When I first read the blurb, it sounded like a mixture of ‘The Breakfast Club’ and ‘Earth to Echo’, two of my very favourite movies. I started reading it right away, and was surprised with the end result! It met my expectations, but took a slightly different turn with its content.
‘We All Looked Up’ is in third person, and gives readers a taste of the lives of Peter, Eliza, Anita and Andy. I’d say that all characters go through varying degrees of development, with Anita making the most changes to her life as the Earth is approached by a fiery ball of death. I was expecting all characters to come to some YOLO conclusion, that they should live with no regrets and all those other cliches. I wasn’t prepared for drugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll.
However, I think the way the world, not necessarily the characters as individuals, reacted to the news that they only had 40 days left to live was very realistic. Although this book is contemporary, it’s definitely apocalyptic. There’s looting and police abuses, gun shots and murder. Pretty heavy stuff.
My favourite character was Anita, probably because who she was before the earth-shattering asteroid came about was closest to my personality. Eliza, Andy and Peter gave an insight into a wide range of friendship groups and family situations. The one thing missing from all of this was parents. Although Peter, Eliza and Anita all converse with their parents, they’re given pretty much free reins over what they do in possibly the last few days of their lives.
And the sticky situations the characters face were threatening and dangerous, making me wonder how much the parents actually knew what was going on.
The best character in the book was Suzie O, the guidance councillor. She got along with every student and gave some brilliant advice. Along with her advice, each character had their own way of thinking of the Armageddon. Some were religious, and thought of self-sacrifice and faith (something I haven’t seen in a novel since ‘Clearwater Crossing’) and others had a more ‘nothing matters’ attitude. It was interesting to read how each character reconciled their opinions and found some sort of peace by the end of the novel, which conveniently ended before the world did.
Overall, I’d give this book 3 stars. It was different, original and really made me think. However, the antagonists were horrific and menacing, which forced me to read about some pretty horrific and menacing events as a result. I really didn’t like these characters and therefore didn’t enjoy a huge chunk of the book. Recommended to people who like to come away from a book with something to think about, or people who love a good plot twist.