We All Looked Up: A YA Novel That Asks What If the World Was Ending?
We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach: A Review
What would you do if you knew that a giant meteor was heading towards Earth, with a 66.6% chance of wiping out all life on the planet? That's the premise of We All Looked Up, a YA novel by Tommy Wallach that follows four high school seniors as they face their final weeks before the possible apocalypse. In this review, I will discuss how this book explores the existential questions of life, death, and meaning through its characters, themes, and style.
we all looked up tommy wallach epub
The Premise: A Meteor on a Collision Course with Earth
The book begins with a news report that announces the discovery of Ardor, a 10-kilometer-wide meteor that is expected to pass by Earth in two months. However, there is also a chance that Ardor will enter Earth's orbit and collide with it, causing a mass extinction event. This news triggers a global panic, as people react in different ways to the impending doom. Some try to live normally, some try to fulfill their bucket lists, some turn to religion or spirituality, some resort to violence or anarchy, and some simply give up hope.
The book uses this scenario as a backdrop to explore how four teenagers cope with their own personal issues and dilemmas in the face of mortality. Each chapter is told from the point of view of one of them, alternating between Anita, Andy, Peter, and Eliza. They are all students at Ballard High School in Seattle, but they belong to different social groups and have different backgrounds and aspirations. As they cross paths and interact with each other, they also undergo changes in their attitudes, beliefs, and relationships.
The Characters: Four High School Seniors Facing the End of the World
Anita: The Perfect Student Who Wants More
Anita is the valedictorian of her class, the president of several clubs, and the daughter of strict Indian immigrants who want her to become a doctor. She has always followed the rules and done everything perfectly, but she feels unhappy and unfulfilled. She secretly loves music and singing, but she has never pursued her passion because of her parents' disapproval. When she learns about the meteor, she decides to break free from her parents' control and join a band with Andy, a boy she barely knows but who shares her love for music. She also develops feelings for him, despite their differences.
Andy: The Slacker Who Finds a Purpose
Andy is the opposite of Anita. He is a slacker who skips school, smokes weed, and hangs out with his loser friends. He lives with his alcoholic mother and his abusive stepfather, who he hates. He has no plans for his future, and he doesn't care about anything or anyone. He is also in love with Anita, but he thinks she is out of his league. When he hears about the meteor, he sees it as an opportunity to do something meaningful with his life. He invites Anita to join his band, and he tries to impress her with his guitar skills and his charm. He also tries to help his friends and his family, even if they don't appreciate it.
Peter: The Popular Jock Who Questions His Choices
Peter is the star basketball player of his school, the boyfriend of the most popular girl, and the leader of the cool crowd. He has everything he ever wanted, but he also feels bored and restless. He is not sure if he loves his girlfriend, Lexi, or if he wants to go to college on a sports scholarship. He is also curious about Eliza, a girl he hooked up with once and who he thinks is different from everyone else. When he finds out about the meteor, he starts to question his choices and his identity. He wonders if he has wasted his time and his potential on superficial things. He also feels conflicted between staying loyal to Lexi or pursuing Eliza.
Eliza: The Outcast Who Embraces Her Art
Eliza is the outcast of her school, the target of rumors and bullying. She has a bad reputation because of a sex tape that leaked online, featuring her and Peter. She also has a strained relationship with her father, who is dying of cancer. She copes with her pain by taking pictures of everything around her, especially the sky and the meteor. She has a talent for photography, and she posts her pictures on a blog that becomes viral. She also has a crush on Peter, but she knows he is with Lexi. When she learns about the meteor, she decides to embrace her art and her feelings. She wants to capture the beauty and the horror of the world before it ends. She also wants to be honest with Peter and tell him how she feels.
The Themes: Love, Friendship, and Identity in a Doomed World
The book explores the complex emotions and relationships of the characters as they face their mortality. It shows how they deal with love, friendship, and identity in a world that might end soon.
Love: Finding and Losing It in the Face of Death
The book depicts the different types of love and how they change under pressure. Anita and Andy experience a new kind of love, one that is based on mutual respect and admiration. They find each other at a time when they need someone who understands them and supports them. They also inspire each other to pursue their dreams and to be themselves. Peter and Eliza experience a forbidden kind of love, one that is based on attraction and curiosity. They are drawn to each other by their shared secrets and their shared loneliness. They also challenge each other to be honest and to be brave. However, both couples face obstacles and risks that threaten their happiness. Anita and Andy have to deal with their parents' disapproval and their friends' skepticism. Peter and Eliza have to deal with Lexi's jealousy and their own guilt.
The book also shows how love can be lost or broken in the face of death. Lexi loses Peter's love when he cheats on her with Eliza. She also loses her friends' respect when she becomes obsessed with revenge. She becomes bitter and hateful, blaming everyone else for her misery. Peter's parents lose their love for each other when they separate because of their different reactions to the meteor. Peter's father becomes paranoid and religious, while Peter's mother becomes depressed and suicidal. They stop caring for each other and for their son.
Friendship: Making and Breaking It in the Face of Death
The book shows the importance of friendship and how it can be tested by adversity. Anita and Andy form a new friendship based on their common interest in music and their mutual support. They also become friends with Peter and Eliza, who they used to ignore or avoid. They form a group called the Ardorians, who share their thoughts and feelings about the meteor and their lives. They also perform together at a concert that becomes a memorable event for them and their fans. However, their friendship also faces challenges and conflicts, such as jealousy, betrayal, and misunderstanding. They have to deal with their old friends, who don't approve of their new ones. They also have to deal with their own differences and secrets, which sometimes cause tension and resentment.
The book also shows how friendship can be broken or lost in the face of death. Lexi loses her friendship with Peter when he cheats on her with Eliza. She also loses her friendship with her best friend, Stacy, who tries to help her but ends up hurting her. She becomes isolated and angry, pushing away everyone who cares for her. Andy's friends, Bobo and Marty, lose their friendship with Andy when he joins Anita's band and changes his attitude. They feel betrayed and abandoned by him, and they try to sabotage his success. They also get involved in a violent gang, which puts them in danger.
Identity: Discovering and Redefining It in the Face of Death
The book illustrates the process of self-discovery and self-expression in a crisis. Anita discovers her true identity as a singer and a musician, who is not afraid to follow her heart and her dreams. She also expresses herself through her songs and her voice, which touch many people's lives. Andy discovers his true identity as a leader and a hero, who is not afraid to stand up for what he believes in and to help others. He also expresses himself through his guitar and his actions, which inspire many people's respect. Peter discovers his true identity as a thinker and a rebel, who is not afraid to question his choices and to challenge the status quo. He also expresses himself through his words and his decisions, which influence many people's opinions. Eliza discovers her true identity as an artist and a survivor, who is not afraid to face her pain and to share her vision. She also expresses herself through her pictures and her blog, which capture many people's attention.
The Style: A Mix of Realism and Science Fiction
The book combines realistic dialogue and situations with sci-fi elements and symbolism. It creates a sense of wonder and dread as it depicts the impact of the meteor on the world and the characters.
Realism: Capturing the Voice and Experience of Teenagers
The book uses authentic language and scenarios to portray the characters' lives. It uses slang, humor, sarcasm, and profanity to capture the voice and tone of teenagers. It also uses references to pop culture, social media, music, and sports to capture the context and culture of teenagers. It shows how the characters deal with typical issues such as school, family, friends, romance, sex, drugs, bullying, peer pressure, expectations, etc. It makes the characters relatable and believable as they struggle with their problems.
Science Fiction: Creating a Sense of Wonder and Dread
The book uses the meteor as a plot device and a metaphor for the uncertainty of life. It creates a sense of wonder as it describes the meteor's appearance and effects on the sky, the weather, the animals, etc. It makes the meteor a fascinating and mysterious phenomenon that attracts curiosity and awe. It also creates a sense of dread as it implies the meteor's potential consequences on humanity, civilization, nature, etc. It makes the meteor a terrifying and inevitable threat that causes fear and panic.
The Conclusion: A Cliffhanger Ending that Leaves Room for Interpretation
The book ends with a bang and a question mark. It shows what happens when Ardor finally reaches Earth's orbit and whether it collides with it or not. It reveals the fate of some characters but leaves others ambiguous. It also leaves some questions unanswered and some issues unresolved. It makes the reader wonder what will happen next and what it all means.
The Verdict: A Thought-Provoking and Engaging Read
I recommend this book to anyone who likes YA fiction with depth and originality. It is a book that makes you think about life, death, and everything in between. It is a book that makes you feel a range of emotions, from joy to sorrow, from hope to despair, from love to hate. It is a book that makes you care about the characters and their stories. It is a book that makes you look up at the sky and wonder what if.
Here are some frequently asked questions about the book and my answers:
Is this book part of a series?
No, this book is a standalone novel. However, there is a companion book called Thanks for the Trouble, which features a minor character from We All Looked Up.
Is this book based on a true story?
No, this book is a work of fiction. However, it is inspired by some real events and phenomena, such as the Chelyabinsk meteor, the Tunguska event, and the Doomsday Clock.
Is this book suitable for younger readers?
It depends on the reader's maturity and preference. This book contains some mature themes and content, such as profanity, sexual references, violence, drugs, etc. It also deals with some dark and disturbing topics, such as death, suicide, terrorism, etc. Some readers may find it too intense or inappropriate for their age or taste.
What is the message or moral of this book?
This book does not have a clear or simple message or moral. It is open to interpretation and discussion. However, some possible themes or lessons that can be derived from this book are: - Live in the present and appreciate what you have - Follow your dreams and be yourself - Don't judge others by their appearance or reputation - Cherish your loved ones and your friends - Make the best of your situation and your choices - Be curious and adventurous - Be honest and brave - Be kind and compassionate
Where can I get this book in epub format?
You can get this book in epub format from various online sources, such as Amazon Kindle, Google Play Books, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo, etc. You can also borrow it from your local library or download it for free from websites like Archive.org.