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.
I don’t normally go for contemporary books because it’s not a preferred genre of mine but We Are The Ants sparked my attention from all the rave reviews, including reviews from people I have similar book tastes with. I was mostly interested in this book because there was a weird alien abduction aspect going on within the synopsis. Let me be clear, this book is about mental illnesses, loss, bullying, and a lot of other issues that need to be brought to light within the YA genre. What this book is not; scifi. Don’t let the aliens fool you, this is a contemporary through and through.
I liked the pacing of this book. It takes me an eternity to get through most contemporary novels but this one flew by. There were a lot of issues going on and every chapter I finished I felt like I needed to keep going to find out what was going to happen. I also enjoyed the authors dark humor for the most part, although sometimes it was a bit too much. I’m an adult who loves YA, mostly fantasy, so contemporary high school YA books really annoy me. I felt like that with We Are The Ants but not even a fraction as much as when I read most others in this sub-genre. Honorable mention to the fact that this is an LGBTQ+ book. We are finally seeing a lot more of this in books nowadays and I will ALWAYS appreciate a LGBTQ+ romance, especially when it comes to main characters.
The characters are something I’m always looking for when I’m reading a book. How well do I connect with the characters or how fleshed out do they feel is the question I ask myself during and after I finish. I did feel like I was on this journey with our main character Henry as he has to deal with all these awful yet very real problems. I felt like the “villains” so to speak were fleshed out as well. My problem was that everyone else was bland.
I overall rated this a four star because of the content within, the issues at hand, and the fact that a lot of what was talked about NEEDS to be talked about. I tried rating this from a different place than I normally would. Not exactly how much I enjoyed reading it, but how important it is instead. For my taste it was much more of a 3 star book for me, just okay, but I think it is important so I gave it an extra star. Be aware that there is a slew of trigger warnings in this book and do not read it if rape or suicide triggers you specifically.
Also I think it’s worth mentioned that this book did make me cry a little bit. It was heartfelt and I appreciated it. I’m not generally one to cry during a book (unless it’s Where The Red Fern Grows or Harry Potter) so We Are The Ants really hit me more than normal.