Before I dive into the book, let’s first discuss the how and why of audiobooks. I refuse to pay for an Audible subscription because I think it’s a waste of money. (Y’all can choose how you want to spend your money, no disrespect here.) The library has audiobooks for free! No, I’m not talking about going into the physical library and getting a zillion CDs. I use OverDrive and log into my library account, then download the audiobook to my phone. Same way I check out ebooks to my Kindle.
Free audiobooks. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I usually listen to audiobooks when driving home from work, occasionally at the gym, and while doing mundane chores like cleaning. I usually prefer YA lit or nonfiction–if I have to merge and tune out for 10 seconds, I typically don’t lose the storyline (thank goodness for the 15 second rewind button).
I thoroughly enjoyed We Are The Ants! I stumbled upon it in another Twitter thread (anyone noticing a pattern?!), as a few authors were talking about not feeling Impostor Syndrome with their work. I totally get it, I feel it as a teacher and leader all the time. If you’ve read this post to this point, well, thanks, because I feel like my blogs waste people’s time too.
All this is a great segue into We Are The Ants. Henry lost his boyfriend to suicide, and blames himself. He struggles with bullies, end-of-the-world thoughts, and coming to terms with the past in order to move forward in life. He’s occasionally abducted by aliens, Sluggers, and told he must decide if he’s going to push a button to save the world–he has until January 29, 2016 to decide.
The whole book is Henry’s journey grappling with life, the future, and deciding whether life is worth living. It’s hard to find our place in the world, and Hutchinson illustrates this beautifully, not only for LGBT teens, but all teens wrestling with home and/or school situations.
Nothing feels forced in this book. Henry is authentically who he is, and he is instantly likeable for his quirks and honest struggles. This opens the doors for many authentic conversations on topics such as suicide, bullying, friendship, forgiveness, and family.
So, if you could press a button to save the world from destruction, would you?