Tuesday, 7 April 2015

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach | Blog Hop + Giveaway!

Title: We All Looked Up
Author: Tommy Wallach
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia
Publication Date: April 1st, 2014
Genre(s): Contemporary, Apocalyptic

We All Looked Up
Four high school seniors put their hopes, hearts, and humanity on the line as an asteroid hurtles toward Earth in this contemporary novel.

They always say that high school is the best time of your life.

Peter, the star basketball player at his school, is worried “they” might actually be right. Meanwhile Eliza can’t wait to escape Seattle—and her reputation—and perfect-on-paper Anita wonders if admission to Princeton is worth the price of abandoning her real dreams. Andy, for his part, doesn’t understand all the fuss about college and career—the future can wait.

Or can it? Because it turns out the future is hurtling through space with the potential to wipe out life on Earth. As these four seniors—along with the rest of the planet—wait to see what damage an asteroid will cause, they must abandon all thoughts of the future and decide how they’re going to spend what remains of the present.

If there is one thing I love it's an apocalypse. And no, not in the deranged kind of way. There's just something about characters dealing with their impending death that brings about honesty you wouldn't find anywhere else.

We All Looked Up really took me by surprise, and turned out to be the most honestly insightful apocalyptic novel I've read to date. Being a teenager myself I've had my fair share of doubts in myself and self-image issues, we all have, but often in YA these issues are either omitted or poorly portrayed. That definitely wasn't the case here. In this book we get to look into the lives of these ordinary teenagers as they simultaneously re-evaluate their lives in the face of an incoming asteroid and their impending deaths in such a genuine and brutally honest manner. With such a diverse cast of characters the story covers all kinds of thoughts one would be plagued with during an existential crisis, especially since the beliefs, values and overall opinions of these characters are so widely varied. If your mind hasn't wandered to some of these thoughts before, then you're exposed to them here and at times these opinions start to challenge and question your own.

I was particularly taken Peter, and I can't quite figure out why. Peter is quite sensitive and fairly naive in nature, but he also holds such a big heart and takes it upon himself to make the world a better place. I feel that I really connected with Peter purely because I truly admired his outlook, optimism is adorable - but not something that I'm particularly prone to, unfortunately. His was a refreshing perspective.

There were a few elements of each of the other characters that I could identify with also - Anita's struggle to keep up with expectations and Eliza's struggles with reputation. The issues they faced such as familial struggles, peer pressure and social norms were so honest. That's probably the most comforting thing about this book - just how relevant these issues are and can be to people of any age. They all had their own pasts, their own issues and their own perspectives and though they differed greatly the one thing they all managed to do was get under my skin and plant themselves in my mind. I couldn't shake these questions they were asking themselves.

I also adored the writing - simplistic with a few flourishes here and there, just as I like it. I found the omniscient perspectives were a perfect fit, they allowed me not only to be aware of the characters actions but also to observe what was happening around them, and how all these elements interacted. There were a few slang words thrown in here and there, but they didn't feel to staged - teenagers do use slang in real life so I guess it'd be strange if it weren't included.

We All Looked Up was a brutally honest and genuine portrayal of teenage existential crises that I know I won't be able to shake for a while. Not only did I love the characters and the story, but I truly love the questions that arose and have lingered in my mind ever since.

4.5/5 keys to my heart

As part of this blog hop we were asked to share our apocalyptic bucket lists so here are some things I'd like to do if an asteroid were hurtling towards the earth:
  • Adopt as many puppies as humanly possible. Everybody deserves a little loving before they die and puppies are the ultimate therapy, duh.
  • Stuff my face with garlic bread, grilled halloumi and ice-cream - watching your figure wouldn't matter.
  • Confess my feelings for my crush - denial is a little less harsh when you're about to die.
  • Go to Santorini with my best friend and wait out the end. 
  • Finally stand up to all the people who've made my life miserable - possibly even punch them in the face? Would that make me a bad person?
  • Experience the supposed deliciousness that is the CRONUT - I need to know if it's as mind-blowing as the internet has made it out to be. 
  • Go on a bunch of roller-coasters - I LOVE roller-coasters but I haven't had the chance to go on one for a couple of years.
  • Hug, smother and lovingly squish all of those dear to me.

Tommy Wallach is a Brooklyn-based writer and musician. His first novel, We All Looked Up, will be published by Simon and Schuster in April 2015. 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. You should buy him dinner.

Find him elsewhere:

April 1st
Diva Booknerd

April 2nd
Loony Literate

April 3rd
Infinity Reads
Readers Wonderland

April 5th
Fangirl World

April 6th
Inside My Worlds
Happy Indulgencebooks
Whimsical Nature

April 7th
The Girly Geek

April 8th
Cassie The Weird
Thoughts by J

April 9th
Looking for the Panacea
Genie in a Book

April 10th
Book Nerd Reviews
Daring Damsels

With thanks to Simon & Schuster Australia and Tommy Wallach, we are giving away five copies of We All Looked Up. Open to Australian residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Kimmy @itskimmychi8 April 2015 at 12:16

    Wow, I've never really read a contemporary apocalypse book. This sounds great! Awesome post as always and thanks for the giveaway!!!! <3

  2. I'm so glad you enjoyed this too Mads, it was truly brilliant wasn't it. I loved the realism of not only the characters, but their interaction with each other. I can't wait to see what Tommy Wallach comes up with next. And that bucket list is epic, PUPPIES! Of course if you're adopting them all, I'm coming over with my little puppy for a pupfest.
    Now I can't stop thinking about puppies!

    Lovely review Mads <3

  3. I could never turn down a puppy party, Kelly. A puppy party is my kind of party. Thanks for all the kind words, as per usual! And yes, I am very excited to see what Tommy Wallach does next. Did you listen to the companion soundtrack? If not, you definitely should. It made the experience just that little bit more extraordinary! :) <3

  4. I can't say I have either.. maybe? I'm not too sure. I hope you do get to read it soon and enjoy it just as much as I have! :)


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