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. 

EDIT: because i said  below that i wouldn't mention the writing style but then low and behold i forgot not even 2 months later, im going to write it down. 
he's writing it all basically to Ms. Faraci but in between chapters, he writes a short paragraph (story) about how he thinks the world will end.  

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.  SPOILER about the writing above because of course, i forgot myself. 

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. 

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