11 December 2015

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

I love a good book that makes you think. I read my fair share of books but not a lot of them affected me the way We All Looked Up did, but that's what I expect from stories about the end of the world.  This one infiltrated my dreams, man. Here, let me tell you about it.

"Before the asteroid we let ourselves be defined by labels:
The athlete, the outcast, the slacker, the overachiever. 

But then we all looked up and everything changed. 

They said it would be here in two months. That gave us two months to leave our labels behind. Two months to become something bigger than what we'd been, something that would last even after the end. 

Two months to really live."

I was actually pretty surprised when I started reading this and liked it. I was talking to a regular customer at work (ages ago now) who pointed this out to me and asked if I'd read it. When I said I hadn't she told me why she didn't like it so I was like, well I won't be reading that any time soon. But the opposite kind of happened and I was like why, whhhy, did that person not like it? What was it about the style/story that made them dislike it? So I picked it up and gave it a whirl and actually enjoyed it. It's one that has stuck with me and I've even changed the initial 3 star rating to a 4 star (Good job, Tommy Wallach)

I mean, my regulars who recommend books to me are young teen girls who are really in to their Cassandra Clare and the like. Being probably 10 years older than them (omg, gross) I read this and really enjoyed the writing style and the characters. We All Looked Up is split between four viewpoints (Peter, Eliza, Andy and Anita) who are all so very different and are aged at about 18. In real life, I probably wouldn't like a lot of them, but then to be fair, I generally don't like 18 year olds (and we could even extend that to just people in general if we wanted real honesty points) but I thoroughly enjoyed the plot being told and retold through four different sets of eyes. It is my absolute favourite when I find something out that another character doesn't know, the anticipation of them finding out and all hell breaking loose is why I get out of bed in the morning. What can I say, I like to watch the world burn.  

Who knew a cynic like me would enjoy an end of the world book so much? It was pretty freeing because it got me to thinking what I would do if the apocalypse was on the agenda and it's definitely a book that puts worries and plans into perspective. I feel everyone can relate to at least one of the characters; they are characters who are taking risks after playing it safe their whole life, characters that are finally doing something meaningful and following their ambitions. It's a little clich├ęd in the sense that there is a doomsday countdown throughout (with a 66.6% chance of the asteroid hitting; will it hit, won't it hit?!) but it's different to other books I've read with the countdowns. The characters know about the countdown from pretty much the start so it's more of will the world end or won't it? (Rather than the painfully obvious well something is going to happen, and soon.

Now, I don't want to spoil anything, but one of the things that made me give this a lower rating was the blur that was the ending. There were some parts towards the end where it was so vague I didn't 100% know what was going on and when major events went down I found myself having to reread them at least twice to get what happened. Thinking now I'm not even sure if what I thought happened actually did happen, you know? (Well, maybe not if you haven't read it and I'm being very around the bush about it, but still). There were also huge leaps of time toward the ending, it's not a big thing, but it felt like time was precious and all of a sudden a week had come and gone with nothing significant happening. It's the end of the actual world. Stop procrastinating. Then there were some moments where I read it and I didn't like the message coming across from the characters, but to each their own.

Would I recommend it? Yes. If you enjoy your contemporary, dystopia-esque novels then go for it. Remember though that these characters are just a little older than your average YA character and a lot of real stuff happens in it (drugs, sex, philosophical ideas and debates *won't somebody please think of the children*) and it probably hasn't affected my life in a world-changing way but it did make me stop when I read it, and think how life is too short and that I worry far too much etc. 

What 4 stars mean on my system

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  1. I've had this on my list for a bit, and I definitely want to give it a read. Sounds quite intriguing.

    1. I think you'll like it, you should definitely get round to it soon :)

  2. Hmm, the premise reminds me a bit of All We Have is Now by Lisa Schroeder. I'll have to look more into this one... my to be read list is probably about to get a little longer!

    1. <3 I'm going to look in to that Lisa Schroeder one, although I don't know if I completely love this because of the characters and Wallach's writing style