Release Date: 26th March, 2015
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Add it: Goodreads
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.
Full disclosure, I was intrigued by the premise of this book because 1. it sounded promisingly introspective and 2. it sounded similar to The 100. I am so transparent at times, honestly. Anyway, We All Looked Up is a fairly unique novel that discusses the idea of humanity going the way of the dinosaurs. An asteroid is discovered to be heading toward a direct collision with Earth; its arrival almost certainly means the instant extermination of nearly all life on the planet (or as I like to call it, ‘the beginning of a potentially great apocalyptic novel’). Scientists predict its arrival/the end of the world in two months time; the story follows a group of teenagers in the aftermath of this news as they try to come to terms with their suddenly tiny life span.
The book uses multiple POVs to tell the story – there’s Peter, a popular high school athlete type, Eliza, the aloof, beautiful social outcast, Andy, the slacker who’s fond of recreational drug use, and lastly Anita, the overachiever. The characters are…okay, for the most part. I didn’t find any of them particularly compelling, and honestly I’m not fond of characters that are created out of stereotypes – Andy was especially annoying in this way. I liked some more than others; Eliza particularly had the potential to be more interesting, given her supposed promiscuity and indifference to social conventions – I would’ve liked to have seen her end up with Anita because come ON, what better time than the end of the world to abandon heteronormativity?
The plot is essentially about a party that takes place on their last night on Earth, but there’s also ~romance~ that I thought was unnecessary and boring. The kids watch as the world collapses all around them – governments fall, the internet goes dark, and anarchy more or less begins to rule the streets. All of that was actually pretty engaging in a way but I found the kids’ individual stories tedious. Anita’s felt very tacked on and rushed, and there is a definite imbalance between the kids because of the focus on Peter/Eliza (lawd). As you might able to tell I was not a fan of the romantic relationships.
I mean, I thought this was an okay read, nothing more, nothing less. It wasn’t dull, but ultimately I do feel like this is a forgettable book which is a shame because it does have a pretty great premise that could’ve built up to a brilliant story. ALSO, what was that ending? I read the entire book and you leave me with that? The ambiguity was annoying and very jarring considering the premise of the book.