Hello there, lovely people 🙂 Welcome to Rhea’s Neon Journal and my stop for Tommy Wallach’s literary debut We All Looked Up. What’s it about? It’s a pre-apocalyptic The Breakfast Club. I have a review, my favorite quotes and a giveaway today! Have fun and follow the rest of the tour here.
Preorder the We All Looked Up album here.
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.
Tommy Wallach, you are my hero.
We All Looked Up begins with the announcement of the apocalypse. “You’re all going to die, motherfuckers.” No quite, but whatever. Ardor, the asteroid that has been gracing the sky for some time has been identified as the piece of shit that’s going to collide with the Earth (with a 66.6% chance) and taking most of humanity away.
And the novel follows the last two months of four seniors in high school, as they start to live out their time on Earth the way they were always supposed to. The book keeps shifting between four POVs, and the last time I tried that, it didn’t quite work out for me; ref: Seeker. But, We All Looked Up perfectly handled shifting POVs, changing styles, hell, I’m pretty sure if you read out a portion of the book to me, I could tell you whose POV that was in :p
The first POV we get to see is that of Peter Roeslin. Peter is…a good boy. That’s the only thing I can think of to describe him. Not only does he have an existential crisis (even before the destruction of the planet was announced), he also came across as the “golden boy” to me. A deadly combination, being unsure of life but also being a hero in school. In spite of this, Peter was a really great guy, in the way that he took care of his sister and his family. A bit sensitive, a huuuuge romantic. Just the way I like my guys J
Although Peter at the ending? TOMMY WALLACH NO THAT IS NOT DONE I DO NOT FORGIVE YOU.
Then we had Eliza Olivi. Eliza was branded the school slut because she kissed Peter in a darkroom once. A kiss that they both never really forgot. Eliza is a photography buff, so she’s seen clicking pictures throughout the book, a lot. And I think somehow, it was the best hobby she could have gotten. It was so her in a way you could only understand once you’ve read the book.
AND THE SHIP. OMFG I WAS SHIPPING THE SHIP SO HARD. BUT I SUNK WITH THE SHIP, I REALLY DID.
Andy Rowen was the POV (and character) I loved the most. He was the quintessential slacker—with the “I don’t care about the future” vibe, and friends with bad influence, and of course, the gut-wrenching fear of dying without getting his man-cherry popped. And Andy, to me, was the most flawed, the most real character. He was the one guy I connected with, having seen many Andys when I was in school. His POV was clean and simple; now that I think about it, Andy was a simple guy with simple needs—he only had a slacker vibe to him because that was the stereotype that had been “bestowed” on him. Again, I shipped the ship and even though it completely changed course, I shipped the new ship too!
Lastly, Anita Graves. Okay, so. Anita wasn’t my favorite. I understood her circumstances at home weren’t exactly nice enough to make her an amiable person, I loved that she was open to change. The Anita at the beginning of the book definitely isn’t the Anita at the end and that was amazing. She was a courageous young lady, and learnt to stand up for herself at the end—and that’s all that matters 😀 Not my favorite character, but okay. It’s me, not her.
I don’t even know what to say about the ending. I couldn’t believe the ending was the way it was and it broke my heart. At the time, I was very, very close to throwing something at the wall because I was frustrated beyond belief. But again, I’ve had time to sleep on this and I think I like it. I like the way We All Looked Up ended. I like that I get to decide for myself about where I wanted these characters lives to go.
Save the monies, people. You need this book in your life.
What you also need is the album that goes with this book. You really, really fucking need that.
Eliza had always felt that fiction described reality better than nonfiction in the same way, black-and-white photographs mirrored the world as she saw it more faithfully than color photographs did.
Question: How could you look the end of the world and not go crazy? Answer: You couldn’t.
People talked about their days being numbered, but really, everything was numbered. Every movie you watched was the last time you’d watch that movie, or the second-to-last time, or the third-to-last. Every kiss was one kiss closer to your last kiss.
The best books, they don’t talk about things you never thought about before. They talk about things you’d always thought about, but that you didn’t think anyone else had thought about.
Anita never thought the last book of the New Testament fit in very well with the rest of it. You started of with this incredibly nice guy who spent his time with prostitutes and preached forgiveness, and you ended up with eternal damnation and the Whore of Babylon.
- Open to US ONLY.
- Contest open until March 29th, 2015
- Please do not try to game the system. Cheaters never prosper.
Up for Grabs!
Win (1) of (3) a finished copy of We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach
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.