‘We All Looked Up’ by Tommy Wallach
‘We All Looked Up’ is a contemporary Young Adult novel with a very interesting concept and four main characters whom are very different from each other. I expected something new and educational from this book, but all it did was leaving me with a feeling of disappointment.
‘We All Looked Up’
March 24th 2015
Publisher, this copy:
Simon & Schuster
Peter, Anita, Andy, and Eliza – the four main characters – are four very different people. Each of them has a label: the dumb athlete, the overachiever, the slacker, and the slut, and they are all busy living their lives.
One day everything changes when it’s announced that an asteroid named Ardor with high probability will hit the Earth in eight weeks. With two months left to actually live, each of them decides to break free from their labels and other people’s prejudices.
Told from alternating viewpoints, we experience how they choose to spend their last time on earth.
Eliza creates a blog with her pictures to show her work to the world. Anita chooses to escape from her parents’ controlling grip and runs away. She starts a band with Andy, since both of them has a passion for writing songs.
Andy decides that he wants to have sex with Eliza since he has a crush on her and doesn’t want to die a virgin. Therefore he spends a lot of time trying to make her fall in love with him.
Peter realizes that he is in love with Eliza and spends most of his time thinking about her and trying to make her realize how he feels.
Couldn’t sympathize with the characters and their choices
I keep thinking about what I would have done if I were in the same situation and had only two months left to live: First of all, I would spend time with my family.
All of the characters do exactly the opposite: They run away from the family problems instead of trying to solve them. Neither Peter nor Andy seem to care about their parents for real.
Eliza refuses to speak to her mother who calls her constantly, and begs her for forgiveness, and Anita decides to run away from home so she won’t have to talk to her parents ever again.
If I had two months left to live, I am pretty sure that I would try to be more forgiving, and therefore it annoyed me how the four teenagers didn’t even try to work things out. Why spend the last part of your life being angry with your parents?
I would travel and go everywhere
Throughout the story I kept waiting for something to actually happen, but nothing really did. All of them went on with their lives without doing anything dramatic – except from Anita who ran away from home – and that disappointed me.
If I had eight weeks left to live, I would travel and go everywhere I’ve always wanted to go. If the world was ending, I would try to see as much of it as possible before it was too late.
I felt annoyed
None of the four teenagers did what I would have done in their situation, and therefore I had a hard time seeing myself in any of them.
I felt annoyed with many of their choices. For example, I didn’t understand Peter and Andy’s sudden affection for Eliza. None of them really knew her at all, and therefore I couldn’t accept how they chose to spend their last two months on earth thinking about her. I didn’t understand why Eliza was so special, and I felt annoyed with them because they focused so much on a girl they didn’t even know, instead of other important things like their families and friends.
Excerpt from ‘We All Looked Up’
“Andy,” Anita said suddenly, “say something nice about Peter.”
“Just do it. Right now. Don’t think.”
It was a trick that Anita’s fifth-grade teacher had used whenever two of his students got in a fight. Andy probably wouldn’t have played along if he’d had more time to think about it, but she’d caught him by surprise. “Uh, you seem like a really good guy. Like, for real, though. Not like some kind of act.”
“Thanks,” Peter said, made shy by the compliment.”
“Your turn” Anita prompted.
“Okay.” Peter looked down at his hands. “You don’t know this, Andy, but I heard you and Anita practicing once, in the Hamilton music room. You’re really talented.”
“Oh yeah? Thanks.”
Anita exhaled heavily, letting her stomach unclench. She felt as if she’d just finished defusing a bomb. It was movement, anyway, which felt good after three days of total paralysis. But even turning Peter and Andy into best friends wouldn’t turn their protest into a success.
The story never got to me
In the end, I had a feeling that the story was unfinished. I had a hard time accepting how everything turned out, and I was left with many unanswered questions.
The scenes were mostly well written, but I was annoyed with some of the dialogue, especially in the second half of the book. It just didn’t feel like the world was ending for real, and therefore the story never got to me.