Book Review: We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

81XDLA-EAhLFrom the author of The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley comes a brand-new novel about a teenage boy who must decide whether or not the world is worth saving.

Henry Denton has spent years being periodically abducted by aliens. Then the aliens give him an ultimatum: The world will end in 144 days, and all Henry has to do to stop it is push a big red button.

Only he isn’t sure he wants to.

After all, life hasn’t been great for Henry. His mom is a struggling waitress held together by a thin layer of cigarette smoke. His brother is a jobless dropout who just knocked someone up. His grandmother is slowly losing herself to Alzheimer’s. And Henry is still dealing with the grief of his boyfriend’s suicide last year.

Wiping the slate clean sounds like a pretty good choice to him.

But Henry is a scientist first, and facing the question thoroughly and logically, he begins to look for pros and cons: in the bully who is his perpetual one-night stand, in the best friend who betrayed him, in the brilliant and mysterious boy who walked into the wrong class. Weighing the pain and the joy that surrounds him, Henry is left with the ultimate choice: push the button and save the planet and everyone on it…or let the world—and his pain—be destroyed forever, (Goodreads).

*SPOILER ALERT: I actually don’t think this is a spoiler but I have a theory I want to discuss at the end which might be a spoiler.  I will put an asterisk (*) right before that paragraph in case you don’t want to read it!

I didn’t think I would like this book that much, and to be honest, I almost put this book down after reading the first page because Henry was so aggressive and angsty.  I kind of hate reading about bad attitude teens, and from the book’s description, this seemed like a cheesy romance but sometimes the boy gets abducted by aliens, and that’s not really my cup of tea.

I’m so glad I gave this book a chance.  I think I’m in the mood for a book with multiple layers like the one’s We are The Ants had.  I really felt for Henry as his story continued to unfold and seeing what he went through really made me emotional at some points.

I was so into following Henry’s relationship with Audrey.  After experiencing such a traumatic event like the one they went through, the way both of those characters changed and grew together was so incredible and really touched me.  Stories of friendships really mean the world to me because they are so complex (I can make the argument that they are more interesting to read than romantic relationships but we don’t have to go there today) and I loved how even though Audrey and Henry weren’t perfect, they were still able to find their way back to each other.

I. Loved. Henry.  I know I wasn’t too big of a fan in the beginning, but this character was one of the most dynamic that I’ve read in ages, and seeing his growth really moved me.  It was more than just the aliens and the pressure to save the world, but throughout all of his struggles with his family, Diego, Marcus, Jesse, and his mental health, he really tried to keep it together and be strong for the people in his life.  A lot of the times, I feel like no matter what, I need to be the strong one and put other’s problems before my own.  However, Henry’s eventual realization that he also needed to help himself was something I definitely needed to read, especially in this point of my life right now.

If I could change anything I think it would be that this book did not need to be almost 500 pages long.  There were moments that were very repetitive and I feel like the story was kind of going in circles in the middle.  I’m talking about repetitive in Henry’s actions, and thought process, not in motifs or themes that kept popping up. (I actually LOVED the gravity motif).  A lot of it just wasn’t necessary in my opinion.  I feel like this book could have been 300 pages maximum.

*I have a theory that the sluggers weren’t real and that Henry has some sort of personality disorder where he hallucinates the aliens and his claim about the end of the world and pressing the button was just an excuse to finally end his life.  This is something I repeatedly thought about while reading the book and the last couple of chapters kind of confirmed this theory for me but I could also not be making any sense at all.  If you read this, please let me know if you think so too!*

Overall, the book wasn’t perfect, but it was just what I needed.  I was deep in my feelings but in the best way.

[[EDIT: I have since changed my rating from 4 Stars to 3 Stars.  My thoughts remain the same!]]

3/5 Stars

3 stars

Have you read We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson?  Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

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