{Blog Tour} We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach - Bucket List & GIVEAWAY

Thursday, 9 April 2015

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach
Released: 24th March 2015
Published by: Simon and Schuster
Genre: YA Apocalyptic Contemporary
Source: Publisher
Pages: 384
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Simon & Schuster | Goodreads | Bookworld | Book Depository
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.

As teenagers, sure - most things can seem like a big drama. In the case of We All Looked Up however, there's a pretty good reason for all the pent-up teen angst to manifest in full - there's a meteorite named 'Ardor' plummeting towards earth as the harbinger of doom and pending annihilation. The interesting thing is though, the way this book was told, the different perspectives and the character developments go further than rash displays of bombastic histrionics. Instead, upon finishing this story, it really made me think about how we see our own lives and how we all would react if we ever found ourselves in that similar situation.

That's right - there's some existentialism going on here.

She looked up toward the sky, toward the implacable sparkle of good old Ardor, and saw that the two of them - she and the asteroid - were caught in a battle of wills. In that moment, she stopped being afraid of it, even dared it to come, because she knew there was no way it could crave death as much as she craved life.
Don't you just love it when you find these deep and meaningful quotes that just speak to you? It's hard to explain, but there's something about a story where I can find lots of 'quotable quotes' that make me enjoy it so much more. These special moments and turning points in We All Looked Up really boosted my enjoyment for this book. In fact, it almost reminds me of The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker which covers the same themes, though arguably in a less dramatic fashion. In any case, when it comes to this book - it's quite enlightening in the way in shows how the mundane mediocrity of existence can be shattered by something outside of our control.
It occurred to Anita that hatred and dislike and even indifference were all luxuries, born of the mistaken belief that anything could last forever.

I adore novels which can take words and weave them into such profound sentences with contrasts so well with the inevitable melodrama which can follow when there seems to be no consequences - 'since the world is ending anyway'. I guess what you could say is the 'YOLO' attitude which some of the secondary characters adopted especially, was definitely there - but there were some who took things more seriously. In terms of the characters themselves, yes, some were those archetypal stereotypes which we can come across in a cheesy contemporary that we may have read so many times before. BUT - what I think Tommy Wallach has done here is, if not entirely subvert them, then at least show them in a different light with their own flaws and weaknesses in their respective facades. The nerdy-goody-two-shoes girl Anita isn't necessarily going to be that way forever, nor are any of her peers. 

You didn't win the game of life by losing the least, That would be one of those - what were they called again? - Pyrrhic victories. Real winning was having the most to lose, even if it meant you might lose it all. Even if you would lose it all, sooner or later.

Structurally, it was really smart of the author to make each chapter a countdown towards the supposed destruction of humanity as they knew it. Not only that, but the multiple perspectives told in third person was a great decision in terms of being able to offer an objective narration while still delving into the minds and motives of these four very different teenagers. Each responded in their own way to the crisis at hand, and each had their own paths to take - though some did end up converging. It makes you think 'what would you do?', 'how would you react?'. You'll never really know unless you had to face the same thing they did. Perhaps you'd discover a side of yourself you never knew even existed - and that's what was going on in this instance. The intertextual allusions to authors like Kurt Vonnegut and others were nice little extra things to come across. It takes many elements working interdependently to produce a truly great read, and despite my tiny qualms at times with some strange decision making by the characters, you can count me impressed.

It turned out they'd been right all along, standing in the darkness, appealing to the stars for some sign of what was to come, and never getting anything back but the shifting constellations of a swiftly spinning planet. 


We All Looked Up totally surpassed my expectations with its profound insight into how human nature, even through a bunch of angsty teenagers - can be transformed. When the temporal brevity of life is made so crystal clear because of one imminent event, there's no limit as to the depth of meaning which a story like this can hold. It all just depends on how you read it. I dare say though, you'll be thinking about it long after you've turned that last page.

If it was:

(pfffft like 'no biggie or anything')

Then these are just a few of the things I'd like to do:

1. Tell my family and friends I love them
2. Stack up on long-term supplies (who knows how long things will last?)
3. Eat an oyster (don't know why I haven't done this yet - but why not?)
4. Do something daring/exhilarating - BridgeClimb? Abseiling? Skydiving? Might as well.
5. See the Northern Lights, appreciate the natural wonders of the world while I could

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.

Aaand just when you thought this post didn't get any better - it does with a GIVEAWAY! Thanks to the lovely people at Simon and Schuster five lucky Australian readers will get to chance to win a copy of this book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to check out the other stops on the tour!


  1. Great review! I loved this book so much and shed quite a few tears over it. So very well done.

    1. Thanks Nicole! It certainly did have emotional moments.

  2. I absolutely loved this book too Eugenia, it had such an honest and raw quality to it. No truer word has been spoken, that you'll think about it long after you turn the final page. I'm STILL thinking about it. So poignant and like Nic above me, I cried quite a few times throughout as well. Absolutely brilliant review and LOVE the bucket list! <3

    1. It definitely did - I love how realistic it was. Glad you liked it :)

  3. You've definitely made me interested! I've had an ARC sitting on my shelf for the longest time but I just haven't had the chance to get to it yet. Hopefully I can soon. Thank you for sharing the lovely review Eugenia!

    1. You really should Laura - it's such a riveting, well written read!

  4. Wonderful review Eugenia, I'm so glad to hear that you loved it so much. Apocalyptic books are pretty hit and miss for me, but from the reviews rolling in already, everyone and their cat seems to approve of this book. I can't wait to jump on the bangwagon!

    Haha also a wonderful bucketlist. I love oysters, you must give them a go because they're declicious!

    1. Thanks Joy :) I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I'm definitely going to endeavor to eat an oyster sometime soon!

  5. Hiiii there, I'm a new follower! :D
    So. I really want to read this book soooo bad! But now that I've found out it has an open ending.. Ugh, I just hate those so much. Open endings and I inevitably clash, we're just not made for each other :( I don't know what to doooo! :'(

    1. Hi Frannie - thanks so much for following! :)
      I know how you feel about open endings, but this one I have to say was still really good in every other way - it's definitely more character-driven than anything.


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