Shaun is a major geek and all about nerdy shenanigans. He is the author of The Deathday Letter, fml, and the forthcoming The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He currently lives in South Florida with his partner and dog and watches way too much Doctor Who.
Title: We Are The Ants
Author: Shaun David Hutchinson
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication: January 19th 2016
Cover Rating: 4/5
When the first line in a book says "Life is bullshit.", you know it's going to be a pretty good book. It also makes me think about the book I submitted to a contest last year. I was told that "Young Adult books shouldn't have cussing in them.". I am starting to think that that was bullshit as well! If you think that teenagers don't cuss then you need a reality check. So with that being said, yes, this book has cussing, and yes, you should definitely let your teenagers read this.
Henry is such a raw character. He isn't trying to fit in, he isn't trying to be someone he isn't and he doesn't sugar coat things. He is just living life, if you can call it that. He is tormented everyday, not just by bullies, but by the death of his boyfriend. So, if you were given the chance to save the world, would you? Would you let humanity die a fiery death? Or would you save the world? And if you chose to save the world, what would your reason be? Would it be purely selfish? Or would you have an actual good reason? Henry has this choice to make. The world is literally on his shoulders.
Then, aside from Henry having to decide whether this shitty world is worth saving, we have a whole slew of side characters that make the book and Henry's life what they are. We have a dead boyfriend. We have a brother who is pretty horrible. We have a brother's pregnant girlfriend. We have a ex best friend turned back into best friend. We have love interests. We have bullies, teachers, a single mother and a Alzheimer's ridden grandmother. All of these people flesh out the book and without them life would be pretty boring. But maybe Henry would have enjoyed that. Who knows? Oh! And Aliens... We can't forget them.
I have read a few other books since finishing this one and it's so hard because I keep looking for Henry's voice in every book I pick up. I loved Henry so much. He is just one of those characters, like Harry Potter, that will always be with me now.
I wish I had other books to compare this to but, in all honesty, there is no comparison. This book is the strangest book I have ever read. Yet it is the most real book, besides the aliens, that I have ever read. The author says things that most people are too afraid to say or admit to. There is a raw, brutal truth that the main character expresses that just makes me stop and think about how truly terrible this world is.
This book was amazing, I loved it. It was definitely out of my comfort zone and not something I would normally pick up. Reasons being, A) I don't normally connect OR enjoy books with male protagonists and B) The synopsis honestly made the book sound like something stupid. That sounds horrible but I found the book on a shelf at Barnes and Noble a week early, picked it up, read the synopsis, sat it back down and moved on. Then I saw someone on Instagram praising it so I figured "Hey, I need more male authors on my author spotlight." So I emailed the author and here we are. So never be afraid to pick up a book that sounds weird or different than what you usually enjoy. You will never find out if you enjoy other things if you don't step outside of your little box.
Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.
Pretty much since third grade. We had to write these short stories for class. I was a major geek back then. Glasses, knobby knees, the works. I was used to people laughing at me. So I wrote this weird, wild story about the Kool-Aid man going on a rampage, and instead of the class laughing at me because I was a geek, they laughed with me because of something I’d written. I discovered the power of words that day, and I’ve been chasing that feeling ever since.
2) If you weren't an author what would you be?
Well, I’m a computer nerd, and I work with databases (which sounds boring, I know), but I think I probably would have wound up teaching. I studied medieval and renaissance literature in college, so I probably would have gone on and gotten a master’s degree and PhD and taught high school or college English.
3) Would you push the button?
Absolutely. I know a lot of people will probably think Diego said it best when he tells Henry that the world is so beautiful, but I think Jesse’s mother said it best when she said, “Jesse thought life wasn’t worth living, and I refuse to prove him right.”
4) Are any of the characters in We Are The Ants modeled after people you know in real life?
Not wholly. I think bits and pieces definitely are. Audrey shares a lot of qualities with my best friend (we’ve been friends since high school). Henry’s mother share’s my own mother’s love of Motown. Marcus is kind of an amalgam of all my ex-boyfriends rolled into one obnoxious package.
5) Are you currently working on any new books?
Well, I’ve got a book coming out early 2017 about a young man who thinks the universe is shrinking. The book starts with a plane crash and goes to some really weird places after that. And I’ve got couple more in the pipeline that I can’t really talk about. But I’m always working on something really weird.
6) If you had to pitch your book(We Are The Ants) to a potential buyer, what would you say?
We Are the Ants is a book about a boy named Henry who’s trying to find a reason to live after the suicide of his boyfriend. And there are aliens. I’m really terrible at pitches.