“We All Looked Up” Book Talk

Title: We All Looked Up

Author: Tommy Wallach

Page Count: 370 Pages

Released: March 24, 2015


Four high school seniors from different walks of life are brought together in the wake of a natural tragedy. An asteroid is heading towards Earth, threatening to put an abrupt end to their bright future plans. Chaos ensues as the general public react to the high probability of their deaths.

My Thoughts:

I first read this book when I was a high school senior myself. At the time, I thought I was too much of a “prude” to appreciate the book. There was a lot of sexual content and violence that made it hard to read at times. Revisiting the book as an adult, those scenes were increasingly uncomfortable. 

The concept of the book is what drew me in. The idea that an asteroid could come out of nowhere and end the world is utterly terrifying. It was fascinating to see how people from different cliques drop their labels and make unlikely friendships in the new atmosphere. 

Wallach’s writing is brilliant. This book flows well and can be read in a single sitting. He is undoubtedly a great author. Unfortunately this book is not the kind of story I enjoy. The first half of the book was full of hope and bittersweet moments. The second half was littered with violence and left sex as a main driving factor of many plot points. The sexualization of high school students is the main component that made this a book I have a hard time recommending. For teen readers, it normalizes dangerous behavior. For adult readers, it feels wrong to read about such young characters being portrayed in such a way. 

Overall I enjoyed the writing style and the premise of this story, particularly in the beginning of the book. This book switches between four different perspectives, allowing for the characters to be well developed. Unfortunately the portrayal of teen characters made it a difficult book to finish. From an artistic point of view, I can appreciate the grittiness. As unpleasant as the events of the book are, they are not outlandish. From my personal point of view as the reader, the grim nature was a lot. I wish this book had focused more on the psychology of the situation. We All Looked Up raises a lot of fascinating questions. If everybody thought the world was going to end, how would they react? How would you react? Would you continue on with your daily life? Would you chase your wild dreams without fear? Would you throw caution to the wind? All of these questions make for an intriguing story. The premise of this book would make for a fantastic summer movie!

I look forward to other books by Tommy Wallach! His writing style, creative ideas, and pacing makes him a fantastic storyteller.

Have you read We All Looked Up? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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