‘We All Looked Up’: A Cliched Look at the End of the World

On March 24, 2015, “We All Looked Up” by Tommy Wallach was published. The main plot is about four teens coming together and living their final moments together because an asteroid is going to hit earth.

This book was a bit of a cliche. A chaotic situation bringing very different people together? I’m pretty sure we’ve all seen or read something like that about a million times. So is “We All Looked Up” even worth reading then? Ultimately, yes.
An asteroid coming to Earth is bound to change and affect everyone either positively or negatively. We get to read how this asteroid is impacting four teens, focused around their own perspectives.

The four perspectives in the beginning can be a little confusing. Although Wallach introduced these characters individually, he left a lot up to the imagination. He didn’t do much to describe the characters physical attributes so you were able to imagine them based on how you perceive them. From what we were told in the beginning, it felt a little hard to really have a set image of each character because it was purely based on assumptions and perseverance that could change in an instant. Once you get the feel of each character’s vibe it becomes a lot easier to differentiate them.

Peter is your typical main character. He’s the popular athlete who has the kind of life every guy would want. But what do you know, he’s unhappy with his life and he’s in need of something that he isn’t quite sure of just yet. Shocker. His character is pretty trite and it was hard to be shocked by anything his character did. He basically just tried to be the hero throughout the entire book. Everything fits into the typical popular athlete persona that we’ve all seen about a million times. This story definitely could’ve worked without his presence and honestly, it would’ve been a lot more enjoyable without him.

Eliza is the girl that is basically hated by every other girl at her school. She gives off very grunge, “don’t talk to me / I hate everyone”, artsy vibes. It wasn’t very surprising to read that the reason why she was so hated was over a boy. What better way to convey ‘high school’ by adding in some cliche girl-drama? Even though some aspects of her character are predictable and overly familiar this book wouldn’t have been so interesting and intense without her. Even though you’re expecting certain things from her it was still pretty shocking to read it. You’ll definitely feel sorry for her at one point, so beware.

Anita is the brilliant overachiever that has more accomplishments than most teenagers. Unfortunately, the one thing she really wants is the one thing that is strictly forbidden by her parents. Don’t be fooled though, she’s not known to quit. Her spunky character does not disappoint and she definitely adds a little bit of turmoil to the story. She may feel like the weakest link but she’s definitely one of the strongest characters.

Andy is the slacker who could care less about his future, he’s just living in the moment. He’d rather hangout with his friends and do some shady activities than worry about college. This book can be deep and philosophical at times so getting to read about Andy and the drug-fueled mischief his friends are up to was refreshing. His character is basically the comedic relief that was needed in this book.

Early on we’re introduced into tension between Eliza, the grunge girl, and Peter, the jock hero. At first you might think, it’s just a typical high school status thing. A girl with a very questionable reputation not liking a popular athlete? That’s common, but then we find out that Eliza and Peter’s only interaction was quite spicy and is the reason why Eliza is very disliked at their school. Their situation was interesting but definitely dragged on to add conflict into an already conflictful storyline. The chapters that talked about their situation were a little boring.

On the other hand, Anita and Andy’s situation felt like a breath of fresh air. Was their friendship expected? A little; there was a lot of foreshadowing going on. Wallach layed down the groundwork for their interactions through complementary character traits. They just had a really good dynamic. Their future was unpredictable and that was thoroughly enjoyable, especially in a book with so many cliches. There was always something interesting that Anita and Andy were doing or certain parts that had you second guessing what you thought you knew, there was just always something that would catch you as a surprise.

This book certainly answers one of many “what if” questions we’ve probably all had. Wallach did a good job at depicting what the end of the world would look like, through a smaller, more down-to-the-ground perspective. The fear, greed, anger, lust, and sadness fit so well in the chaos the characters experienced. Out of all the things that could’ve happened to them, they certainly got the very worst of it. The characters get to meet some of the most outrageous or unbelievable people.

Hopefully this book will make you think a little harder about your existence and your life as you know it.