Written by: Shaun David Hutchinson
Release Date: January 19, 2016
Pages: 455, hardcover
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There are a few things Henry Denton knows, and a few things he doesn’t.
Henry knows that his mom is struggling to keep the family together, and coping by chain-smoking cigarettes. He knows that his older brother is a college dropout with a pregnant girlfriend. He knows that he is slowly losing his grandmother to Alzheimer’s. And he knows that his boyfriend committed suicide last year.
What Henry doesn’t know is why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and he doesn’t know why they continue to steal him from his bed and take him aboard their ship. He doesn’t know why the world is going to end or why the aliens have offered him the opportunity to avert the impending disaster by pressing a big red button.
But they have. And they’ve only given him 144 days to make up his mind.
The question is whether Henry thinks the world is worth saving. That is, until he meets Diego Vega, an artist with a secret past who forces Henry to question his beliefs, his place in the universe, and whether any of it really matters. But before Henry can save the world, he’s got to figure out how to save himself, and the aliens haven’t given him a button for that.
1) Best Part of this Book?
The characters are so vivid and well-drawn. Everyone, from Henry’s asshole brother to his science teacher, has hidden depth, and it makes the story all the richer and more layered. Henry asks everyone what they would do if the world was ending and they could prevent it, and their answers reveal so much about them. Because the character are nuanced, the relationships are as well, and there’s a balance between family, friendship, and romantic love, which I always appreciate.
2) Favorite character?
Henry. His voice is very believable–raw and painful, but also sometimes hilarious. Sometimes his headspace reminded me of mine during the worst parts of my high school years, and I read the book with my fingers crossed for him to make it through.
3) Worst part of this book?
It was hard for me to take the aliens seriously at first, to integrate their weirdness with the serious themes of the book. By the end, I didn’t really care. It wasn’t about the aliens.
4) Favorite Quote?
The universe may forget us, but our light will brighten the darkness for eons after we’ve departed this world. The universe may forget us, but it can’t forget us until we’re gone, and we’re still here, our futures still unwritten. We can choose to sit on our asses and wait for the end, or we can live right now. We can march to the edge of the void and scream in defiance. Yell out for all to hear that we do matter. That we are still here, living our absurd, bullshit lives, and nothing can take that away from us. Not rogue comets, not black holes, not the heat death of the universe. We may not get to choose how we die, but we can choose how we live. The universe may forget us, but it doesn’t matter. Because we are the ants, and we’ll keep marching on.
5) Was it what’s expected?
Definitely not. This is one of the most unique books I’ve read.
This book is gorgeous and complex and original, and I definitely recommend that you pick it up, especially if you enjoyed More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera.