Tuesday, January 26, 2016

I looked UP

Sometimes books evoke a strong reaction from the reader.

I threw this book onto the other side of the couch with a WTF that was a little too loud for 10:30pm and sleeping children in the house!

I just finished reading We All Looked Up, by Tommy Wallach. This book had been on my radar for a while, stuck in the never ending queue of my Barnes and Noble cart. However when I came across it at Target during a recent grocery shopping trip I couldn't resist.

First of all, the cover is minimalistically beautiful and so soft to the touch. One look and I knew it had to be mine!

I binge read this book, polishing it off in less than a week (while also being a full-time working mommy of 3 little ones). Wallach's clean, clear writing reads effortlessly, making it possible to loose yourself within his pages for hours. This part below, was so good that I stuck it up on my classroom wall:
The best books, they don't talk about things you never thought about before. They talk about things you'd always thought about, but that you didn't think anyone else had thought about. You read them, and suddenly you're a little bit less alone in the world.
The story follows four teenagers as their lives intertwine while awaiting the arrival of an asteroid that has a 66.6% chance of wiping out the Earth. The characters see this as an opportunity to shed the labels that have controlled their young lives; the athlete, the slacker, the overachiever, and the promiscuous girl. It's like the Breakfast Club except that impending doom is all that is waiting on the other side of the library doors.

Challenges plague each character as they try to achieve their end of the world goals. Controlling parents, distant parents, partying, riots, and even a stint in prison doesn't break their spirit. Wallach makes you care deeply for each character. SO deeply in fact that the ending will leave you speechless. Then, when the words finally do come, you will find yourself venting to your husband as he's trying to fall asleep. The real reason why your blood pressure skyrockets at the end....

Spoiler alert!!!
I REALLY don't want to ruin this book for you, however the author spoils the end on his website too, so I figured it was ok for me to do the same here.

The book just ends.

It's the day that the asteroid is expected to hit, the characters are together, they "all look up", and then it ends. Does the asteroid hit or not?!?!!

At first I was furious. How could he end the story here? I flipped the last few pages back and forth, over and over again, thinking that maybe I had missed something that would suddenly appear. But then, after processing it for a few moments, I realized that the ending was perfect. It was too expected to go for the "happy everyone lives" ending and if he went with the "tragic everyone dies" ending then there would be no narrator left to tell the story. Ending it where he did leaves our beloved characters still intact and our minds racing with possibilities. What more could you ask for?

Recommendation: Must read! While I discussed some details of this book with my 5th - 6th grade students, I will not be releasing it into general population in my classroom. The concept of this book and the mature themes (teenage partying, sex, drugs) make it more suitable for the high school crowd. This book will live on my mature readers shelf where any brave soul who borrows from there knows they need parental permission first.

1 comment:

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