Thursday, 28 January 2016
Review: We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: January 19th, 2016
Source: Publisher **I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
Add to Goodreads
Henry Denton doesn’t know 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.
Since the suicide of his boyfriend, Jesse, Henry has been adrift. He’s become estranged from his best friend, started hooking up with his sworn enemy, and his family is oblivious to everything that’s going on around them. As far as Henry is concerned, a world without Jesse is a world he isn’t sure is worth saving. 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.
I've been sitting here for days saying, you gotta write this review, you gotta write this review. And I just couldn't . We Are the Ants is phenomenal in that it is essentially a potent yet subtle look at mental illness. It took me the whole book to realize that Henry getting abducted by aliens is purely a parallel for what's going on in his head. And yea that might be a spoiler but I also think I'm late to the game to catch onto things. Or maybe he was being abducted... Either way Henry had to decide if the world was worth saving and that triggered his views on his life and the world to be looked at more closely.
Unexpected tragedy has hit Henry which sends him into a downward spiral of grieve and blame. It's easy to see how dark thoughts like guilt can materialize and take hold of your life when you thought everything was perfect. And that's exactly how Henry copes with Jesse's suicide. Henry can't fathom missing the warning signs. But then again I'm sure Jesse knew how to hide them so he wouldn't hurt Henry. Which ultimately he did anyhow.
We Are the Ants does a realistic job of showing the affects of Jesse's death. His boyfriend, Henry and closest friend, Audrey are left devastated and confused. There's that stigma around suicide and how it's selfish. But not to Jesse(in this case) he was hurting and didn't want to hurt anymore. Again where I felt like this was done in a realistic way; Henry can't understand so confusion sweeps him into a black hole. Like with his toxic "relationship" with the popular guy. Who isn't out but has no problem bullying Henry in public and using him behind closed doors. Henry feels like he deserves this. This guy can be sweet and caring but when it's all in secret we all know how ultimately that end is looking terrible. It's heartbreaking.
Diego was a game changer. He comes into Henry's life not to save him but just to let him know the world is a beautiful place. Diego has his issues to work out too. It's just he's living for the moment not the past. And he's trying to show Henry the benefit of that. I loved seeing Henry's mood shift when he's around Diego. Yea there's that attraction there but friendship is certainly what they both need. And Diego being a friend helps Henry realize that he can't leave Audrey in the dark anymore as well. The blame game is an evil bastard.
Henry's internal struggles followed him home too. Of course. And We Are the Ants has that strong family dynamic. Yea, it's a little broken too. But that's how it goes in families. Henry's strong relationship with his mom, grandma and brother(who is quite insensitive yet caring; a very interesting guy to say the least) was something I felt gave him the desire to stay a float. He was bobbing under but he didn't want to let them down.
We Are the Ants was a poignant and smart read. It had Henry deciding the fate of the world with a bleak outlook. The world can be a shitty shitty place but if everyone's telling you they'd press the button to keep civilization alive then there's a reason why. Or maybe it was Henry's brain telling him not all hope is lost here; you can figure it out.
I was not sure what to expect upon diving into We Are the Ants. I saw aliens and emotions and a gay MC(all buzz words for) and was sold. Well I certainly got that and so much more. More than expected in the best way possible. We Are the Ants well done. Well done.