Little Cosmonaut: ‘We Are The Ants’ (Review)


Book cover courtesy of Goodreads

SKYSCRAPERS: The simplistic, yet engaging cover of the book features constellations; a show of proof as to how small we really are amongst the grand scheme of things.

When I go book-shopping, I always look for eye-catching covers. It’s a natural instinct, anything bright, colorful, or remotely interesting is bound to get our attention; and that’s part of the reason I picked up Shaun David Hutchinson’s We Are The Ants. Well, that and its title. It had been a while since I’d ever read a book cover to cover without dropping it within the first couple pages, and I was determined to give We Are The Ants a chance.

Upon opening the book and relishing in the smell of new pages, I read the first line: “Life is b***s***,” and I just knew that this book would not disappoint. 

The story follows a teenage boy, Henry Denton, and his regular abduction by aliens. This time, however, is different because, upon his arrival in their spaceship, Henry is given a choice: Press this button to save the planet, or, don’t press it, and wipe it from the universe forever. They give him 144 days to decide before dropping him back in his hometown. 

This leaves Henry torn; his life isn’t that great. He gets beaten up and harassed by his bully while engaging in continuous one-night stands with him. His home life is a little messed up, to say the least, and he still lives with the memories of his boyfriend who committed suicide the previous year. Henry is fully prepared to let his alien friends blow Earth to smithereens until he meets tortured artist, Diego Vega.

I truly could not put this book down. I read late at night to wind down before eventually going to bed, but there I was at two in the morning with tears streaming down my face as I flipped to the next page. Whatever Hutchinson had put into this book, worked because while the overall tone is somber, there are certainly more than enough comical moments and dialogue. The plot, on the surface, feels shallow yet has a deeper meaning. The ending leaves you wanting more while providing a satisfying conclusion to the journey that Henry Denton and the reader experienced.

Your entire sense of self-worth is predicated upon your belief that you matter, that you matter to the universe. But you don’t. Because we are the ants.”

This book tackles extremely important topics such as sexuality, bullying, depression, and pregnancies in young couples. It also handles these topics gracefully by bringing awareness to them and showing its audience the many different solutions or acceptances to understand and confront these problems.

We Are The Ants is an absolute page-turner tied together with an excellent plot, and a relatable cast of characters. I felt that the moral of this story is essential for any teenager, especially most, if not all of us; despite how bad things may seem, we are all going through a stressful time and we will keep marching on.