We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach
When President of the United States announces that an asteroid has a 66% chance of hitting Earth in eight weeks, all hell breaks loose.
People all around the world go crazy. Riots and looting start, military states are formed, and chaos ensues everywhere.
For Peter, Misery, Eliza, Anita, and Andy – high school students in Seattle – life falls apart. Suddenly, everything seems like life and death… because it is. Unresolved romances, tensions with parents, and an increasing police state in their high school become an every day part of life. Each of them copes with it differently – and struggles to find meaning in lives that may or may not exist in two months.
This book is filled with some strange teenage non-romance – rumors about “slutty” girls, having sexual intercourse in jail, and some creepy boyfriend behavior. This could have been expected, given that we have a group of teenagers facing the end of the world. While there a few semi-real relationships, none of them were particularly compelling to me.
Feminist Score: Good Effort
This book made some really important statements about how rumors get started, especially about”slutty” girls (of course, the girl is always slutty, even if the boy was in a committed relationship). I liked the progress of the female characters in the book, and what they learn about themselves through the six weeks.
Diversity Score: Between You’re Trying and Good Effort
I really liked Anita – the whip-smart black girl who’s always been the perfect student and daughter. I do wish there had been other non-white and non-straight characters, though.
Awesome Factor: Between You’re Trying and Good Effort
While the premise was interesting and I really liked a few characters (especially Eliza), I didn’t love this story. It seemed to use the end-of-the-world plot point to explore every ounce of teenage angst possible, and create scenarios that could only occur in that type of world. It felt a little forced to me.
Eliza – I love how her way of processing events is photograph them.
“There were a lot of countdowns that had haunted her over the past few weeks, from the totally mundane (how many breaths she had left to breathe) to the whimsically specific (how many more time’s she’d get to watch Pitch Perfect), but this was definitely the most depressing statistic of all: Between now and the end of the world, there would be no one else who would love her, and no one else she would love”.
(I know.. it’s a little angsty. But I like counting the mundane).
Is this worth a book hangover?
We All Looked Up offered an interesting premise, but I don’t think the follow-through is quite hangover worthy.
Fun Author(s) Fact
Tommy Wallach is both a writer and a musician. We wrote a soundtrack to the book (available on his website here).
Read This Next
I don’t have a good end-of-the-world book for you, unfortunately! But if you’re looking for some interesting teenage drama, check out Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan, the story of Leila, an Iranian-American high schooler who has her first real (female) crush. You can check out our review here.
Post Author: Anisha
Anisha loves books, Gilmore Girls, and her Kuerig. She’s been reading mainstream YA since she was actually a young adult, and Jess is helping her expand her horizons with more diverse, interesting books from newer authors.