Book Reviews, Young Adult

Review: We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

There are a few things Henry Denton knows, and a few things he doesn’t.

Henry knows that his mom is struggling to keep the family together, and coping by chain-smoking cigarettes. He knows that his older brother is a college dropout with a pregnant girlfriend. He knows that he is slowly losing his grandmother to Alzheimer’s. And he knows that his boyfriend committed suicide last year.

What Henry doesn’t know is why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and he doesn’t know why they continue to steal him from his bed and take him aboard their ship. He doesn’t know why the world is going to end or why the aliens have offered him the opportunity to avert the impending disaster by pressing a big red button.

But they have. And they’ve only given him 144 days to make up his mind.

The question is whether Henry thinks the world is worth saving. That is, until he meets Diego Vega, an artist with a secret past who forces Henry to question his beliefs, his place in the universe, and whether any of it really matters. But before Henry can save the world, he’s got to figure out how to save himself, and the aliens haven’t given him a button for that.

–back cover of We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

I really wasn’t sure what to think of this book. It was incredibly intense, and I think the whole thing needs a content warning for sexual content, a graphic rape attempt, and severe bullying.

I felt as if a lot of the book was just dramatic for the sake of being dramatic, and I really felt as if the whole alien thing talked about within the first few chapters had a disappointing let down later in the book. It just seemed like it was there for the sake of being there, and the book wasn’t at all how I anticipated it being.

The characters were okay. They were entertaining enough to read about, but they aren’t characters that will stick with me for long after the read.

There were some very good aspects of the book though. I thought that they portrayed a teen boy in a normal, healthy light, compared to how boys are often portrayed in the media. He was allowed to have emotions and feelings. It also showed that sexual harassment isn’t something that just happens to girls, and I think that this is a concept that needs to become as normal as girls being victims, because it is sadly true.

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.