So what if I were to tell you that we weren’t the center of the universe and what if I were to tell you that I held the future of the entire world in the palm of my hand? That’s right. The aliens chose me and I don’t know why, but they told me I could decide whether or not the world keeps on existing.
Easy choice, right?
How do you deal when your family is falling apart? What about when your brother is a loser and your mother can’t hold it together? What if your boyfriend committed suicide about a year ago and it’s your fault.
Add on to that the fact that you’re gay and that you keep getting abducted by aliens and you can see why maybe that choice to save the entire world isn’t all that easy.
Henry Denton is our view into the world of We Are the Ants and from the very beginning it’s hard not to get bogged down. Being a teenager is hard enough, but add in all of the things mentioned above and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
But that changes, kind of. It changes when Henry meets Diego and everything’s different, kind of.
We Are the Ants can be a difficult read. Not because of the way that it’s written, I appreciate the clarity that Hutchinson brings to his writing, but because of the subject matter within. Henry is a boy who’s struggling with the weight of the world and with all the pressures of being both friendless and gay in highschool. It would be enough to make anyone break and if lighthearted young adult was what you were looking for, then you’re probably going to want to look elsewhere.
We Are the Ants isn’t afraid to look at the tougher side of things. It doesn’t take the easy way out with any of its characters or its plots, forcing everyone into the murky greyness of life rather than letting us pick our sides.
There aren’t any easy choices. Henry isn’t allowed those easy choices, so why should we be allowed them?
The characters are as complex and deep as anyone you would meet in real life, with their foibles and the small rays of light that shine through all those flaws. There are clashes of relatability and even the person who you’re hoping will be a knight in shining armour is only human. Everyone wants to help, not everyone can, and in the end sometimes the person who can hurt us the most and also save us are one and the same.
Too exquisite to pare down into a pithy sentence.