Friday, March 27, 2015

Review: We All Looked Up by by Tommy Wallach

We All Looked UpTitle:  We All Looked Up 
Author: Tommy Wallach
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publishing Date:  Match 24th 2014
Pages: 384
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Apocalyptic
Series: Stand Alone
Source: ARC


Four high school seniors put their hopes, hearts, and humanity on the line as an asteroid hurtles toward Earth in this contemporary novel.

They always say that high school is the best time of your life.

Peter, the star basketball player at his school, is worried “they” might actually be right. Meanwhile Eliza can’t wait to escape Seattle—and her reputation—and perfect-on-paper Anita wonders if admission to Princeton is worth the price of abandoning her real dreams. Andy, for his part, doesn’t understand all the fuss about college and career—the future can wait.

Or can it? Because it turns out the future is hurtling through space with the potential to wipe out life on Earth. As these four seniors—along with the rest of the planet—wait to see what damage an asteroid will cause, they must abandon all thoughts of the future and decide how they’re going to spend what remains of the present.

This was one of most anticipated reads of 2015 and I believe it was one of my wows. I was so excited to receive the ARC and was giddy to start the book. (yes I said giddy) Unfortunately, and I think I am of the few to say this, I was quite disappointed. I'm not sure what I expected out of this book but I know I thought I would be wowed. I was wrong. I liked the concept but I didn't liked how it was executed. I thought most of the book was boring and slow and when it finally picked up, it felt rushed. I didn't feel connected to any of the characters. Honestly I thought I was caught up in a bad dream.  There were a few things I did like but not enough to really enjoy the read. I did finish it but I struggled at times. 

An asteroid is coming, It will hit the planet. Two-thirds of the population is expected to perish. This story is the story about four teenagers and what they do and what those around them do in the remaining 2 months before they are most likely to die. 

I really think this was a great concept. Instead of focusing on after the tragedy strikes let's focus on the anticipation of the tragedy knowing nothing will stop it from happening. Sounds pretty awesome. Unfortunately it came out just boring to me. The entire book wasn't boring but probably 60 percent was. I had a hard time really getting into the story or the lives of these 4 teenagers. It was slow and I couldn't tell where the story was going, well except for the part of the world ending. 

I am not sure what I thought this story would be like but I really did think it would be more exciting. Maybe some epiphanies that led to a world of fun right before you die. Maybe I thought there would be some hard work trying to stop the asteroid. Maybe I thought there would be just more. There wasn't. I can say that this story was probably more true to real life than my thoughts were. Everyone going crazy. I guess that is human nature. 

The first part of the book focuses on the finding out. Four teenagers are still trying to figure things out in their lives than they find out oh my life will contain just a few more months. They thought their lives were tough before, at least they had a future. So what do you do when you find out you and the rest of the world of has couple of months to live. Well party, try to have sex for the first time, cause riots, runaway from home to fulfill your dream. In realty  I guess this is what teenagers think and I am not a teenager. So it was rough for me. 

Once things picked up it was quick and over with and the ending was pretty cool. I did like how it ended. It was tragedy and I was able to see the tragedy start but there was not finish. It seemed real.  There is no happy in the end. I guess there can't be in this situation. There was some resolution for the characters and that was something too. In the end they weren't ready but they were accepting. 

I think really the biggest issue for me. I couldn't connect. It was hard. The chapters were alternating at no particular rhythm between all four teens and I think it was too rapid.. even though the chapters were long I just didn't feel them long enough to get them. This is a real downfall for me. I have to feel the characters. I did like them at times and hate them too but I didn't get them, feel them, understand them. 

Another thing that sort of turned me off, there was a tiny bit of religion bashing, at least that is what I felt reading some parts. That always bothers me. No matter the religion I think it should be respected. I may have read more into than there was meant. Maybe it was more questioning than bashing but I felt very ick about some of the conversations. I don't feel it was enough to really take away from the story, especially for most, but it was enough for me to be bothered. Almost didn't mention but I felt the need.

One more thing I liked, the tone and the feel. They way they book read as a contemporary but really wasn't or maybe it was. I really don't know. The atmosphere of the world ending was definitely there. 

I am glad I read this book. It didn't feel like a waste because it was different, it was interesting in the fact I felt the need to find out what the book was about. My curiosity was satisfied. 

I didn't all around hate it but I didn't fall for it like I wanted to, I struggled. I do think others may like it ( as the ratings do tell ) and should read it if their curiosity is piqued.

Tommy Wallach
Tommy Wallach is a Brooklyn-based writer and musician. His first novel, We All Looked Up, will be published by Simon and Schuster in April 2015. His work has appeared in many nice magazines, such as McSweeney's, Tin House, and Wired. He has released an EP with Decca Records, and will be independently putting out an LP in Spring 2014. He also makes music videos, including one that was exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum. You should buy him dinner.


  1. I've been hearing a lot about this one -- mostly positive. Thanks for another perspective. I'll probably have to check it out, just to add my two cents! Thanks!

  2. Aww sorry to hear you didn't love it more. Especially since it was one of your most anticipated books this year :( The premise is really unique so I'm glad you still enjoyed it!!

    Eileen @ BookCatPin

  3. That stinks when you're excited about a book and it doesn't pan out. I was really really anticipating this book as well. Hopefully I'll be able to connect w/ the characters better.

  4. I just got this book from the library to give a shot. I feel like the book could go either way for me. I think I may just give it a try and see what happens. Great review.

  5. That's really disappointing that this book wasn't up to your expectations. I'd be annoyed if the book bored me and the religion bashing would especially be frustrating!!
    Great review, Jenn!

  6. I completely agree with your review! I also was uncomfortable with the slight religion bashing. Being Christian, I was somewhat offended by certain things that were said/implied about it. I did really enjoy the writing style at times, though. Great review! :)

  7. Nooooooooooo, I've been really looking forward to this, I probably won't like it, since we have similar tastes. Shame it was mainly just boring, yeah, really sounds like it's what teenagers think, because I mean, if that was happening, I'd focus on my family. Uh-oh, big no for me, I mean, I don't mind multiple perspectives (I'm getting better at them) but no order or anything, nope. Can see why it's hard to connect. I thought it would be more meaningful than it actually is, shame. :(

  8. I think you and me are in the minority on this one! Sorry you didn't like it all that much. I agree with pretty much everything you had to say about We All Looked Up. As you know, I couldn't really connect with the characters and I did get kind of bored for a long time while reading too. The ending had to be my favorite part. I thought it was nicely done.


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