort of depressing if you really think about everything ending (which inevitably forces you to think about where you are in your own life) but I seem to have so much to say that the words in my review are just flowing out of my fingertips! I appreciate books that make people think about deeper subjects and examine their own lives as a result.
The progression of society in the book since the President announced that it would most likely hit Earth seems very realistic. Society seems to be keeping it together in the beginning (with several exceptions) but as they get closer and closer to the expected end of the world date anarchy progressively ensues. People stop showing up for work, because why would you want to spend your final days working for money that won’t matter in the near future when you could be with your loved ones instead? The thing I both like and dislike most about these types of stories are that people are at their most vulnerable when they they think they have nothing to lose they’re more likely to make uncharacteristic choices. I spent the majority of the book wondering if the asteroid would really hit and if it didn’t, would all the characters be okay with the choices they’d been making? It also made me think about how I would act or want to act in their situations.
The story is told from the four different perspectives of Peter, Eliza, Anita and Andy. While their stories were interconnected and many of the chapters featured multiple characters, I had a little trouble getting into Andy’s story (mostly because I truly disliked the supporting characters in his chapters). Each character fulfills a specific stereotype- Peter being the jock that’s looking for deeper meaning in his life, Eliza being the perceived as slutty girl with an artsy flair, Anita being the intelligent student who’s parents do not support her true dream of pursuing music, and Andy being the misunderstood screw-up with potential. It is heartbreaking to read about these teens who’ve done everything they can to secure their futures only to find out that something completely out of their control is about to take it all away from them.
Final Thoughts: We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach is an important read because it challenges your mind and leaves you with thoughts of self reflection. It’s heartbreaking to read about a group of teenagers who are most likely going to have their future taken away from them by forces out of their control but it’s fascinating to see the choices they make once they acquire that knowledge.
Four high school seniors put their hopes, hearts, and humanity on the line as an asteroid hurtles toward Earth in this contemporary novel.
They always say that high school is the best time of your life.
Peter, the star basketball player at his school, is worried “they” might actually be right. Meanwhile Eliza can’t wait to escape Seattle—and her reputation—and perfect-on-paper Anita wonders if admission to Princeton is worth the price of abandoning her real dreams. Andy, for his part, doesn’t understand all the fuss about college and career—the future can wait.
Or can it? Because it turns out the future is hurtling through space with the potential to wipe out life on Earth. As these four seniors—along with the rest of the planet—wait to see what damage an asteroid will cause, they must abandon all thoughts of the future and decide how they’re going to spend what remains of the present. (via Goodreads)