I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach
Published by Simon and Schuster on 2015-03-31
Genres: Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, New Experience, Social Issues, Young Adult
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Four high school seniors put their hopes, hearts, and humanity on the line as an asteroid hurtles toward Earth in this contemporary novel.They always say that high school is the best time of your life. Peter, the star basketball player at his school, is worried “they” might actually be right. Meanwhile Eliza can’t wait to escape Seattle—and her reputation—and perfect-on-paper Anita wonders if admission to Princeton is worth the price of abandoning her real dreams. Andy, for his part, doesn’t understand all the fuss about college and career—the future can wait. Or can it? Because it turns out the future is hurtling through space with the potential to wipe out life on Earth. As these four seniors—along with the rest of the planet—wait to see what damage an asteroid will cause, they must abandon all thoughts of the future and decide how they’re going to spend what remains of the present.
If We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach was a person and not a book, it would be a hipster. I was drawn to We All Looked Up because the premise of four teenagers facing the end of the world sounded interesting. I also love the simple starkness of the cover. It is a truth that good covers are hard to resist. To be completely frank with you, as I read Wallach’s debut, I could not help but compare the book with Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts, a novel with a similar premise that came out in 2013, only set on an island instead of Seattle and with three teenage point of views instead of four. Fortunately, We All Looked Up is better than Tumble & Fall but not by much.
Peter is an all American boy. He is on the basketball team, student council, and has the perfectly coiffed girlfriend. He is well liked, smart, and a leader. His future is bright and shining. So, when news of the asteroid hits, Peter is understandably upset because he has his entire future ahead of him. Of the four narrating characters, Peter is the one who lives the charmed life. He has the good family. His sister who calls herself Misery has some issues, but other than that Peter is happy. Except, oh, he’s not attracted to his girlfriend as much as he is attracted to Eliza. And so, we see glimmers of cracks in Peter’s perfect facade. I will admit that of the four characters he is the most simple and kind of boring.
The other male main character in We All Looked Up is Andy. He is a ne’er do well, but an innocent sort. He is the slacker trope personified. Andy lives in his mom’s basement. His friends are big into drugs and drinking and spend all their time in his basement. So, Andy has this big huge crush on Eliza, one of the female main characters. He’s also a virgin. Andy has decided that he needs to lose his virginity before the world ends to Eliza, and so his chapters are him doing his best to find a way to that goal. Only, Eliza is just not that into Andy. And besides, there’s another girl who might be into him.
As for female characters, there is Eliza who has a reputation for being easy because of a rumor started by Peter’s girlfriend who hates Eliza, because Peter is attracted to Eliza. Pretty much every male in this book is attracted to Eliza, ha ha. She dresses a certain way, because she’s decided to embrace her label of being easy. Anyways, the end of the world comes, and as the school and the Seattle area where the teens live goes into lockdown, Eliza documents it with her camera. She begins a Tumblr which goes viral. Of the four main characters, Eliza is the most multifaceted and the most interesting. Aside from the whole apocalypse thing, Eliza has the hardest road to walk — what with her reputation and with trouble at home.
Finally, there is Anita. Anita is a perfectionist and very driven because of her family. You see, her dad only wants the best for her and wants her to achieve Fortune 500 status. Anita, though, dreams of something else. She dreams of becoming a musician. When the world begins to go to pieces, Anita finally begins pursuing her dream, with the help of Andy. Anita is interesting, kind of, however there are times when she feels like the token Black character.
I honestly wanted to like We All Looked Up more than I did. It’s an okay book, but writing this review a week after I finished it, I have to admit that nothing stands out about this book in my mind except Eliza, and even she is not enough to make this a five star read. If you are not fatigued by end of the world fare, give We All Looked Up a shot. There is probably something you can identify with in at least one of the four characters. Plenty of other people seemed to love this book, but for me, personally, I thought it was merely okay.