Review: We Are The Ants Plus Side Rambling (Always A Plus!)

by - 9:58 PM

we are the ants book cover

We Are The Ants

by Shaun David Hutchinson
From the “author to watch” (Kirkus Reviews) 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.

"Life is bullshit."

I, er, don't even know how to start with this review. I am horrific at using time wisely, so of course I read it about 5 days before I decided to review it. Luckily, I only forget some things... *cue worried audience of maybe one person*

Aliens

You must've (mistakenly??) thought this was sci-fi! Well you're right for the first 150 pages, at least. Then the aliens don't really show up until they're needed as an obstacle for Henriego (yes I made a ship name don't judge - they're so cutteeee). Still wondering if the whole alien/doomsday thing was a giant metaphor for whether Henry thought the world was worth saving/living for or not. Clever, Mr. Brilliant Author. CLEVER.

The Characters

The characters are all such tortured little bunnies - I want to fanatically squeeze them all and tell them everything's going to be okay... Except it probably isn't, because, you know - doomsday is coming and all that. Henry was SUCH a refreshing perspective! He was incredibly strong and brave and quirky, but you could tell he still had flaws - he could be a little more thoughtful, a little more brave, a little more lots of things. Potential. But he wasn't. And that was enough for the people around him. He was still struggling to deal with Jesse's suicide (his former boyfriend whom he loved a bunch but I never really cared for him because we never met him??) while Marcus, his messed up, secretly gay, flamboyantly popular fuck buddy (this book is a book of tortured souls, man) makes Henry feel like dirt. Then they hook up a bunch still. Then Diego comes in.

(also here's a good depression quote from this book)

“Depression isn't a war you win. It's a battle you fight every day. You never stop, never get to rest.”

DIEGO. I LOVE DIEGO VEGA. I'm pretty sure there's an artist with a similar name. *Googles artist* YES THERE IS A ARTIST WITH THE NAME OF DIEGO! Awwwww.... Look at Helen remembering stuff from art class and studying Frida Kahlo! ANYWAY. Diego is also tortured (an ongoing trend here - but I love it #sorrynotsorry), and he has a shady past that Henry wants to know about but Diego refuses to tell him (until a point when they knew each other really well and were really close so then they have heart-to-heart confessions). He's such a character! I loved him with Henry, because Diego showed up (pretending to be a nude model actually) at a time when Henry was an emotional pile of dog shit (thanks Marcus) and super-depressed and not wanting to press the button, and is pretty much what keeps Henry from killing himself. Honestly, they're all such deep, emotionally raw characters with issues (ahem Marcus ahem) and I don't even know how to describe it.

Henriego

With time, I could probably think up a better ship name. Alas, I don't have the time. ANYWAY. Their banter:

"Mr. Kauffman forced us to read A Farewell To Arms last year. I hated it. Hemingway's writing is so bland. He never says anything."...
"It's not about what he says but what he doesn't say."
I sniffed the air. "I smell bullshit. Do you smell bullshit?"
..."It's not bullshit... Hemingway wrote in the negative spaces. His stories were shaped by what he didn't tell you."
"It still sounds like bullshit," I said with a smirk.

YOU SEE THAT? SEE IT. They're so cute! [Show spoiler]

Me Trying To Figure Out My Feelings On This Book

Me Trying To Figure Out My Feelings On The Ending

Seriously. I don't know if this is a spoiler or not so be warned: this is the last sentence (not including the letter to Ms. Faraci...

"Honestly? It doesn't matter."

YES. You guessed it. HE IS TALKING ABOUT THE WHOLE DOOMSDAY THING. AH. WAH. Really just adds to my theory that it was all just a spectacularly huge metaphor for whether Henry will think the world is worth saving. Very thought provoking. I think this is a fitting ending for a spectacular novel.

“We're all Holden Caulfield at fifteen, but when we grow up we want to be Atticus Finch.”

Thoughts

All in all, I absolutely LOVED this novel. I might, er, be flailing, er, a LITTLE bit (hahaha understatement of the year).... but I can see why some people might DNF after the first 150 pages. I don't know, I guess some people are genuinely interested in sci-fi! Lol, no - sci-fi is really cool, but THIS BOOK ISN'T THAT. Some people just don't like romance? And then the rest of the people are homophobes. If you're homophobic, what are you doing here? #weneeddiversebooks ANYWAY. I loved this book, some might not love it, I read it and it got me out of a slump, yada yada. JUST READ THE DAMN BOOK. You won't regret it? :)

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13 comments

  1. I actually just got this from the library yesterday, so I am so glad you enjoyed it so much! I am a huge fan of sci-fi so this sounds like it will be right up my alley. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ♥

    ~ Zoe @ Stories on Stage

    ReplyDelete
  2. First of all, your rambling is extremely adorable, Helen! Super enjoyed reading your review and I officially think I need to read this one soon. I'm all for emotionally raw characters with tortured souls. Also, I didn't realize this was a queer story- definitely bumping it up on my TBR!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AW! Thank you! TORTURED SOULS ARE ALWAYS INTERESTING. And yes - I think queer stories should totally be bumped up! :)

      Delete
  3. THIS BOOK'S BLURB HAS ME SO HOOKED ALREADY except I'm a little worried it's going to be one of those books where there are heaps and heaps of themes like coming out and suicide and depression and anxiety and dysfunctional parents and it's all going to get muddled up. Did you read my review on How Not To Disappear? You'll get what I mean if you did. Did you find any problems like that with it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not at all! I DID in fact read your review on How Not To Disappear, and this book wasn't like that! It had a plot (kinda) and didn't have too many themes! If it DID, I didn't notice because they'd probably been weaved in super subtly!

      Delete
  4. I have seen this book before and never really looked at the synopsis before. I had no idea what a masterpiece this book is. I am so convinced by your character analyses and the fact that there is so much more to this story than the sci-fi element. I am definitely going to check this one out! <3

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh oh I really want to read this one! I've kind of seen it around with mostly positive thoughts?! SO ERGO I NEED IT. I confess the title turned me off originally but noooot anymore. YOU'VE CONVINCED ME. ;D

    ReplyDelete
  6. This review captures how much I loved this book. HENRY is just so messed up and real, in the best of ways -- he's one of the most authentic YA characters I've ever read about. Seriously. I shipped him and Diego so hard, it was seriously such a beautiful pairing. You seriously need to read The Five Stages Of Andrew Brawley.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's just such a great book AND the gay ship is perfection.
      -Jon from Bookish Antics

      Delete
  7. I haven't heard too much about this but it sounds interesting. Glad you enjoyed it!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Now I'm also wondering if the thing was a metaphor and I haven't even read the book yet xD This does sound pretty good though, although that last line might make me flip a table, haha!

    ReplyDelete
  9. this is still my favourite book of 2016! I loved it so much and I loved your review! :D

    ReplyDelete
  10. I absolutely LOVE how I can tell how much you enjoyed this book because of the way you've written about it! :D This book is on my TBR because it's LGBTQIA+, and I don't know why i haven't read it yet! This is the second positive review that I have read for it, and I have to say that your review has me actually REALLY excited to read it. Like, I want to read it now because of how much you loved it :D

    I really like reading about tortured characters, so I am pretty sure that I will 100% adore them, especially if there is a good ship involved. (If you haven't already, read The Raven Cycle because m/m ship and tortured characters in there, too).

    Thank you for this awesome review!

    ReplyDelete

HI. BE YOUNG. BE DOPE. BE PROUD. LIKE AN AMERICAN.
(unless you don't want to. or if you're not american. or young. or dope.)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Review: We Are The Ants Plus Side Rambling (Always A Plus!)

we are the ants book cover

We Are The Ants

by Shaun David Hutchinson
From the “author to watch” (Kirkus Reviews) 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.

"Life is bullshit."

I, er, don't even know how to start with this review. I am horrific at using time wisely, so of course I read it about 5 days before I decided to review it. Luckily, I only forget some things... *cue worried audience of maybe one person*

Aliens

You must've (mistakenly??) thought this was sci-fi! Well you're right for the first 150 pages, at least. Then the aliens don't really show up until they're needed as an obstacle for Henriego (yes I made a ship name don't judge - they're so cutteeee). Still wondering if the whole alien/doomsday thing was a giant metaphor for whether Henry thought the world was worth saving/living for or not. Clever, Mr. Brilliant Author. CLEVER.

The Characters

The characters are all such tortured little bunnies - I want to fanatically squeeze them all and tell them everything's going to be okay... Except it probably isn't, because, you know - doomsday is coming and all that. Henry was SUCH a refreshing perspective! He was incredibly strong and brave and quirky, but you could tell he still had flaws - he could be a little more thoughtful, a little more brave, a little more lots of things. Potential. But he wasn't. And that was enough for the people around him. He was still struggling to deal with Jesse's suicide (his former boyfriend whom he loved a bunch but I never really cared for him because we never met him??) while Marcus, his messed up, secretly gay, flamboyantly popular fuck buddy (this book is a book of tortured souls, man) makes Henry feel like dirt. Then they hook up a bunch still. Then Diego comes in.

(also here's a good depression quote from this book)

“Depression isn't a war you win. It's a battle you fight every day. You never stop, never get to rest.”

DIEGO. I LOVE DIEGO VEGA. I'm pretty sure there's an artist with a similar name. *Googles artist* YES THERE IS A ARTIST WITH THE NAME OF DIEGO! Awwwww.... Look at Helen remembering stuff from art class and studying Frida Kahlo! ANYWAY. Diego is also tortured (an ongoing trend here - but I love it #sorrynotsorry), and he has a shady past that Henry wants to know about but Diego refuses to tell him (until a point when they knew each other really well and were really close so then they have heart-to-heart confessions). He's such a character! I loved him with Henry, because Diego showed up (pretending to be a nude model actually) at a time when Henry was an emotional pile of dog shit (thanks Marcus) and super-depressed and not wanting to press the button, and is pretty much what keeps Henry from killing himself. Honestly, they're all such deep, emotionally raw characters with issues (ahem Marcus ahem) and I don't even know how to describe it.

Henriego

With time, I could probably think up a better ship name. Alas, I don't have the time. ANYWAY. Their banter:

"Mr. Kauffman forced us to read A Farewell To Arms last year. I hated it. Hemingway's writing is so bland. He never says anything."...
"It's not about what he says but what he doesn't say."
I sniffed the air. "I smell bullshit. Do you smell bullshit?"
..."It's not bullshit... Hemingway wrote in the negative spaces. His stories were shaped by what he didn't tell you."
"It still sounds like bullshit," I said with a smirk.

YOU SEE THAT? SEE IT. They're so cute! [Show spoiler]

Me Trying To Figure Out My Feelings On This Book

Me Trying To Figure Out My Feelings On The Ending

Seriously. I don't know if this is a spoiler or not so be warned: this is the last sentence (not including the letter to Ms. Faraci...

"Honestly? It doesn't matter."

YES. You guessed it. HE IS TALKING ABOUT THE WHOLE DOOMSDAY THING. AH. WAH. Really just adds to my theory that it was all just a spectacularly huge metaphor for whether Henry will think the world is worth saving. Very thought provoking. I think this is a fitting ending for a spectacular novel.

“We're all Holden Caulfield at fifteen, but when we grow up we want to be Atticus Finch.”

Thoughts

All in all, I absolutely LOVED this novel. I might, er, be flailing, er, a LITTLE bit (hahaha understatement of the year).... but I can see why some people might DNF after the first 150 pages. I don't know, I guess some people are genuinely interested in sci-fi! Lol, no - sci-fi is really cool, but THIS BOOK ISN'T THAT. Some people just don't like romance? And then the rest of the people are homophobes. If you're homophobic, what are you doing here? #weneeddiversebooks ANYWAY. I loved this book, some might not love it, I read it and it got me out of a slump, yada yada. JUST READ THE DAMN BOOK. You won't regret it? :)

13 comments:

  1. I actually just got this from the library yesterday, so I am so glad you enjoyed it so much! I am a huge fan of sci-fi so this sounds like it will be right up my alley. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ♥

    ~ Zoe @ Stories on Stage

    ReplyDelete
  2. First of all, your rambling is extremely adorable, Helen! Super enjoyed reading your review and I officially think I need to read this one soon. I'm all for emotionally raw characters with tortured souls. Also, I didn't realize this was a queer story- definitely bumping it up on my TBR!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AW! Thank you! TORTURED SOULS ARE ALWAYS INTERESTING. And yes - I think queer stories should totally be bumped up! :)

      Delete
  3. THIS BOOK'S BLURB HAS ME SO HOOKED ALREADY except I'm a little worried it's going to be one of those books where there are heaps and heaps of themes like coming out and suicide and depression and anxiety and dysfunctional parents and it's all going to get muddled up. Did you read my review on How Not To Disappear? You'll get what I mean if you did. Did you find any problems like that with it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not at all! I DID in fact read your review on How Not To Disappear, and this book wasn't like that! It had a plot (kinda) and didn't have too many themes! If it DID, I didn't notice because they'd probably been weaved in super subtly!

      Delete
  4. I have seen this book before and never really looked at the synopsis before. I had no idea what a masterpiece this book is. I am so convinced by your character analyses and the fact that there is so much more to this story than the sci-fi element. I am definitely going to check this one out! <3

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh oh I really want to read this one! I've kind of seen it around with mostly positive thoughts?! SO ERGO I NEED IT. I confess the title turned me off originally but noooot anymore. YOU'VE CONVINCED ME. ;D

    ReplyDelete
  6. This review captures how much I loved this book. HENRY is just so messed up and real, in the best of ways -- he's one of the most authentic YA characters I've ever read about. Seriously. I shipped him and Diego so hard, it was seriously such a beautiful pairing. You seriously need to read The Five Stages Of Andrew Brawley.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's just such a great book AND the gay ship is perfection.
      -Jon from Bookish Antics

      Delete
  7. I haven't heard too much about this but it sounds interesting. Glad you enjoyed it!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Now I'm also wondering if the thing was a metaphor and I haven't even read the book yet xD This does sound pretty good though, although that last line might make me flip a table, haha!

    ReplyDelete
  9. this is still my favourite book of 2016! I loved it so much and I loved your review! :D

    ReplyDelete
  10. I absolutely LOVE how I can tell how much you enjoyed this book because of the way you've written about it! :D This book is on my TBR because it's LGBTQIA+, and I don't know why i haven't read it yet! This is the second positive review that I have read for it, and I have to say that your review has me actually REALLY excited to read it. Like, I want to read it now because of how much you loved it :D

    I really like reading about tortured characters, so I am pretty sure that I will 100% adore them, especially if there is a good ship involved. (If you haven't already, read The Raven Cycle because m/m ship and tortured characters in there, too).

    Thank you for this awesome review!

    ReplyDelete

HI. BE YOUNG. BE DOPE. BE PROUD. LIKE AN AMERICAN.
(unless you don't want to. or if you're not american. or young. or dope.)