Henry Denton doesn’t know why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and he doesn’t know why they continue to steal him from his bed and take him aboard their ship. He doesn’t know why the world is going to end or why the aliens have offered him the opportunity to avert the impending disaster by pressing a big red button.
But they have. And they’ve only given him 144 days to make up his mind.
Since the suicide of his boyfriend, Jesse, Henry has been adrift. He’s become estranged from his best friend, started hooking up with his sworn enemy, and his family is oblivious to everything that’s going on around them. As far as Henry is concerned, a world without Jesse is a world he isn’t sure is worth saving. Until he meets Diego Vega, an artist with a secret past who forces Henry to question his beliefs, his place in the universe, and whether any of it really matters. But before Henry can save the world, he’s got to figure out how to save himself, and the aliens haven’t given him a button for that.
★ “Hutchinson’s excellent novel of ideas invites readers to wonder about their place in a world that often seems uncaring and meaningless. The novel is never didactic; on the contrary, it is unfailingly dramatic and crackling with characters who become real upon the page. Will Henry press the button? We all await his decision.”
–Booklist starred review
★ “[Henry’s] journey is subtle and hard-won, with meditations on the past, the present, and the future that are equal parts sarcastic and profound. Bitterly funny, with a ray of hope amid bleakness.”
-Kirkus starred review
★ “Effectively combines the best of elements of Nick Burd’s The Vast Fields of Ordinary (Dial, 2009) with hints of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five. Highly recommended.”
-School Library Journal starred review
★ “Hutchinson has crafted an unflinching portrait of the pain and confusion of young love and loss, thoughtfully exploring topics like dementia, abuse, sexuality, and suicide as they entwine with the messy work of growing up.”
-Publisher’s Weekly starred review
“We Are the Ants is a very complex story about serious subjects. The voices of each character are strong and unique, [and] their language and actions match the situations in which they find themselves.”
“[We Are the Ants] is a book about more than love and loss; it’s about struggling to find motivation and not taking the people in your life for granted. A beautiful, masterfully told story by someone who is at the top of his craft.”
★ “Shaun David Hutchinson’s bracingly smart and unusual YA novel blends existential despair with exploding planets.”
-Shelf Awareness starred review
Trigger Warnings for:
- Suicidal Thoughts
- Sexual Abuse
- Attempted Rape
- Physical Abuse
- Depressive behavior
- Self Harm