We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

We Are the Ants cover

Details & Summary

Title: We Are the Ants
Author: Shaun David Hutchinson
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: January 19th 2016
Pages: 464

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.

My thoughts…

I’ve you read my three favourite books of 2016, you know that this one was at the top of the list.

Guys, I can’t even describe how this book made me feel which is a problem because 1) I’m supposed to review it here and 2) I’m a writer and words are supposed to be my number one tool. I can’t promise this review will be good because I have so many feelings and things to say about this book, but I’ll try my best.

If you’ve read the summary, you might think this is just another romance story. You’re probably thinking something along the lines of “Let me guess. He meets this new guy, falls totally in love with him, and decides humanity is worth saving after all, right?”, followed by an eye roll. Truth be told, I thought the same thing. I didn’t like the premise of the story at all – aliens, seriously? – but I’m so glad I gave this book a shot. If I hadn’t, I would’ve missed out on one of the best YA books I’ve ever read.

Your entire sense of self-worth is predicated upon your belief that you matter, that you matter to the universe. But you don’t. Because we are the ants.

Let’s get things straight right away: this is not a romance story. It’s so much more.

Diego plays an important part in Henry’s story, but he’s not the only one. Every character in this novel is well-rounded, complex, and affects Henry’s life and the decisions and choices he makes.

It might sound like a fun, wacky, light read – this books features alien abductions after all – but, again, it is so much more than that. The story takes on “dark” subject matter, but also doesn’t overdo it. While the overall tone of the book is quite sullen for most of the book, there are just enough comic and heart-warming moments to strike a balance.

We Are the Ants is a complex story in which smart, funny, nihilistic Henry explores the world around him and tries to make sense of it all while dealing with complicated family relationships, friendships, grief, love, and all other challenges that come our way through life.

“Dreams are hopeful because they exist as pure possibility. Unlike memories, which are fossils, long dead and buried deep.”

It is remarkable and poignant and insightful, and it will leave you reeling long after you’ve finished.

“We may not get to choose how we die, but we can chose how we live. The universe may forget us, but it doesn’t matter. Because we are the ants, and we’ll keep marching on.”

Rating

Recommended for…

I highly recommend this book to anyone.

***

Have you read it? Were you as blown away as I was? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

6 thoughts on “We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

  1. […] We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson: it’s contemporary, but “sluggers” and (alien) abductions play a big part in the story so it was different from anything I’d read before. But the best part of this book is main character Henry, who’s smart, funny and nihilistic. He’s a teenage boy trying to make sense of the world while dealing with very complicated (and also abusive) relationships. He’s the kind of character you want to give a hug and tell him it’s all going to be okay. Added bonus: family plays a big role in We Are the Ants, which is nice to see in a YA novel. […]

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