I feel like I’ve been reading the same kinds of young adult literature for the past couple of years: romances, fantasies, and sci-fis. While We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson can be considered a YA lit sci-fi novel, I didn’t see it as such. I saw Hutchinson’s writing style as a breath of fresh air, adding humor and sarcasm to the genre.
Henry Denton doesn’t live the most enchanted life. Having a chain-smoking single mother, loud and slightly stupid older brother, old and dementia-ridden grandma, mixed with the general anxiety of being a gay teenage boy in the rich part of town doesn’t leave a good taste in Henry’s mouth. When the “sluggers,” aliens who’ve abducted Henry before, give him the opportunity to either end the world or save the world, Henry doesn’t just make a rash decision. He sits back and takes his time, letting the time limit the aliens gave him elapse as he decides if he lives in a world worth living.
The plot didn’t hook me, I’m not going to lie. Henry’s internal debate did. He would go between yes, everyone deserves to live and no, everyone sucks so quickly that I found myself literally laughing out loud on my lunch breaks. Not to mention Henry covered a lot of hard subjects teens unfortunately are faced with these days like suicide and homophobia. I could also see the stress of Henry’s home life taking a toll on him. As someone who has taken care of an elderly family member, I can say it’s not easy at any age, let alone as a teenager. Unlike so many other modern YA books out there, this novel really captures how young people think, even if the plot is something a little more fictional than most.
All-in-all, I was impressed with We Are the Ants. I mean, really impressed. By page three I knew I’d like the book, but that’s just me. If you want to get a snapshot into the mind of a teenage boy with real problems, then you very well may enjoy this book, no matter what the plot may be.
Sarah Emily Lelonek has a BA in English Literature from Kent State University. She is currently enrolled at Tiffin University in their Master’s of Education program. She enjoys traveling and gaming while on breaks from working on her novel.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Simon Pulse. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.