by Alex Kim, Teen Volunteer
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I am a simple man. I choose books by their covers. That’s why I chose We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson. Because it has an interesting cover.
The first line of the novel read, “Life is bullshit,” and at that moment, I knew that this book was going to be true to an average teenager. Because is there a teenager whose life isn’t rubbish?
And my prediction wasn’t wrong. The novel is about Henry, a teenage boy, who gets regularly abducted by aliens. This time, however, was special because he was given a choice to save the world or not. All he had to do was press a red button within the next 144 days. This wasn’t it though. Throughout the novel, Henry continued to get beat up and engages in continuous one-night stands with his bully, experiences problems with his school, and has family issues. In short, his life stinks.
I truly enjoyed this book. I can’t say that for many books. While most decent books get me sleeping around after an hour and excellent books keep me up for approximately 2 hours, this kept me up until 1 AM, forcing me to turn the page to see what was going to happen next. I don’t know what sort of witchcraft Hutchinson worked into this novel, but his writing style seemed perfect. The tone was somber yet comical and the plot was, on the surface, shallow, yet had a deeper meaning. Each character also had their unique role in the novel, and while some were the stereotypical high school types, others were completely new.
However, there’s a reason why I don’t think this book deserves a 5/5, despite it being one of the best books I read. The ending left me wanting a bit more from the book, as I thought that it ended rather abruptly. It seemed as if there was a jump within the plot, yet the ending does show the end result of Henry and the rest of his family being happy, which could be the Disney ending I was wishing for.
In conclusion, We Are the Ants is an excellent novel brought together by a relatable plot and an excellent cast of characters. While the ending left something to be desired, I felt as if the moral of this story is essential for any teenager, especially as most, if not all of us, are going through an extremely stressful time of our lives. It’s without doubt that I would recommend this book to any teenager who loves reading.
Alex Kim is a junior at HVCHS and a teen volunteer at the Pennington Public Library. He also (barely) participates in his school Model UN club as well playing the cello for the NJ All-State Orchestra (and also somehow went to Nashville for nationals!), and enjoys spending free time doing absolutely nothing like a lazy sloth. However, Alex does work hard in the rare circumstances when one can see him doing work, like when he struggled to write this terrible short autobiography defaming himself.