We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

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We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

Buy We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: There's a 66% chance that the world will end due to an asteroid collision in about two months. How do you think things will go? Follow the story through the narrations of four very different teenagers. LOVED this interesting, inspirational and moving story.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: March 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 147112455X

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Peter, Eliza, Andy and Anita are all about to graduate high school. They all have plans and expectations, even slacker Andy. But those expectations are about to be thrown into disarray. An asteroid is approaching Earth and there's a 66% chance of a collision and an extinction level event. There are just a few weeks before a possible, no a likely, end of the world. What will happen? How will they react? What will they do?

Peter is a star basketball player with a college scholarship and a great girlfriend but a nagging feeling that he is selling himself short. Eliza is an artistic girl with a terminally-ill father but a rebel. After all, if you're labelled a slut, why not own the label? Andy is a skateboarding slacker who can't think past losing his virginity. He spends a lot of time stamping down his conscience but it keeps bubbling up and pricking him anyway. And Anita is an overachiever, destined to make her parents proud. But all she really wants to do is sing.

There are just eight weeks left. And all bets are off...

There's a little bit of the genre-busting about We All Looked Up, isn't there? We're all used to post-apocalyptic scenarios but here we have a pre-apocalypse setting. It's not about what we'd do if the disaster has already happened; it's about what we'd do if we knew it was coming. While reading, I kept wondering what the great and the good were up to as the asteroid approached. Presumably, they were all in deep underground bunkers or something, insulated from the chaos above and hoping to be able to emerge some day with a plan for a new society. But Wallach isn't writing about the great and the good. He's writing about the ordinary kids and I did believe in them all. They're all messed up in some ways and hugely couragous in others. And through them, Wallach shows how precarious human society actually is, how the difference between structure and chaos is a very thin layer.

I liked the multiple points of view and I liked all the protagonists, even when they weren't behaving well. I suppose We All Looked Up is really a distillation of everyone's search for meaning in their own lives, just heightened by impending doom. Music - Wallach is himself a musician - pervades the whole book and adds another layer of perception to what's going on. There will be a companion album or songs and you can listen to one of them in the video on the right.

I thought this was a great story. It's interesting with credible characters and has a real sense of urgency about it. There may have been a tad too much romance for my liking but I'm an ancient old bird, so what do I know? I'm not in a rush to experience anything but if I were 18 and an asteroid was approaching, I'm sure I would be. I'm definitely looking forward to reading whatever Wallach writes next. We also have a review of his Thanks for the Trouble.

If you like the idea of an end of the world approaching scenario, you might also enjoy The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker, which tells the story of a young girl's life in a world where the spinning of Earth has slowed.

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Buy We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.

Buy We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach at Amazon.com.


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