We Are the Ants – book review

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We Are the Ants
by Shaun David Hutchinson
LGBTQ+
Magical Realism
Realistic Fiction
Science Fiction
Teen
* * * * Stars (Great!)

Henry Denton has been abducted by aliens countless times. They perform all kinds of experiments on him, then return him to Earth – naked and inconveniently far from home. He made the mistake of talking about it once, which earned him eternal bullying and the moniker “Space Boy.” Now the aliens have given Henry an opportunity to save the world, which is somehow going to cease to exist/be destroyed on January 29, 2016. All he has to do is push a button to stop it. It’s not an easy decision for Henry. The world is both a beautiful and horrible place and he’s not sure if humanity deserves to be saved. His own life is a mess that he’s struggling to keep together while he grieves for his boyfriend who killed himself, is bullied and assaulted by a group of guys at school, and makes poor relationship decisions. His grandmother is also slowly losing her memories to Alzheimer’s, and his older brother just announced that he and his girlfriend are having a baby. Henry’s mom is also at the end of her wits. While he waits for impending doom, Henry writes end-of-the-world scenarios, and agonizes over his decision.

This is an astonishingly heartbreaking novel, and Henry endures a lot of pain along the way. Are the aliens real, or are they an invention of his fevered mind as he attempts to reconcile the coexistence of horror and loveliness in the world?

Reviewed by YA Librarian

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