We All Looked Up
By Tommy Wallach
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Hardcover, 9781481418775, March 2015, 384pp.)
The Short of It:
The end of the world is upon you. What do you do?
The Rest of It:
An asteroid with a 66.6% chance of destroying the Earth is due to hit in just a couple of months. This story focuses on a Seattle neighborhood, specifically a group of high school seniors and how they react to the news.
Imagine if you will, The Breakfast Club, without the cuteness and humor and there just happens to be an asteroid about to wipe out life as we know it. This story is kind of like that. There are stereotypes which include the slutty girl, the athlete, the smarty pants and the slacker. They all have turns at telling their story but I didn’t find them all that interesting.
I am conflicted over this one. On the one hand, I feel that Wallach captured the age of these teens perfectly, but at the same time, the characters were too stereotypical. Since these teens were in fact, truly scared for their futures, I expected a little more depth. Maybe a tad more growth? I don’t know. Instead, these teens plan an “end of the world” party.
This is geared towards young adults but keep in mind that there is some language, not really an issue but there is also some sex. I didn’t care for how the one female character slept around with everyone. Truthfully, she was the most interesting character so I wanted to see her do something more than just sleep around but that is my opinion.
If you pick this up for the “end of the year” aspect of the story, you won’t find too much of that within the story itself. It’s a threat that looms in the background constantly but it’s not front and center like other novels dealing with the same subject.
I think there was an opportunity here to tell a good story but the shallowness of the some of the characters was too obvious to ignore.
Source: Sent to me by the publisher via Edelweiss.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.
15 thoughts on “Review: We All Looked Up”
The Last Policeman had a similar plot but with different characters and I didn’t love it so this may not be for me.
Definitely not for you. It is geared towards young adults but I know my teen would not like the shallowness of the characters. Perhaps, musicians would appreciate it more. There are lots of songs mentioned and the author created a soundtrack for the book even!
Yep…that was my biggest issue with it as well – the shallowness and stereotypical characters. However, it’s hard since I’m probably more critical than a young adult reader would be. They might love it.
I don’t think my teen would love it. At the back of the book, it said the author created a soundtrack for the book. I thought that a little odd. Maybe the point of it, with the party and all, was to promote his music. Maybe?? I think I heard something about a movie too.
Hmmm…it really doesn’t sound that great…I am finding out that I don’t love YA the way I used to…oh my!
I’ve read some YA in my time and it’s hit and miss. I guess the same can be said about other genres. This one just missed the mark in my opinion.
I can see how it would bug you that the characters were so trite. It almost sounds like an attempt to have The Breakfast Club with a soundtrack and doom. Hmmm…think I’ll stick with the original. I need to watch The Breakfast Club again. 🙂
I’m sure the author did not intend that. I just saw it that way while reading! Yes, The Breakfast Club will always be awesome, no matter how many times I’ve seen it.
Sounds a little silly to write a book about the impending end of the world and focus it on a party. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that in such a situation people might conceivably turn a little introspective… Great review, Ti 🙂
There was no panic. No food shortage. No looting. Just people acting like nothing was wrong. Or trying to, anyway. It was clear that the teens were disturbed by it but like in a very simplistic way. No more music. Gah!! Let’s have a party!
“Imagine if you will, The Breakfast Club, without the cuteness and humor and there just happens to be an asteroid about to wipe out life as we know it.” I’m imagining it and it definitely doesn’t sound very interesting! And an end of the world party? It could probably be done well, but in this case it does sound rather shallow and superficial.
I love end of the world type stories. I’ve read many. Some were young adult novels and they found a way to dig deeper and still remain interesting to both readers young and old. Evan as a teen, I’m not sure getting drunk and having sex would be my first thought. Just sayin’.
I would have been too busy trying to find a place that might survive the impact, and then if I did, stockpiling it with all the necessities of life. But that’s just me.
I know, right? Food, water, shelter. The basics.
It’s a bummer that this didn’t work out better. I’m not sure this is something I would have picked up.