Book Review: We Are the Ants

Book Review: We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
Copy: eBook
Number of Pages: 464
Date Published: January 19, 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
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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.

I apologize for being on hiatus for more than 3 months now. I’ve been so preoccupied with applications and exams, and to be honest, I’ve also fallen into a major book slump. I wouldn’t dare tell you what book perpetuated the deed, but I am now back from the grave, thanks to this recently published book by Hutchinson.

This will be a pretty short review on account of my heightened emotions after finishing such a beautiful book.

That the minutes and hours between our birth and death are more than frantic moments of chaos. Because if that’s all they are – if there are no rules governing our lives – then our entire existence is a meaningless farce.

Henry has been abducted by aliens (aka sluggers) during multiple occasions. In his most recent abduction, he finds out that the world is about to end, and he alone can put a stop to it with the mere push of a button. However, Henry’s decision does not come easy. With him having to deal with his boyfriend’s suicide, his grandmother’s condition, and an entirely dysfunctional family, Henry wonders whether the world is in fact worth saving. Is he really the right person for the job?

I completely forgot that I was reading an eBook because I devoured this in six hours (yes, no breaks). I strained my eyes, no doubt, but what the hell. This was such a wonderful, wonderful read. I loved everything about it – the story, the writing, the characters, and oh my goodness, a 400-paged book has never seemed so short.

This novel is not about love but a hundred other things – grief, acceptance, family, life, the world, but what amazes me was how these themes were so effortlessly combined into a single beautiful mess (I mean this as a compliment, certainly) of a story.

When the days are darkest, dear, you latch on to happiness wherever you find it.

I loved the dysfunctional characters. It isn’t even your typical boy meets boy and boy saves boy from falling into utter despair, no it isn’t. Every character is flawed; tailored to frustrate you and keep you gritting your teeth to no end, but their individual progresses are worth the read, and nothing makes me more pleased than to read about well-developed characters.

I couldn’t help but compare this book with Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, only because they have slightly similar elements. Nevertheless, We Are the Ants is no doubt more chaotic and leaves the mind to a lot more thinking. Don’t expect anything of the ordinary, you know, like answers eventually coming to light. As I said, this isn’t some run-of-the-mill contemporary work.

It is stunning though, that I can promise you. I would give this book 10 stars if I could.

Favorite Quotes from We Are the Ants

I saw the world from the stars’ point of view, and it looked unbearably lonely.

We could all die. The world could end, and the universe would simply carry on.

I was broken and I was beautiful. I was nothing and I was everything. I didn’t matter to the universe, but I mattered to him.

“Why didn’t you tell me it had gotten so bad?”
“You needed me to be okay.”

We can choose to sit on our asses and wait for the end, or we can live right now. We can march to the edge of the void and scream in defiance. Yell out for all to hear that we do matter. That we are still here, living our absurd, bullshit lives, and nothing can take that away from us. Not rogue comets, not black holes, not the heat death of the universe. We may not get to choose how we die, but we can choose how we live


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