I picked up We All Looked Up the same day I got All the Rage and, boy, was that a successful Barnes & Noble trip if there ever was one.
Tommy Wallach’s We All Looked Up is a countdown to the end of the world. An asteroid is making its way towards Earth with only two months to go, and what better way to examine this situation than through the eyes of a group of barely connected teenagers finding themselves as part of the same karass.
This book surprised me in a number of ways, some good, some bad-good (i.e., absolutely heart shattering): the way it managed depth within in so many characters in only so many pages, the way it made me cry, the way it made me scared of things other than the asteroid hurtling towards my own home planet. While at times it felt like it was trying a little too hard to be cool or relevant–references to Pitch Perfect and Radiohead–those moments were few and far between among the depth of this novel.
I think what I really liked about this novel was that it was pre-apocalyptic, as opposed to the post-apocalyptic dystopian trend that’s been so popular as of late (not that I dislike it; I enjoy a good dystopian as much as the next person). It was great to get a look at not only the before but a before that we as readers will know. I may not be a teenager anymore, but I have an understanding of the world that Andy, Anita, Eliza, and Peter are living through, and I couldn’t help being awed and inspired by the way they chose to spend their last two months on this floating rock. When the whole system is crumbling around them, they find ways to both go on and help others, help each other, and help themselves.
Lastly, while the book wasn’t as down and depressing as you might expect given the topic, it was still serious, with just the right balance of tension and comedy, both in the characters and the plot. Nothing about this book felt one dimensional or shallow to me, and I appreciate the effort Wallach put into this novel to make it as enjoyable and effective as it turned out to be.