Title: We All Looked Up
Author: Tommy Wallach
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Series: Stand Alone
Year Published: 2015
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Realistic
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.
The best books, they don’t talk about things you never thought about before. They talk about things you’d always thought about, but that you didn’t think anyone else had thought about. You read them, and suddenly you’re a little bit less alone in the world. You’re part of this cosmic community of people who’ve thought about this thing, whatever it happens to be. I think that’s what happened to you today. This fear, of squandering your future, was already on your mind. I just underlined it for you.
What I expected: An action-packed novel where teenagers ditch their problems and just enjoy an excited-thrilling adventure at the end of the world.
What truly happened: A new perspective of what actually would happen if the Earth is about to be eradicated by an asteroid. Brilliant! 😀
We All Looked Up revolves around four teenagers (Elizia, Anita, Peter and Andy), each attach with labels (the jock, the slacker, the outcast and the overachiever). They are told their lives on Earth is running out of time – precisely two months before an evil asteroid will hit Earth and there’s 66.66% of chance they are going to die. Perhaps the odds are in their favours?
Now, allow me to explain the truth of this novel…do you get what I’m trying to say? Yes? No? Maybe?
I really like this book, it’s unusual compared to other apocalyptic novels. It stands out. Your usual cliches don’t happen as much in this novel compared to other contemporaries. This novel is deep. It’s meaningful. Definitely well-written in terms of the messages the author is trying to get across. Though, if you’re after a full-on action-packed novel then this may not be for you. I mean, there are a lot of actions in this novel but it’s different?
To others, yes, this novel does includes several hysterical actions that you would expect in an apocalyptic novel. However to me, the subelements stand out; by which I mean the philosophical aspect of this novel – that it’s realistic and there is a sense of religion underline throughout it. The themes approached in the novel is fantastically well-done. At the same time, this novel may come across as slightly confronting for younger readers. Moreover, this book is very much about the four teenagers discovering their identity – of how they fit into this chaotic world, of what they really want in life and who they want to be – by simply starting to live.
Now, let’s talk about the book 😉
First thing first, I have learnt to love this one word that I never really thought about. Karass. It is when a group of people who, unknown to themselves, are somehow connected or linked, specifically to fulfill the will of God. See, this is where the religious element comes in for this novel. I think this word sounds very kickass and it is almost as beautiful as the word serendipitous. So thank you Mr. Wallach for introducing this word to me! ^-^
Secondly, I love how Wallach wrote about four very different characters, all with different personalities and different voices, yet they created a karass and they all became great friends through variety of adversities. In real life, I think everyone would be surprised by who their friends may turned out to be if they just ditch their labels for once. Some people like Peter in the novel carries the label of being a jock, yet he spends his time ponders about the meaning of life and the idea of Pyrrhic victory. Anyway, Wallach successfully developed those characters without them sounding the same.
Finally, my favourite character is Anita. I may not be an overachiever at school anymore but I can relate to her the most. No, my parents are not as disciplinal as Anita’s and nor are they wealthy. I certainly hope so though, so I can have a library to myself. It will be my dream come true. But Anita is one who I can relate to and envy the most. I think when it comes to characters, either you pick the one you wish it’s you in real life or you choose the one that has similar life experience to you. I mean, isn’t that always the case? When it comes to romance, Anita doesn’t make a move compared to Eliza, in fact the way romance occurs to Anita is parallel to my life.
My second favourite character is Mr.McArthur! 😀 He is AMAZING!
If I have a teacher like him (which I sort of do) I would buy him his favourite food everyday. It will be an honour if I could meet him in real life! He is one of those people whom you wish will be your mentor for the rest of your life. Am I right?
I also love the fact how Andy slowly discovers his true friends as the novel progresses, and Peter’s sensibility, as well as the fact Wallach mentions Tumblr in his book. I mean, that is my favourite place to go to when I want to read about the new bookish goss, and no authors as far as my reading experience goes have included Tumblr in their novels. So Mr Wallach you rock! ❤.❤
The character that I like least is Eliza. I don’t know why, but I feel like she is nonchalant towards everything she does even though she does cares about some things. She gives out this really cool vibe that when you walk pass her – you either shrinks or you meets her with the same intensity eyes to eyes. Yes, she tries to unite the society but I feel like it’s not her style to do that? She seems too ignorant to worry about the real world issues which in fact is not what happened. Maybe I just wish it is Anita instead. Awkward because Wallach says in an Q&A that he is most likely to resembles Eliza. 😦
Then there is Misery and Bobo..
They p*ss me off! Bobo is the reason why there are so many violence and abusive cases out there! Why? I mean why would you want to hurt someone you love? It just doesn’t make any sense to me why men can be so aggressive when they don’t get what they want. It scares me into thinking that this could be anyone you know. Then there is Misery. From the start till the end, I have no idea why Misery would not leave Bobo. I just don’t understand this dysfunctional relationship between them. What has happened to cause the change in Misery? I think it will be more convincing if Wallach includes a past/background story of Misery and Bobo’s love story.
P.S. I can’t believe that there is an album that goes with this novel! I mean isn’t that amazing? Listening to the music when you’re not reading the book, and when you’re charging your phone/i-pod or whatever it’s that may be, you will be reading the novel. So cool! 😀
Final Words: This novel took a new perspective for an apocalyptic novel. I reckon it goes against the old order of what a supposedly end-of-the-world contemporary novel should be like. So well done to Mr Wallach! So if you want a fresh take on contemporary genre with romance not being the main element then this is a book you should definitely read. I’m glad this is a standalone as anymore of this story continued would just destroy the plot. For me, this novel was excellent at the start, however, as it continued it descended slightly.