Book review

Popular young adult science fiction novel impresses our reviewer with its multiple perspectives.

Shaun David Hutchinson: We Are the Ants

THE NOVEL We Are the Ants (Shaun David Hutchinson, 2016) is a young adult novel about a teenage boy called Henry living in a small town in Florida. He faces the difficult decision of whether or not to save the world, along with the challenges of being a teenager. Henry has been bullied his whole life for various reasons: he’s a gay boy who is interested in science, space and aliens. Henry also struggles with depression and anxiety disorders along with self-destructive and suicidal thoughts. 

This novel is one of my all-time favourites because of its relatable topics and unique format. The novel is written from the perspective of Henry, and the chapters alternate between diary entries and Henry’s science class essays, which makes the book captivating and hard to put down (I finished the 500 page book in two days). 

An excerpt from the novel:

”Out in the world, crawling in a field at the edge of some bullshit town with a name like Shoshoni or Medicine Bow, is an ant. You weren’t aware of it. Didn’t know whether it was a soldier, a drone, or the queen. Didn’t care if it was scouting for food to drag back to the nest or building new tunnels for wriggly ant larvae. Until now that ant simply didn’t exist for you. If I hadn’t mentioned it, you would have continued on with your life, pinballing from one tedious task to the next—shoving your tongue into the bacterial minefield of your girlfriend’s mouth, doodling the variations of your combined names on the cover of your notebook—waiting for electronic bits to zoom through the air and tell you that someone was thinking about you. at for one fleeting moment you were the most significant person in someone else’s insignificant life. But whether you knew about it or not, that ant is still out there doing ant things while you wait for the next text message to prove that out of the seven billion self-centered people on this planet, you are important. 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.”

Text and photo: Alex Wright, 20H


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