We Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

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We all love choices. Okay, sometimes we don’t because we can’t decide. But here is a choice that would get you thinking: Say you have a red button in front of you. Pressing it will save the world from a catastrophe. Not pressing it will destroy the world. Would you press it? I know I would, for the reason that I don’t want anyone to die, along with various other reasons that I could share with numerous other people.

Henry Denton would not press that button because he doesn’t believe the world should be saved. His brother got his girlfriend pregnant and dropped out of college. His grandma is getting worse with Alzheimer’s by the day, saying that Henry is dead. His mother is wasting away on weed. He is in a….questionable relationship with his bully. His boyfriend Jared, the boy who brought light into his life, committed suicide without any sign that he was depressed. He hasn’t been in contact with his old friend Audrey in over a year. Worst yet, school used to be fun, but instead of names like “f*g” that he would be okay with being called, he is called “space boy”, since he has been captured and probed by aliens, with no one believing him.

And these aliens, after probing him (not in the butt though), gave him a choice: press the red button, or let the world be destroyed. He is given 144 days to make the choice. And that’s when he meets Diego, a transfer student who is full of secrets, such as why he came to his first day of class and claimed he was a nude model.

To warn younger readers, this book is more on the mature side, as the main character is seriously depressed, among other more trigger themes.

When I first picked up this book, I had no idea what I was getting into. I wanted to read another book by Hutchinson, since I read The Deathday Letter (Another great book), and I was blown away, not wanting to put down the book until the end. It made me cry, and nothing makes me cry. I was deeply motivated by how the way Henry describes his life, making it interesting and dark at the same time, such as calling humans “ants” because there are 7 billion lives in the world, and every one of them is insignificant. Best yet, his way of describing things is very informal, such as calling the aliens “sluggers”, which makes the book almost as good as books like To Kill a Mockingbird, but set within the 21st century.

Additionally, Henry is not your typical protagonist. He is gay, which is something rare in any character. He is okay with telling people this, which is even rarer. While most people believe in justice, he believes in destruction.

Finally, without revealing too much of the book, I want to share the part I found interesting: After every couple of chapters, Hutchinson puts in what he thinks is going to be the apocalypse from a meteor to my favorite, virtual reality. And as time goes on and Henry starts to question if he should press the button, the theories get sillier. I feel that this greatly reflects how Henry feels about life in general, as he goes from wanting to know how the world is destroyed to not caring at all.

Once again, I really recommend this book if you are looking for something new and interesting to read.

– Megan V, 11th grade

We Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder

daybefore_lisaschroederToday is different
For Amber,
Running away
To be alone.

She needs a day
For herself
That isn’t filled
With tears.
This is her last day

Of her before.

The day before it all changes.

Amber expected
To be alone
With her drumsticks,
Just because;
Her camera,
Just for fun;
And a box jelly beans,
Just like always.

She takes a limo
To the beach.
Today is not
About holding back.

She goes to the
Aquarium where
She meets
A boy
By the jellyfish tank.

They connect
Instantly
“Did you see that movie?” he asks,
And Amber knows
What he’s talking about.

They see the sharks
And the sea stars,
Not exchanging many words,
Not at first.

Cade, the boy,
Thought he
Was alone today, too,
But they decide to spend
Today together.

He has a condition for today,
Not to ask
Why the other is
At the beach, by themselves.

The have fun
Building sandcastle,
Climbing lighthouses,
Enjoying the day.

Both Amber and Cade
Are hiding a secret.

Tomorrow will
Never
Be the same again.

Cade.
Loves the ocean so much.
Writes songs everywhere he goes.
Lives today like its his last.

What secret is he hiding?

Cade told her
Not to ask.

Yet she wants
To know.

Written in verse
Amber’s day
Is told.

Th secrets
The style
The story.

It’s beautiful.

-Nicole G., 11th Grade

The Day Before is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Public Library.