Thursday, 26 March 2015

Review & Giveaway(US only): We All Looked Up - Tommy Wallach

We All Looked Up
by Tommy Wallach
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 31st 2015


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.

I'm not even sure how to start writing this review. I was completely blown away by We All Look Up and for a debut novel it was pretty much perfect, in my humble opinion... 

It all started with that cover and giving myself a headache trying to read the title. After reading the synopsis that was it, I had to read it. It's almost a dystopian Breakfast Club (without the detention although there is a principal with a personality problem!) but do not let that put you off, it could just be me that makes this comparison!

There's the intelligent, thoughtful jock, Peter, with his younger sister Samantha (or Misery as she likes to call herself). There's the slacker, Andy, misunderstood, flawed and wishing that his friends weren't quite so intent on doing the wrong thing. There's the girl who kissed the wrong boy at the wrong time and now has a reputation for sleeping around. There's the poor little rich girl, rebelling against everything Mommy & Daddy want for her who wants to be a singer. And then there's the one thing that none of them can escape. The asteroid hurtling towards earth, shining like a pretty blue star in the sky and known as Ardor. You might think that these characters all sound so different that there would no way that they would all be connected in friendship, love, lust and dislike but that is exactly what happens.

They all change gradually throughout the story, every one of them making their mark and finding a purpose in life even though that very life could be days away from ending. Eliza starts a blog about the impending doom of Ardor and instantly becomes famous. In love with Peter since that infamous kiss, the kiss that started the need to sleep around, she finally finds something that fulfills her and discovers that Peter is not just a jock. Andy discovers that he can escape the pull of drugs and his friend Bobo (and through him, some connections to some of Seattle's dodgier characters) and, with Anita, finds that music is is his comfort. 

We All Looked Up is the story of an asteroid, the story of two boys and two girls, finding love, dealing with all the issues a teenager is confronted with whilst dealing with the knowledge that the life that they were all planning for themselves is unlikely to be a reality. With such beautiful writing Wallach has created a beautiful story that will stick in my mind for a long time. He deals with all the cliches of teenage life with a varied array of characters not all of whom are likeable but that's okay. The way this book is written you want to know the characters, regardless of whether you like them or not. You want to see how they're dealing with knowing that their lives are going to end, wiped out by something they have no control over. Wallach is also not afraid to deal with the bigger issues. There's drug taking, sex (and that irritating phrase, slut shaming) and death. Not all of the characters are going to see what happens the day Ardor hits and while I expected a couple of them one is out of the blue and shocking in its circumstance.

If you're looking for a beautifully written contemporary novel with a dystopian twist then We All Looked Up is the book to read. I don't think I've ever highlighted as my phrases and words as I did with We All Looked Up but the writing is that good and I know it will most definitely be on my top ten books of the year. I'm still staggered by the fact that it is Wallach's debut novel and can't wait to see what he writes next. As an aside, Wallach is also a musician and has written We All Looked Up: The Album. Visit his website to find out more!

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Tommy Wallach is a Brooklyn-based writer and musician. His first novel, We All Looked Up, will be published by Simon and Schuster in April 2015. His work has appeared in many nice magazines, such as McSweeney's, Tin House, and Wired. He has released an EP with Decca Records, and he also makes music videos, including one that was exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum. You should buy him dinner.

Win (1) of (3) a finished copy of We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach (US Only)

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I had seen a couple reviews that were less than rave. This one is still on my TBR though. :)


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