✨ jamieson ✨'s Reviews > We Are the Ants

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
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The universe may forget us but it doesn't matter. Because we are the ants, and we'll keep marching on


When people used to say to me what do you want to be when you grow up? I'd ALWAYS say astronaut. In fact, I still want to be an astronaut .. I just don't think I will be ( unfortunately it turns out getting to space involves a shit ton of MATH and I don't do math very well.)

But the point stands I am absolutely a SLUT for space. What can I say, stars are pretty, planets intrigue me and I want to meet me some aliens (and yes aliens are real, you can't tell me in a universe of 60 tillion planets there aren't some aliens about somewhere)

ANYWAY, this relates, I promise. We are The Ants has space, and aliens too. Space isn't the only thing that made me fall in love with this book but it helped. The aliens helped too. But what also helped was the incredible characters, the witty dialogue, the beautiful prose, the enchanting plot line, the emotions that this book dragged out of me and had churning within the first few pages.



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Listen, I NEVER recommend contemporaries. I DO NOT LIKE CONTEMPORARIES !! Traditionally, anyway. Of course there was some that get me all emotional. We are the Ants is a contemporary I didn't just enjoy, but fell head over heels for. I love this book.

This book man. It's kinda The Perks of Being a Wallflower meets ET and holy shit I love it. Our main character, Henry Denton, is a victim of reoccurring alien abductions. (YES PEOPLE, aliens are a thing in this book) and yet somehow the fact the aliens abduct him all the time (And at inconvenient times might I add) that isn't even his main problem Because not only do the aliens abduct him, they've also told him the world is ending in 144 days unless he stops it.

Actually, I wanna slow this down and sober it up a bit because it is a heavy book. And like, the space and aliens are fun but this book isn't entirely fun. Henry Denton, the protagonist, is coping with a lot. His dad walked out on his family, his mum is a mess, his unemployed college drop out brother has a pregnant girlfriend and Henry's boyfriend, Jesse, recently committed suicide. So on top of alien invasions he's dealing with a bit. He's supposed to save the world for the aliens, and he's not even sure it's worth it.

(I KNOW THIS SEEMS ALOT OF INFO BUT IT'S NOT SPOILERS PROMISE

This book is heavy, and it's bizarre and I love it. The main character is wonderful. I constantly have an issue with how teenage boys are written in books - I can never connect. But I connected with Henry, oh my god I loved him. I sympathised with him so much, I understood him completely and I found him to be a perceptive, thoughtful narrator who successfully gave me an existisitential crisis. And me, a catastrophic thinker, could relate a little too much to his overthinking.

But really, I love all the characters in this. Mysterious Diego, Audrey, Marcus and Zooey, I loved them all by the end. (but not Adrian tho. Fuck Adrian. ) (view spoiler)

The most beautiful thing about this though was the prose. The writing was literally stunning. Rich, with a wry tone and a frank perspective on the world. I enjoyed that while it was philosophical and reflective, it was also a bit deadpan and didn't beat around the bush. I liked the way this book offered a reflection on the things that worry us as people, and how it was ultimately hopeful despite all the despair and the heaviness of some of the themes.



We Are the Ants covers some heavy themes and topics. I loved it for it's LGBT+ representation, but be aware there are trigger warnings for rape, suicide (view spoiler)
Despite that I think it's important, and I'm glad this book gave an honest perspective into some of the troubles facing both the teenage lgbt+ community, but also just teenagers in general. I loved the cast of diverse characters with interesting backstories. AND I LOVED THE REPRESENTATION OF MEDICATION !! STOP DEMONISING MEDICATION IN YOUR BOOKS But this book man. .. It can be dark, and heavy and it weighs on you, you truly feel the depth and weight of this book. I adore that. I adore it.

I loved the messages this book sent, and the way the problems and issues were tackled. I liked that things were not neatly tied in a bow, I liked the ambiguous ending.

In fact, there wasn't much at all I didn't like (it is a 5* book for a reason). But this is one of those books that was a 5* from the opening page to the last. There was simply not a moment I did not love? I read this in one sitting pretty much and I was emotionally drained by the end, but I was in love.

I've truly never read anything like this. For me, contemporary YA is becoming alot of the same but this stood out. I haven't been so shook by a contemporary since I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower back in 2012 or something.

I adore this book so much. I think everyone should read it. It's raw, it's honest. A poignant insight into people, and how we so desperately try to make things matter. A reminder that we matter on a small level to those around us, that being great does not mean achieving fame and notoriety.

And it's incredibly, disgustingly underrated and under read. This book is truly beautiful, and important and still makes me so emotional just by looking at the cover. I think about this book everyday. It deserves more attention, it's a truly beautiful book.

It's a book about remembering and cherishing the small things, about learning to let go, about loving fiercely and making sacrifices. About remembering we are who we are, that we define ourselves. That we matter. Oh, and it's about aliens too.


MY "WE ARE THE ANTS" PLAYLIST

“We're not words, Henry, we're people.
Words are how others define us, but we can define ourselves any way we choose.”


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Quotes ✨ jamieson ✨ Liked

Shaun David Hutchinson
“I could write my name across the sky, and it would be in invisible ink.”
Shaun David Hutchinson, We Are the Ants

Shaun David Hutchinson
“We're not words, Henry, we're people.
Words are how others define us, but we can define ourselves any way we choose.”
Shaun David Hutchinson, We Are the Ants

Shaun David Hutchinson
“I saw the world from the stars' point of view, and it looked unbearably lonely.”
Shaun David Hutchinson, We Are the Ants

Shaun David Hutchinson
“Your entire sense of self-worth is predicated upon your belief that you matter, that you matter to the universe. But you don't. Because we are the ants.”
Shaun David Hutchinson, We Are the Ants

Shaun David Hutchinson
“That's the problem with memories: you can visit them, but you can't live in them.”
Shaun David Hutchinson, We Are the Ants

Shaun David Hutchinson
“Dreams are hopeful because they exist as pure possibility. Unlike memories, which are fossils, long dead and buried deep.”
Shaun David Hutchinson, We Are the Ants

Shaun David Hutchinson
“We remember the past, live in the present, and write the future.”
Shaun David Hutchinson, We Are the Ants

Shaun David Hutchinson
“We may not get to choose how we die, but we can chose how we live.
The universe may forget us, but it doesn't matter. Because we are the ants, and we'll keep marching on.”
Shaun David Hutchinson, We Are the Ants

Shaun David Hutchinson
What if I don’t give a shit about the world?
“I’d say that’s pretty fucking sad.”
Why?
“Because the world is so beautiful.”
Shaun David Hutchinson, We Are the Ants

Shaun David Hutchinson
“The universe may forget us, but it doesn't matter. Because we are the ants, and we'll keep marching on.”
Shaun David Hutchinson, We Are the Ants

Shaun David Hutchinson
“We're all Holden Caulfield at fifteen, but when we grow up we want to be Atticus Finch”
Shaun David Hutchinson, We Are the Ants


Reading Progress

September 2, 2016 – Shelved
September 2, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
October 3, 2016 – Shelved as: young-adult
October 3, 2016 – Shelved as: lgbtqiap
October 3, 2016 – Shelved as: science-fiction
October 3, 2016 – Shelved as: contemporary
November 2, 2016 – Shelved as: diverse-lit
November 8, 2016 – Started Reading
November 8, 2016 –
page 0
0.0% "I was going to read this in December for my diverse month but I'm just not enjoying my current book and I really feel like reading this so sorry not sorry @ the december tbr I'm starting now!"
November 8, 2016 –
page 3
0.66% "ok yes the first two and a half pages were beautiful yes yes yes yes yes yes yes I'm going to like this just YES oh wow I don't know ... just the first few pages were really nice"
November 8, 2016 –
page 24
5.27% "He hadn't intended for us to wither into desiccated husks in front of brightly lit screens that leeched away our summer days one meme at a time" \n\nWELL SHIT. I love 2016 authors"
November 8, 2016 –
page 70
15.38% "I love this. I love this so much already. I LOVE the prose, and I love Henry's voice and I love that it involves aliens. I want to stay up reading this but I have an exam tomorrow morning whyyy"
November 8, 2016 –
page 116
25.49% "This is really emotional I've almost cried like twice and I don't really get emotional at books. It's just really raw oh god I love this"
November 8, 2016 –
page 157
34.51% "It's heavy, and a bit bizarre but I really love it"
November 9, 2016 –
page 404
88.79% "Yesterday I spent 3 hours on the beach reading this. It was really nice, but also can't believe how fast this book went by"
November 9, 2016 – Shelved as: 2016-reads
November 9, 2016 – Shelved as: books-that-made-me-cry
November 9, 2016 – Shelved as: favorites
November 9, 2016 – Shelved as: favourite-covers
November 9, 2016 – Finished Reading
May 10, 2018 – Shelved as: gay-mc

Comments Showing 1-26 of 26 (26 new)

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sreeja (hiatus) this book sounds amazing! :)


✨    jamieson   ✨ It is, trust me! I literally don't think I've ever been gripped by every single word, and hanging on to each page before this book. It's amazing really really recommend !! <3


Arantxa (TheRoomWhereItHappens) I'm glad you loved this book. To me it was very special, not necessarily because I've in Henry's situation but because this book really speaks to you with its raw honesty and gives you AN EXISTENTIAL CRISIS


✨    jamieson   ✨ Arantxa wrote: "I'm glad you loved this book. To me it was very special, not necessarily because I've in Henry's situation but because this book really speaks to you with its raw honesty and gives you AN EXISTENTI..."

AGREE I HAD AN EXISTENTIAL CRISIS TOO. It's incredibly raw and honestly, and I feel tackles and addresses important issues. I loved this book.


Haïfa Beautiful beautiful review!!!!


Danielle ❤️ Pretty Mess Reading ❤️ Fab review love! xo


✨    jamieson   ✨ Haifoun wrote: "Beautiful beautiful review!!!!"

Danielle wrote: "Fab review love! xo"

Thankyou <3


Cassandra {semi-hiatus} Amazing review! Totally rekindled my undying love for this amazing, wacky novel. :)


✨    jamieson   ✨ Cassandra wrote: "Amazing review! Totally rekindled my undying love for this amazing, wacky novel. :)"

It definitely is wacky, but I love it that little bit more because of it


prag ♻ I agree! It's bizarre, yet amazing. (view spoiler)


message 11: by Ryan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ryan Why did this review make me emotional? *sighs* I love this book more than words can express <33


✨    jamieson   ✨ Ryan wrote: "Why did this review make me emotional? *sighs* I love this book more than words can express <33"

I know, I feel you so much. It's so good, it deserves so much better


Jule ☀ I've had this book on my tbr for a while now and I was a bit sceptical about the Sci-Fi elements because that's usually not something I reach for. I recently received an Amazon gift card and your review gave me the final push to go for it and order this book. Brilliantly written review and I'm sure I'll come back to it once I finish reading the book. :)


✨    jamieson   ✨ I'm soo glad you decided to read it Jule ! Although I am a fan of sci-fi, those elements do not dominate the story. I really hope you love it as much as I do, this book makes me genuinely emotional because of how good it was and I hope you feel the same! And thankyou for liking my review


message 15: by Jodi (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jodi I love your review although i strongly disliked the book (but I also dislike Catcher in the Rye and we know what Henry said). Anyway did anyone else get the idea that maybe it was mental illness that caused Henry to see the sluggers? I mean he started viewing the world differently, on a positive note, even towards adverse events such as the Marcus situation so maybe it was deep depression, sleep walking, who knows that resulted in the whole thing


✨    jamieson   ✨ Aah sorry you didn't like it! Anyway, I did have that idea too. I didn't want to say that because I'm not really sure and I'm kinda half vibing it's genuine aliens and half vibing mental illness.

But yeah I get what you mean, and I think it's a legitimate way to look at it. I need to read this book again because I read the think ridiculously fast and like related too hard to look at it objectively so when I reread it I need to think about this. It did cross my mind though I just never sure if I was for the idea or not


helen❣️ I LOVE THIS BOOK IT'S SPACE + GAY + BEAUTIFUL WRITING


✨    jamieson   ✨ I KNOW !!!! I love it so much


message 19: by g (new) - rated it 5 stars

g you summed up my feelings about this book pERFECTLY im screaming i love this book with all my heart and henry is one of the best characters i have ever read about im :,))))


✨    jamieson   ✨ urgggghh I know. I love everything about this its just ? beautiful and perfect and relatable


message 21: by Isa (last edited Nov 10, 2017 01:54AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Isa Jansen I picked it up because you recommended it, but I was really surprised by its ableism? I continued reading because I thought the main character's thoughts about blaming his boyfriend for his suicide would get corrected, but then his friend Audrey says 'depression never stops,' and even outright states the suicide was selfish. I think that's an incredibly harmful message to a vulnerable community. Because suicide is not selfish, it's the same as passing from a physical illness. I think there's a real problem in YA with talking about suicidal issues, but not about what it means to get help and recover. Which is the most interesting part! You can learn so much from depression and it does stop, if you fight for it. So yeah, I would put a TW for ableism on it, I don't say you can't enjoy it, but it does send a harmful message.


✨    jamieson   ✨ Isa wrote: "I picked it up because you recommended it, but I was really surprised by its ableism? I continued reading because I thought the main character's thoughts about blaming his boyfriend for his suicide..."

I can see what you're saying, but since I know a large portion of the mental illness rep is ownvoices I would feel uncomfortable saying it's poorly portrayed, when its ownvoices. Do you know what I mean?

Also, you might have an experience with depression 'ending', but I'd say thats really not a universal experience and many people are fighting it every single day, but maybe your experience is different to mine.


message 23: by Isa (new) - rated it 1 star

Isa Jansen Thanks for the nice response! But 80% of people with depression recovers (with treatment) and books should put light on that because a lot of depressed kids really believe that it's hopeless


message 24: by Isa (new) - rated it 1 star

Isa Jansen and some people won't completely recover of course! But people tend to forget that it's possible and statiscally likely. Also, ownvoices can still be ableist, when they haven't educated themselves on mental illness and the stigma. Internalised ableism is unfortunately a very real thing.


Janae Salinas Isa, I think you make a valid argument that talking about suicide like this may hurt the community, but I also think it added to the character development and theme of the book. It showed how the people are affected after a suicide. Even if it isn’t the prettiest side of it, some people do think this way. I think the whole book kind of slapped some sense into me, and it definitely allowed me to look at some things in entirely different ways.


Skye (HailHydra) literally everything about this review makes me want to read this book immediately.


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