we are the ants // shaun david hutchinson

published: 2016
pages: 451
read from: 8/19-23/2016
rating: 1) didn't care for it 2) liked it 3) LOVED IT

"TWO POSSIBILITIES EXIST:
 EITHER WE ARE ALONE IN THE UNIVERSE OR WE ARE NOT. 
BOTH ARE EQUALLY TERRIFYING." 
- Arthur C. Clarke

SYNOPSIS (amazon)
Henry Denton has spent years being periodically abducted by aliens. Then the aliens give him an ultimatum: The world will end in 144 days, and all Henry has to do to stop it is push a big red button.

Only he isn’t sure he wants to.

After all, life hasn’t been great for Henry. His mom is a struggling waitress held together by a thin layer of cigarette smoke. His brother is a jobless dropout who just knocked someone up. His grandmother is slowly losing herself to Alzheimer’s. And Henry is still dealing with the grief of his boyfriend’s suicide last year.

Wiping the slate clean sounds like a pretty good choice to him.

But Henry is a scientist first, and facing the question thoroughly and logically, he begins to look for pros and cons: in the bully who is his perpetual one-night stand, in the best friend who betrayed him, in the brilliant and mysterious boy who walked into the wrong class. Weighing the pain and the joy that surrounds him, Henry is left with the ultimate choice: push the button and save the planet and everyone on it…or let the world—and his pain—be destroyed forever.


SPOILERS
Henry is abducted by aliens, or sluggers as he calls them and he's given the choice to save the world or let it all end on January 29, 2016 (boy, am i glad it's August!)

his father has left the family. 
everyone is "against" him and he's lost his only other friend. 
his boyfriend Jesse has committed suicide and left him all alone to fend for himself and everything is just going to shit. 

he's known as Space Boy TO EVERYONE and what sucks even more is that the guy he's seeing on the side to numb him, Marcus, is the one behind the continuation of it all. he talks all this shit, mistreats him and beats him and then sends him messages telling him to meet him in hidden places to make out and hook up. and it has to be secret because no one can know that golden boy is gay. 
Marcus is one of the 3 behind the horrific act that took place at the gym where they tied him up, beat him up, splattered him in green paint, and posted his picture for everyone to see on the Internet. and basically everywhere. 
he tried to rape him in the end after coming to the conclusion that he indeed does "care for him." 

then comes Diego. 
he's this vivacious human who teaches Henry that there is more to life and they eventually end up dating. of course they go through a lot of shit and its mostly him trying to teach Henry that its not his fault that Jesse committed suicide.  

he's moved to Calypso from Colorado for mysterious reasons until Christmas when he tells Henry's mom that he moved because he was in juvie and it was because he beat the shit out of his father. broke both arms, nose and sorta fractured his skull. 
it was all in self defense. 
his father was a meth head and would beat the entire family up basically (his mother, his sister and himself) and one day he finally snapped after watching his father beat his mother up with a pan (or a skillet...one of those). because his mom wouldn't testify against his father, he was sent to juvie. 
one of the conditions once he was released, was to move in with his sister. 
since his release, he's vowed to live everyday to the fullest no matter what that might be. 
he does fine and well until he beats the shit out of Marcus for almost raping Henry. 
luckily, because Marcus' parents didn't want anything leaked, they didn't press charges so they let him go. 

Adriana used to be his best friend. 
it was the 3 of them; Henry, Jesse and Adriana. 
when Jesse kills himself, she leaves for 3 months and that broke Henry even more. 
he was told she went to Switzerland on vacation when in fact she went to a psych ward. 
she was feeling guilty because Jesse and her had a pact that when ever he felt like hurting himself, he'd call her and she'd talk him out of it. 
the one time she didn't answer was when he killed himself and she was feeling beyond guilty. 
another thing that bothered her was that even though she knew Jesse first, she was hurt that she loved him like he loved Henry and she was sad that she was never going to have that. 

eventually Henry and Adriana make up and its was really nice to see them make up and mend what was broken because of another persons actions. 

there's also his mother, Helen, who's been a hot mess since their father left. eventually she gets her shit together and becomes a sous chef. and is much happier than she was before. the scene where they both smoke pot together was pretty sweet. (whatever way you're trying to misconstrue it, don't. it was actually a dope scene. passage?) 

Charlie, Henry's brother, and Zooey, Charlie's gf, then fiance and ultimately wife, are pregnant but lose their baby January 1st, 2016.

Charlie's and Henry's relationship is real, i wouldn't say strained but its not the best. I'm coming off wrong. Charlie is to be blamed for the whole space boy dilemma because he is the one that spread it at school when he was a senior.  

Charlie wants to be a fireman but gives it all up when he takes up a job and mans up to be a father. at first Henry cannot in any way believe his brother could be that grown up but Charlie, although still very immature at times, proves him wrong; he can get his shit together. 

i loved Zooey because even when Henry tried to put Charlie down, she kept telling him that he was indeed a good guy. she wasn't in the book often but when she was, i felt like she was a good soul for Henry. 

and then there's Nana. i loved that woman. 

i know i spilled a lot but there's still stuff i left out. 

RAMBLINGS
(just thoughts on the book itself)

i think my books are coming back to me full circle. 
Denton Little's Death Date: they share a name and basically the end date aspect. 
then there's Nana and she reminds me of Mary from Unbecoming
it reminded me of some others that i cant think of right now.  but anyways....

i  wholeheartedly love this book. 
it deals with a heavy subject in a light-full way. 
it involves suicide and bullying a crap load of science but with aliens and the possibility of the world ending. 

at times it got to me how much shit Henry could take without spazzing out like Diego had, like any other human would have. 
it hurt to see how much pain he carried because of Jesse's actions and how far away he could feel from it all because he didn't ask for help. 

overall, dealing with the suicide aspect of it, i think SDH did a great job bringing a subject to light without making it too heavy to bear. 
i liked all the characters and how well written it was. 
i also loved how it was centered around science and space and it honestly made me crave for more information about outer space and constellations and stars and just everything it touched base on. 
i don't want to give it away here (and i didn't mention it in the spoilers) but i liked how the book was written. first by dates (kind of like a journal) and then by ___________. it wasn't until later on, that i realized what Henry was doing. 

also, i hope we all have a Ms. Faraci in our lives. (and if you don't, BE ONE!)
she was the freaking best!!!!

as always, I'll leave you with quotes. 
...sorry because it's a lot! but also, be happy it was just this cause i wanted to quote it all.
------------------------------

"As human beings we're born believing that we are the apex of creation, that we are invincible, that no problem exists that we cannot solve. But we inevitably, die with all our beliefs broken."
-Henry pg 11

"Artists have to learn how to paint whats in the mirror, even if what they see is a total shit show." ...."if you cant paint yourself honestly, everything else you paint will be a lie too." 
-Diego pg 95

"You'll understand when you're my age, Henry. You spend your life hoarding memories against the day when you'll lack the energy to go out and make new ones, because that's the comfort of old age. The ability to look back on your life and know that you left your mark on the world. But I'm losing my memories. It's like someones broken into my piggy bank and is robbing me one penny at a time. It's happening so slowly, i can hardly tell whats missing." 
-Nana pg 123

" i wish i were dead. because you can only die once, but you can suffer forever." 
-Henry pg 146

" ...we are merely pieces of a grander design, even more insignificant than i imagined. when the earth ceases to be, all those stars will shine on. our deaths will mean nothing to them." 
-Henry pg 155

"it seems silly to worry about the arbitrary moment some person long dead declared to be the end of one year and the beginning on another, as if our attempts to divide time into meaningful chunks actually mean anything. people wait for the countdown to tell them that its okay to believe in themselves again. they end each year with failure, but hope that when the clock strikes twelve, they can begin the new year with a clean slate. they tell themselves that this is the year things will happen, never realizing that things are always happening; they're just happening without them." 
-Henry pg 285

"As human beings, we seek meaning in everything. we're so good at discovering patterns that we see them where they don't exist." 
-Henry pg 397

"we remember the past, live in the present and write the future." 

"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." 
- Henry pg 451


i know i keep making these posts longer and longer. so thanks for reading all that you did!
have a great rest of your week!

#lesreads on IG

for a better more to the point review, head on over here. she's the one that reminded me of the book and i wish i had her skills to summarize it without writing a 10 page, 10,000 word essay. 

tell me three things // julie buxbaum


published: 2016
pages325
isbn978-0-553-53564-8
read from8/17-18/2016
rating1) didn't care for it 2) liked it 3) LOVED IT



SYNOPSIS (amazon)
Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week as a junior at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

SPOILERS
I don't even know where to start!!!!!!!!!

Jessie moves to CA because her father up and married Rachel 733 days after her mother died. he uprooted what was left of their family in their hometown of Chicago and moved it to LA. without any consideration of what it might do to her. 

so she starts this snotty new school where she knows no one and then BOOM! random ass email. 
Somebody Nobody. 
this person knows what she's about and they start to form a friendship even if she thinks it's a hoax.

I don't feel like this is a huge book like my last where I'm going to write for forever so it's going to be fairly quick. hopefully. 

she ends up becoming friends with Dri like SN suggested and she even gets herself a job at a book store. she starts to get along very weirdly with her stepbrother Theo and she seems to be doing fine finally being able to stand up for herself even if she still doesn't see it herself. 

she goes to class and low and behold (and my freaking worst nightmare EVER) the assignment is to pair up with a classmate and write a paper on 'The Waste Land.' of course everyone pairs up and she is left to work with Ethan or better known to her as Batman. 
he tells her not to worry about it, that he'll do all the work. 
she doesn't budge until she decides to stand up for herself and earn her own A. 
so they work together and she starts to fall for Ethan. 

time passes and she's yet to find out who SN is. 
she thinks it might me Caleb for a bit and manages to work the courage to "ask" him out. but he bails because Liam has a "thing" for her. 

I'm not exactly sure when I knew, but it had been a good minute since I had put it together that SN was in fact Ethan. 
but that didn't stop me from squealing from utter excitement like a total girl when I got to the end and they met up.
and even though she was supposed to meet up with SN and only him, i love the fact that she (Julie, the author) goes ahead and throws in Liam, Caleb AND Ethan just to mess with her one last time.

I freaking loved this book. 

there's a lot of stuff I left out. all of the in between but trust me, even if you read the spoilers, read the book!

MY RAMBLINGS
(just thoughts on the book itself)

I can't remember exactly where I saw this book but the cover called to me so I had to get it. then this other blogger posted about it and I haaad to read it. (love her IG)

I LOOOOOOOOOOOOVED this book!!!!!!!
I absolutely loved it!
so much I read it in one day and I didn't even realize it. 

I loved the writing in this book. I loved that even though it involves her mother's death, it doesn't revolved around just her death (it's not a spoiler cause you know right away.) it's more about her sorta finding herself and trying to make the best with what she's given.

I loved the friendships that she builds and the happiness that she finds at the end. 

I LOVED IT ALL!!!!!

it was a super fun, quick read that wasn't too over dramatic. and i absolutely loved the tell me three things aspect of it.

I'll leave you with some quotes that I LOVED. 

"sometimes, when Scarlett says I'm strong, I think she really means I'm numb." 
-Jessie pg 40

"I have this whole weird theory of the universe that I don't actually believe but like to think about. like we are something tiny and insignificant, like ants, to some larger, more complex species, which sort of explains all the weird random things that can happen, like hurricanes and cancer." 
-Jessie pg 109

"I wish when you were little someone had said to me: these are the good times. right now. these are the good times. you are young and things are simple. and one day it's all going to blow up in your face or bottom out or whatever metaphor you want to use. and so relax and enjoy while you can." 
-Jessie's dad pg 144

"were all better versions of ourselves when we get that extra time to craft the perfect message." 
-Jessie pg 261

"maybe home doesn't have to be a place." 
-Somebody Nobody pg 276
(that one hit right on the guts!)

"I lie on my bed, close my eyes. send out a wish to the universe. not to God, because if he exists, he's ignored me too many times before." 
-Jessie pg 285

"not feeling like I belong anywhere has made me crave constant motion; standing still feels risky." 
-Jessie pg 288

"...and I guess memories, as much as they can be held on to, are portable." 
-Jessie pg 304

as always, thanks for reading!

thanks for reading!
@les_reads // #lesreads on IG

unbecoming // jenny downham

25930105


published: 2015 UK / 2016 USA
pages375
isbn9780545907170
read from8/4 to 8/16/2016
rating1) didn't care for it 2) liked it 3) LOVED IT


SYNOPSIS (goodreads)

Katie is seventeen and in love with someone whose identity she’s afraid to reveal.

Caroline, Katie’s mother, is uptight, worn out, and about to find the past catching up with her.

Mary, Katie’s grandmother, suffers from Alzheimer’s and suddenly appears after years of mysterious absence.

As Katie cares for an elderly woman who brings daily chaos to her life, she finds herself drawn to the grandmother she never knew she had. Rules get broken as allegiances shift. Is Mary contagious? Is “badness” genetic?

In confronting the past, Katie is forced to seize the present. As Mary slowly unravels and family secrets are revealed, Katie learns to live and finally dares to love.

Unbecoming is a vivid and exhilarating celebration of life and learning to honor your own story, infused with jenny Downham’s signature warmth, humor, and wisdom.

SPOILERS

Mary comes back in to Caroline's life because her partner Jack passes away. 
but being the loving man that he was, and because Mary has dementia, he had all of her daughters, Caroline, information listed on a medical bracelet that she'd wear. so that's how they connect. 
but of course they don't have a perfect mother daughter relationship. 

lets break it down by character. 

MARY
she was so to speak, her father's favorite. she was the wild of the 2, in love with life and all of the boys. she gets knocked up by  a married man and out of fear of not having the mother gene, she lets her sister Pat, take custody of her daughter. 
so she leaves to London to come back 9 years later to take Caroline back with her. 
to return her again, to show up later. but of course her dementia prevents her from knowing everything at the correct moment. 

CAROLINE
she grew up thinking Pat was her mother and Lionel was her biological father until the day that Mary showed up to take her for ice cream. 
she married her now soon to be ex husband because he was a numbers man and seemed like a safe bet.
as much as she was Mary's daughter she fought really hard to be just like Pat; hella boring. 
but as much as she fought it, she was still "just like her mother." 
after giving birth to Chris, it all went downhill. Steve (her ex-husband) blamed her for having a child with needs and she could sense him pulling away. out of nowhere she has an, idk what you'd call it, but she basically takes off to the airport and takes off to I can't remember where. she feels guilty about that but there's also the fact that she had an affair while she was away somewhere in Spain that's eating her up. it hurts her to see that she's still somewhat like her mother. 

PAT (not one of the girls on the cover) 
Mary's sister, Caroline's "mother" was the house care taker as soon as their mother passed away and you can tell that's a huge reason why she resents Mary. 
so when she gives birth to Caroline and their father chooses not to talk to her you can tell it makes her kind of happy. 

she tells Mary she should marry Lionel and live with him and be a house wife but Mary is not about that so she tells her she should do that since that's what she's all about and low and behold, she does. 

Mary can't stand being there so they come up on an agreement that Pat will raise Caroline as her daughter and she'll be known as the "aunt."

you might be wondering why it took Mary 9 years to get to Caroline out of nowhere but in fact, she had been trying to get in touch with them since the very beginning. 
Mary would write letters, send things, ask for pictures, meetings and phone calls but Pat restricted it all to holidays and birthdays. she went back on their agreement. 
AND THEN !!!!!!!! the bitch (sorry but it was a shitty move) had the guts to up and move the family and not give her an address. it wasn't until Mary hired a private detective that she was able to find where she was at. 
and even then when she didn't get close, she was still watching from a coffee shop. every.single.day.

anyways, long story short, Pat kept the truth from Caroline and Caroline from Mary. and then she made everyone feel like shit when they tried to live their life. 
and then she went and committed suicide by drowning herself in the ocean. 
and of course Caroline knows. so you know, she has to live with that burden.

I can honestly say that I could feel how she felt like she was dealt with the shit end of the stick but gah! I disliked her so much. I wanted to fioqwenrvaksjdfh (yea you tried to read that right) her when I was reading all the dumb shit she did.  

KATIE
she's all for keeping Mary and even being her "guardian" as long as they get to keep her at home (Caroline was super anti having her mother at home.) 

her deal is that she kissed her best friend Esme and in return Esme ran and told everyone in school. so there went her only friend. 
then, there's another girl, Simona, who is known to be a lesbian who everyone talks bad about. and because she sees what they do and say to her, she's afraid to be herself. 
so she denies it, dates Jamie for a bit, only to finally tell her mother through a book (a book that she's been using to keep all of Mary's memories alive and connected) and comes clean to Jamie. 
she has this thing with Simona where she asks her about the whole "how are you so sure about this lesbianism thing" and for a moment it seemed like something was going to happen but then of course Katie backs out. 
so after she comes clean, she tries to fix it with her and eventually she does.

honestly, I was trying to finish the last few pages that I think I read that they dated for a bit but with Simona being a year older she leaves for Uni and they eventually just casually date but is never a serious thing. at least i dont think, from what i caught on to.

I didn't hate the lesbian plot line, I just 100% think the book could have gone without all that extra side shit. but in the name of learning to become who you are meant to be, I guess I understand. 


as always, the spoilers are here but there is still a lot of things I left out. 
mostly how things kind of connect but you can basically connect the dots. 


MY RAMBLINGS
(just thoughts on the book itself)

I had to do the ramblings before I started the spoiler because exhausted face emoji!

first off, let me start with the rating. I didn't hate the book but I wasn't crazy about it. 
I had trouble finishing it or even getting into it but then it had its moments. so I didn't like it like a ton but I didn't hate it either (see why rating systems suck?) 
I had trouble getting into but I had given up on the last few books that I kind of forced myself to get into it. and then it paid off a bit only to leave me stuck again. to be honest, the reason I finished it was because I just got a new batch of books from the library. 

uhm, hmm. so, I liked the aspect of the book with the secrets and then 3 generations kind of figuring out and patching up the past but I feel like Katie's "secret", although part of who she is, was kind of just like a thrown in there subject (I'm honestly coming off bad with this.) and the whole thing with Esme. 
I would have liked the book a lot more if Esme didn't exist and that whole subject wasn't in there. it's not that I'm against it because I'm not, I just feel like it would of been just fine of a book if she would've stood up to her mom without all that sexuality stuff. 

I also hated that its told in a 3rd person narrative. 
for the most part, it's always Katie talking but one minute she's narrating and then she's speaking as herself. then Mary jumps in and its out of nowhere Katie again and it was just a giant clusterfuck. there were several times I had to go back and re-read because I wasn't even sure what I was reading or in whose voice i was reading it in.   

uhm, other than that, I really loved Mary and Chris. I'm happy Katie stood up for herself and that Caroline (Katie's mom) & Katie eventually piece everything together for Mary's memory sake and Caroline's sake. (Katie's as well)

I suggest you read the spoilers for this one and honestly choose from there if this one's worth a read. 
I also suggest someone write about about all of the brothers because this is the second book I read where I feel the brother could have also been a star and where I'd read a book based just off of him. (ha!)

so yea, if ya pick it up let me know what you think!
...maybe for me, this will be a book that will hit me in the guts later on in life, but as of right now, ehm, it was okay. 

but I will leave you with these quotes....

"Pleasure is spread through the earth in stray gifts to be claimed by whoever shall find."
 - Mary pg 109

"Who will I be when you forget me?"
- Katie pg 287

"....and I realized, for the first time ever, that the truth doesn't exist."
-Katie pg 318
...and then she goes on to talk about how it never exists because people will always have different takes on said story. kind of really hit the spot on that one.

"a baby has over 300 bones, and as she grows, cartilage is replaced, smaller bones join together, join together, and she ends up with only two hundred and six. so many things get lost as daughters grow."
 -Mary pg 335



thanks for reading!

(EDIT: i could've sworn i read mary had dementia but it says that it was Alzheimer's. oops.) 

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