Author: Shaun David Hutchinson
Number of pages: 455
Star rating: 5/5
I picked this book up by accident, actually. Walking through the shelves, I was looking for a different book with a similar cover, and grabbed this one by mistake. I read the synopsis on the inside cover, and decided to start reading it right then and there in the library to see if I liked it. I hadn’t heard anything about it, so I wasn’t really sure, but the title seemed intriguing as did the summary.
Henry, the main character, is periodically abducted by aliens at inopportune moments. The book opens when he is leaving school and is swept up and away by the aliens, which no one else can see. The aliens offer him a chance to press a red button on their ship, which will somehow save Earth from imminent destruction. However, Henry isn’t so sure that he wants to press the button. He’s witnessed the death of his father, has watched his mother drift away into depression because of his father’s death, and is estranged from his brother Charlie, a guy who doesn’t even want to see Henry due to his extravagant social life and his drinking. Henry isn’t sure if Earth is worth saving, until he meets Diego. Diego is an artist with a secretive and mysterious past who is the only person who believes Henry about the existence of the aliens. Everyone else at Henry’s school is constantly bullying him, but Diego urges Henry to press the button because of all the amazing opportunities life has to offer.
We are the Ants WAS INCREDIBLE, raising interesting questions about life for the reader’s benefit. As Henry’s encounters with the aliens soon become scarce, their presence takes a larger toll on his life. People start making fun of him and bullying him, and he begins to wonder why he should push the button.
This raises a question for the reader- Are the aliens real? No one in Henry’s world seems to believe him. His perspective of the abductions are, in my opinion, skewed and “blurry”. He can never remember any sort of detail about the spaceship, and no one ever sees Henry disappear, although every abduction takes place in a lively setting. The aliens could be a figment of Henry’s imagination, and trying to decipher reality from Henry’s imagination proved very entertaining and interesting!
This book also reads like a contemporary, a shocking feat to accomplish considering that the focus of the book is aliens. The author finds a way to balance the supernatural elements of the plot with the troubles of Henry’s family life, with a grandma who’s losing her memories, a brother who hates him, and a mom who has too much on her plate to pay any attention to Henry. His loneliness contributes to the “contemporary” vibe, and gives the book a very realistic tone, which added a refreshing and intriguing layer of depth to the story.
This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes an unconventional science fiction novel!