Review: We All Looked Up


Title: We All Looked Up

Author: Tommy Wallach

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers

Publication date: March 24, 2015

Goodreads / Author’s website / Author’s twitter

Another Friday afternoon at Barnes and Noble, checking out the new YA fiction – and my eye was drawn towards this intriguing book, We All Looked Up. Why did they all look up? Why, because of the asteroid heading right for earth. Whoa, right?

The briefest of brief summaries from Goodreads:

Before the asteroid we let ourselves be defined by labels:

The athlete, the outcast, the slacker, the overachiever.

But then we all looked up and everything changed.

They said it would be here in two months. That gave us two months to leave our labels behind. Two months to become something bigger than what we’d been, something that would last even after the end.

Two months to really live.

Let me just say that the premise of this book was stunning. I mean, apocalyptic realistic fiction? I was so excited to see how Tommy Wallach was going to handle this. But I was extraordinarily let down, mostly because I just… didn’t care. I don’t even remember all of the names of the protagonists. But basically, the book follows four teenagers (in the summary, the ones that are described in Breakfast Club-like terms – the “athlete,” “outcast,” “slacker,” “overachiever,” etc.) as they realize that the world is most likely going to end, as the asteroid is on a 99ish percent collision course with earth.

I like how Wallach switched between perspectives, moving from one character to the next depending on who’d played a role in the previous scene, a kind of domino effect of narration. But as far as the characters themselves go, we didn’t get enough about them to move them from their stereotype. For example, the “overachiever” was a girl who really ended up breaking out of her shell and doing what she wanted to do instead of what her parents told her – but honestly? That’s a little cliche, and I didn’t get any sort of connection with her otherwise.

And halfway through the book, the plot completely lost steam. I don’t even know what was happening, and to be honest, I ended up skimming a good chunk of it because I wasn’t even sure it’d be worth finishing. And I kinda wish I hadn’t, because the ending really pissed me off. I won’t say why, but you’ll know when you get there.

The one thing I didn’t even realize about the book until writing this review is that the author, originally a musician, composed a companion album, which is jammin’ – you can listen to it here. On it’s own, I actually really dig this music. So that’s fun.

But in terms of the book itself, it was disappointing. I hoped it would be better, but alas. The strange thing is that so many YA authors I follow on twitter have been raving over it – so, I don’t know. Maybe I’m just crazy. But We All Looked Up definitely didn’t give me anything to grasp onto.

2 out of 5 stars.



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