Summary and book reviews of We Are the Ants by Shaun Hutchinson

We Are the Ants

by Shaun Hutchinson

We Are the Ants by Shaun Hutchinson X
We Are the Ants by Shaun Hutchinson
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2016, 464 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2017, 480 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez
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About this Book

Book Summary

From the "author to watch" (Kirkus Reviews) of The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley comes a brand-new novel about a teenage boy who must decide whether or not the world is worth saving.

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.

TWO POSSIBILITIES EXIST: EITHER WE ARE ALONE IN THE UNIVERSE OR WE ARE NOT. BOTH ARE EQUALLY TERRIFYING.
—Arthur C. Clarke

Chemistry: Extra Credit Project

Life is bullshit.

Consider your life for a moment. Think about all those little rituals that sustain you throughout your day—from the moment you wake up until that last, lonely midnight hour when you guzzle a gallon of NyQuil to drown out the persistent voice in your head. Th e one that whispers you should give up, give in, that tomorrow won't be better than today. Th ink about the absurdity of brushing your teeth, of arguing with your mother over the appropriateness of what you're wearing to school, of homework, of grade-point averages and boyfriends and hot school lunches.

And life.

Think about the absurdity of life.

When you break down the things we do every day to their component pieces, you begin to understand how ridiculous they are. Like kissing, for instance. You wouldn't let a stranger off...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Despite the fact that I am not, as a rule, a fan of magical realism, I totally loved this book about a gay, nerdy, teenager who – while struggling to define himself - is serially abducted by aliens...continued

Full Review (814 words).

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(Reviewed by Donna Chavez).

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Hutchinson has crafted an unflinching portrait of the pain and confusion of young love and loss, thoughtfully exploring topics like dementia, abuse, sexuality, and suicide as they entwine with the messy work of growing up.

Booklist
Starred Review. Hutchinson's excellent novel of ideas invites readers to wonder about their place in a world that often seems uncaring and meaningless. The novel is never didactic; on the contrary, it is unfailingly dramatic and crackling with characters who become real upon the page. Will Henry press the button? We all await his decision.

School Library Journal
Starred Review. Angst-loving teens will devour this lengthy tome, yearning to see if Henry can consummate a new romance. Highly recommended.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. Bitterly funny, with a ray of hope amid bleakness. Ages 14-18

Reader Reviews

tates.c

My favorite!
Ever since I saw this book I knew I would like it. The writing is very well done and reading it is pleasing. It hits you in the heart while being equally funny

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Beyond the Book

Multigenerational Homes

Multigenerational FamiliesIn We Are the Ants, Henry Denton's maternal grandmother, Nana, lives with him. Early on, it's clear that Nana has Alzheimer's and lives with his family because she can no longer live on her own. Henry is very fond of her and although she has moments of clarity, she is becoming a challenge:

Nana's forgetfulness was cute at first – she'd call us by the wrong names, mix up our birthdays, send us Christmas cards in the middle of summer – but it isn't cute anymore. Sometimes she looks at me, and I see nothing but a deepening abyss where my grandmother used to be.

Even so, it's not all bad. She cooks for the family and offers love and counsel to her grandchildren. With two other generations ...

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