We Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
Genre: YA, GLBT, Science Fiction
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Rating: 5 stars
Synopsis: There are a few things Henry Denton knows, and a few things he doesn’t.
Henry knows that his mom is struggling to keep the family together, and coping by chain-smoking cigarettes. He knows that his older brother is a college dropout with a pregnant girlfriend. He knows that he is slowly losing his grandmother to Alzheimer’s. And he knows that his boyfriend committed suicide last year.
What Henry doesn’t know is why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and he doesn’t know why they continue to steal him from his bed and take him aboard their ship. He doesn’t know why the world is going to end or why the aliens have offered him the opportunity to avert the impending disaster by pressing a big red button.
But they have. And they’ve only given him 144 days to make up his mind.
The question is whether Henry thinks the world is worth saving. That is, until he meets Diego Vega, an artist with a secret past who forces Henry to question his beliefs, his place in the universe, and whether any of it really matters. But before Henry can save the world, he’s got to figure out how to save himself, and the aliens haven’t given him a button for that.
(taken from goodreads.com)
My thoughts on the book:
Henry may seem like a regular teenager but he has been abducted by aliens since he was 13. Now, the aliens had told him the world is about to end and he is the one to decide if this world is worth saving or not.
This decision isn’t an easy one for Henry as much as his life hadn’t been; last year Henry’s boyfriend, Jesse, committed suicide, at school, everyone calls him “space boy”, his grandmother suffers from Alzheimer’s and his home’s life isn’t perfect either. Henry will have to really look at his life as he tries to decide if he even wants to fight for anything at all.
The plot of the book is actually pretty simple, a person trying to find meaning to a difficult life, having lost people along the way and pushing aside others.The plot follows Henry through the days before the end of the world as we get to see m0re and more of his life.
The book is about grief and overcoming it as well as looking for meaning in life, friendship, reaching out for help, trusting others, bullying and finding the right people to have around. Also, the book touches issues in mental health and suicide (obviously).
The characters were really intense, even the less important ones. I could see myself a lot in Henry. The way he sees the world is mostly through a depressed person’s eyes, and you can feel it in the way he describes what’s happening, his thoughts and such. His suffering is palpable.
The secondary characters felt three dimensional and real as well, many times authors neglect these characters but this wasn’t the case. Their presences and storylines were meaningful too. In some way, you can see yourself in them too.
Henry’s love interest in the book, Diego Vega, is one ray of sunshine. I know this is a weird thing to talk about in a review, but i just had to say it. He was such a sweetheart.
The interactions between Henry and the people around him made me wonder a lot about what Henry suffered from. At one point Henry says he visited psychiatrists and psychologists before and he was given a diagnose his mother didn’t believe in. Now, knowing that his mother dismissed it, i can’t help but wonder if the author actually did too, or he was actually telling us what Henry going through. I wish i could know because it wasn’t just a mental illness but a mental disorder and those never make the cut in, though awareness of mental disorders should be as important as mental illnesses.
The writing style of the book is absolutely fantastic, within a few paragraphs i was awed and attached to the characters and the story.
Honestly, there are so many great quotes and eloquent was of tale tell is amazing.
Out in the world, crawiling in a field at the edge of some bullshit town with a name like Shoshoni or Medicine Bow, is an ant. You weren’t aware of it. Didn’t know whether it was a soldier, a drone, or the queen. Didn’t care if it was scouting for food to drag back to the nest or bulding new tunnels for wriggly ant larvae. Until now that ant simply didn’t exist for you. If I hadn’t mentioned it, you would have continued with your life[…] But whether you knew about it or not. that ant is still out there doing ant things while you wait for the next text message to prove that out of the seven billion self-centred people onthis planet, you are important.[…]
But you don’t.
Because we are the ants.
Also, the pace of the book is pretty forward, there isn’t a moment where the story gets boring or dull.
I know i should comment on the stuff i didn’t like about the book, but to be honest there wasn’t such a thing. Seriously, i’m in love with this book.
Before i leave you, i wanted to share with you this amazing “We are the ants” short story i just found about, you can read it here. Obviously, read it after you finish the book so it won’t spoil anything for you.
‘Til next time 😉