Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Sci-Fi
Published by Simon and Schuster on January 19th 2016
Format: Hardcover (464 pages) • Source: Library
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There are a few things Henry Denton knows, and a few things he doesn’t.
Henry knows that his mom is struggling to keep the family together, and coping by chain-smoking cigarettes. He knows that his older brother is a college dropout with a pregnant girlfriend. He knows that he is slowly losing his grandmother to Alzheimer’s. And he knows that his boyfriend committed suicide last year.
What Henry doesn’t know is 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.
The question is whether Henry thinks the world is worth saving. That is, 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.
You know you really loved a book when you find yourself immediately tracking down other books by the author. I did end up checking two out from the library (and was planning on doing an author binge review), but didn’t read them in time. The joys of being a mood reader, amirite? So that’s why there’s a bit of a delay on this book review that I actually read a few months ago. But here we go!
What a book this was! I wasn’t sure what to expect from this story, but I admittedly had high expectations from all the glowing reviews. There aren’t many reviews, but the ones that do exist are damn perfect. This was a really honest, interesting, and heartbreaking book. It covered every possible topic, fully fleshed out every character, and made me feel all sorts of things.
I admittedly do not read a lot of books that fall under the QUILTBAG umbrella, and I plan to change that this year. Really. I think that books about coming out are REALLY important and helpful to those in that situation, but there is much to be said about books that don’t involve that element of the community. It was nice to read a book like this, where the character was already out to his family and it was really never brought up as an “issue.” (You know what I mean; I don’t know what other word to use there.)
I could spend all day talking about the characters. Talking about what Henry went through on a daily basis. Talking about the people who hurt him, supported him, and/or loved him. This book seriously broke my heart on most pages. I really believed his struggle and was so emotionally invested in this story. The whole premise is that aliens have given him the power to push a button and save the world. For most people, the decision is easy – of course you press the button. For him, it’s a little more complicated. When reading his story, you really can’t blame him for not wanting to save everyone. People are terrible to him.
This story was a bit crass and honest and – I’ll say it for a third time – heartbreaking. Even if the synopsis sounds bizarre to you, I recommend reading the first page or two. It’ll grab you and hold you until it’s over – I promise.