Tuesday, April 14, 2015

What Will You Learn From....? | We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach
Published: March 24, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 384
Received: from Simon & Schuster Canada for review
Find online: Goodreads | Simon & Schuster

Before the asteroid we let ourselves be defined by labels:
The athlete, the outcast, the slacker, the overachiever.

But then we all looked up and everything changed.

They said it would be here in two months. That gave us two months to leave our labels behind. Two months to become something bigger than what we'd been, something that would last even after the end.

Two months to really live.

We All Looked Up - back cover of ARC

What I learned while reading this book:
1. Stand up for what you believe in.
2. Follow your heart and your dreams.
3. Don't judge a book by it's cover, it's what's inside that counts.

I read this book while on vacation and pretty much blew through it in one day. It had my attention from the start with the alternating chapters from the different POVs. I love that you could see the story through each of their eyes and see the overlapping sections to know what each felt, thought and saw. It helped create a more complete story.

My first thoughts of this book were that the group of students was like a misfit mashup of The Breakfast Club, except they are not stuck in detention, they are stuck knowing the world is coming to an end. In Andy's words these teens who have come together to do good in the face of all that is happening is called Team Karass. 
1. A network or group of people who, unknown to themselves, are somehow affiliate or linked, specifically to fulfill the will of God. (Coined by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. in the novel Cat's Cradle.) -source
Peter is the athlete, Eliza is known as the slut, Andy is the slacker and Anita is the overachiever. A very diverse group of teens brought together by fate. They decide to LIVE as much as they possibly can in the last moments of their lives. It was such a heart wrenching story to read. What would you do if you knew you only have two months left to live? What would you do to give your life meaning?

FYI - this is not the ending SO it's not a spoiler
You follow the group through flashbacks of their lives and the things that mean the most to them. You watch them learn what is important and what matters. You watch them fight for the right side of everything - no matter how small or big. And you watch the world crumbling around them while they fight to the top to survive. You watch as bonds form that might not have otherwise been there. You feel all of their emotions from love and happiness to emptiness and pain. You also feel hope. 

They each try to find that one thing that makes them really who they are. Not who everyone else thinks they are. The thing that makes them special and important. 
“The best books, they don't talk about things you never thought about before. They talk about things you'd always thought about, but that you didn't think anyone else had thought about. You read them, and suddenly you're a little bit less alone in the world. You're part of this cosmic community of people who've thought about this thing, whatever it happens to be.” 
Tommy Wallach is a writer to watch. I feel that great things will be coming our way from him. This debut novel was beautifully written. I'll be on the lookout for his next novel.

(POSSIBLE SPOILER thought not intentional)

The best thing about this book is the ending... how it gives you just enough to make you wonder. 


About the Author:
Tommy Wallach is a Brooklyn-based writer and musician. We All Looked Up is his first novel. His work has appeared in many nice magazines, such as McSweeney's, Tin House, and Wired. He has released an EP with Decca Records, and will be independently putting out an LP in Spring 2014. He also makes music videos, including one that was exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum. 

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