We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson ☆

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“We may not get to choose how we die, but we can chose how we live. The universe may forget us, but it doesn’t matter. Because we are the ants, and we’ll keep marching on.”

Title: We Are the Ants
Author: Shaun David Hutchinson
Why you should read this book: Because this is one of the most beautiful and moving books I’ve ever read and the world needs to know it.

Summary from Goodreads:

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.

“We remember the past, live in the present, and write the future.”

This book deserves a rating of 144 stars. 144 like the remaining days our main character, Henry, has to decide whether he wants to push the button or not to save the whole world. This book is important. This book is not about aliens; this book is about life and all the collateral effect it causes. The author digs into emotions, into hard themes that, willing or not, surround us every single day. Maybe you are not aware of them, but trust me, they are there, very present in your life.

Despite what you’ve spent your entire life believing, you are not a special snowflake. Somewhere out there, another you is living your life. Chances are, they’re living it better.

Henry Denton has problems. The first time he’s been abducted by aliens he was 13 years old. They have abducted him several times, doing experiments on him then leaving him far from home naked or only in his underwear. Now it seems they are going to blow up the Earth and they are giving Henry the power to choose if it happens or not. A big red button: pressing it means the world is save. Guess what Henry’s going to do? He doesn’t want to press it. He hates the world, a world where his mother is struggling with money, his father abandoned them, people are making school a living hell and his boyfriend committed suicide the year before without leaving a note explaining why.

“What if I don’t give a shit about the world?”
“I’d say that’s pretty fucking sad.”
“Why?”
“Because the world is so beautiful.”

Henry is bullied at school; they call him Space Boy because they know about the abductions. High school boys are cruel in a way that always leaves me perplexed. I can’t seem to understand where all that cruelty comes from, why they seem to gain popularity by doing awful things to their weaker school mates. Henry is weak because the ghost of Jesse, his now dead boyfriend, hunts him. He thinks it’s his fault because he didn’t see the signs, he didn’t realize his own boyfriend needed help and was thinking about hurting himself. This situation makes him weak and an easy prey to bullies and it makes his life at home harder that how it already is. But nothing is an excuse for bullying. If Henry went to school dressed as an alien, you don’t have the right to bully him, NOT A SINGLE RIGHT! No excuses whatsoever! Let’s put an end to this nonsense!

Maybe love doesn’t require falling after all. Maybe it only requires that you choose to be in it.

One day he meets Diego, a newly transferred student from Colorado with a secret past we later found out about. It left me speechless but I didn’t blame him. How could I blame someone for doing what I was thinking of doing in his situation but I’d always be too scared to do? Henry meets Diego and it puts his life in perspective. Henry starts seeing other faces of the dice that is the life he thinks he knows. Diego will make Henry question his decision to not push the button and let the world end. But Diego can’t and won’t make that decision for him; Henry has to want to push the button or else it’ll be pointless. Henry needs help and someone needs to see it before it’s too late.

“Depression isn’t a war you win. It’s a battle you fight every day. You never stop, never get to rest.”

I struggled with Henry because I felt his pain, his indecisions. I am an over thinker like him and that leads me to a lot of anxiety filled scenarios. Henry doesn’t like people hiding things from him; all of this because of what happened to Jesse. He decided to believe his lies and not ask for explanations and that resulted in his suicide. Henry can’t let something like that happen again. He won’t be responsible for someone else’s death. The pressure of life is too much and he can’t bear it. We will never know why Jesse took his own life and knowing it won’t change the fact that he is already gone. The grief will accompany them forever, memories will be cherished but life has to continue, it’s the ugly truth: we may need a break from life, but life doesn’t stop for us. Don’t let that overwhelm you, go at your own pace like I do.

I’d let myself believe the lies because it was easier than digging for the truth.

He won’t allow himself to have feelings for Diego. Diego is hiding his past from him and Henry is still pretty lost in the memory of Jesse, feeling that he’ll be cheating him if he starts liking someone else. More importantly, with the world ending, what’s the point? What’s the point of everything? Nothing really matters. Not for Henry. With the end of the world he will free his Grandma from her Alzheimer consuming her, his mother from the money problems, his brother from bringing to this awful world another human being; and he will be free from bullies calling him Space Boy and from the grief from losing Jesse that is eating him alive. But maybe you don’t have to save the world or end it, for the sake of others. Maybe you have to be a little selfish and make that decision for yourself.

“There’s an amazing world out there for you to discover, Henry Denton, but you have to be willing to discover yourself first.”

I love Henry. I want to hug him and help him in his road to be better, to accept and move on. To have a life filled with difficult situations but knowing there are people out there to help you, that you are not alone in this. I love Henry. I love how he changes throughout the book, the more the day of the end of the world approaches, the more he doubts what he believed in the beginning. And that’s perfect. I think we have to question what happens to us but being careful about not over thinking because that leads to an infinite loop of fear from which is not easy to get out. I know that loop all too well, I hate that loop. But I love Henry. I love him very much.

People wait for the countdown to tell them that it’s okay to believe in themselves again. They end each year with failure, but hope that when the clock strikes twelve, they can begin the new year with a clean slate. They tell themselves that this year things will happen, never realizing that things are always happening; they’re just happening without them.

So I as said, this book is not about aliens. I still have my doubts about said aliens but that’s ok, I don’t need to know. This book is about all of us. This story is filled with emotions, raw and deep and hard. The world is an ugly place and we have to find a way to live in it. Whether we want to fight for what’s right, or live quietly far from chaos, the world is ours, is a big community and it’s an ugly one. So many bad things keep happening, and if you think about it for a bit you just come to the conclusion that IT SIMPLY DOESN’T MAKE A FREAKING SENSE!!

“When the days are darkest, dear, you latch on the happiness wherever you find it.”

We have to choose what to fight for, we have to look for small personal victories, at home, at work, at school and the bravest of us, will look for large scale victories and we are going to support them because we are in this together.
We aren’t going to give up on the world just because we are sure things aren’t going to end well.

“So, when you’re offered bacon for breakfast, do you refuse because you’re worried about what’s going to happen when it’s gone?”

If I knew the world was going to end and I was given the possibility to stop the end from happening by pressing a button, would I press it?

I guess you will never know ;D

Do I recommend it? Yes, and read it soon, it’s really worth it.
Rate: 5+++/5
☆: It made my “favourite books” list

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Know Not Why by Hannah Johnson ☆

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“In the back of my head, in some distant unaffected place, I wonder why it is that I like looking at this guy so much. The simple act of directing your eyes at somebody else shouldn’t be all-consuming, should it? That seems weird. Impractical.”

Title: Know Not Why
Author: Hannah Johnson
Why you should read this book: Because it is one of the funniest and sweetest book I have read in a while.

Summary from Goodreads:

Howie gets a job at Artie Kraft’s Arts ‘N Crafts hoping to score with his lady coworkers. After all, girls love a sensitive guy, and what’s more sensitive than dedicating your life to selling yarn and … stuff? (Okay, so maybe it’d be a good idea to actually learn what one sells at an arts ‘n crafts store.) But things don’t go exactly according to plan. Coworker #1 is Cora: tiny, much-pierced, and way too fierce to screw with in any sense. Coworker #2 is Kristy: blonde, bubbly, unattainable perfection. And Coworker #3 is, well, Arthur. It goes without saying that he’s not an option. Right?
… Right?
Yeah, Howie’s life just got straight up confusing.
Pun intended.

“You know, I don’t think it’s worth it to deny yourself happiness just so you can stay faithful to the person you think you’ve become.”

I couldn’t put it down, I loved this book so much, I want to recommend it to the world but then I get a little territorial and I want to keep it to myself forever. Leave me alone with my feelings, ok?

This is not mainly a romance lgbtq m/m book. This book is about self-realization, about how to come to terms with what you are, with understanding what makes you happy and go forward head high. I love that there’s a little bit of everything, not much drama, not much tears, pure love, joy and happiness. You know what I also loved about this book? That the characters weren’t too young. Arthur is 26 years old while Howie is 22. Arthur is closer to my age and that makes me a little happy.

“Oh, Artie. You’re handkerchiefing me?”
“It’s a Kleenex,” he protests.
“Still.” I grin at him. “You classy gent.”

Howie is the main character of this book, he is 22 years old, goes to community college, english major, lives at home with her mother, has a twin brother who is much more everything than he is. He has 2 best friends and a mission to get laid soon. What can he do to get that result? He decided to get a job at a local arts and crafts shop where he is sure cute girls work. He has no idea what is really going to happen once he starts working there, it will be an enlightening experience that will change his life forever, for the best. Oh boy, if you knew, if you knew!

“Please, boytoy mine. I live large. And fast. Always.”

Howie is seriously hilarious, he invents and uses complex words, his inner monologues about random stuff are the best, he is constantly making me laugh like there’s no tomorrow. He starts working in the arts and crafts shop only to get a girl. He has no idea who he is going to get: our dear, fabulous, smirk-enthusiast Arthur Kraft Jr., the boss and a few years older than Howie. Something that I don’t want to reveal happens and Howie is confused. He has never had luck with girls, he thought there was something wrong with him but now he is thinking that maybe he has always being in denial about his sexuality and now he wants to find out what he feels.

“He gives me a slight smile. I simultaneously want to, like, build shrines to it and punch it off his face. It’s complicated.”

I loved that the road for this discovery isn’t “traumatic”, he understands there is nothing to do about how he feels about Arthur, he likes him a lot so they start dating without further ado. Their story is often on the background because that’s not what the story is about but their relationship is adorable, simple and I’m sure it will go on and on forever, happily ever after. Howie has to deal with telling the people he knows about this epiphany about himself. He doesn’t want to ruin what he has with his friends, his mother and his brother even if he lives elsewhere and they barely talk.

This is what he thinks about Arthur after he told him he was having corndogs for breakfast:
But I’ve got a crazy old bastard trying to force-feed me citrus in the name of my own health, and that? That’s not something I’d trade.

From reading the book I know for sure that his friends, Amber and Mitch, are going to be ok with it but he is just not ready to face them with this news. He wants to have two lives, the one he already have with his friends and mom believing he’s straight and horny about girls, and the other life in the shop with his new friends Kristy and Cora and his handsome boyfriend Arthur. He will lie a lot, those lies will be revealed, tears will be shed, hugs will be given, punch will be thrown, but things will untangle smoothly and that’s exactly what I wanted in a story. Pure happiness, little to no drama!

“You look like you’re about to start playing the world’s saddest song on its tiniest little violin,” Arthur informs me. “And then hug a kitten, and paint a rainbow, and watch Titanic whilst weeping profusely.”

Arthur is the best, I loved him from the very beginning, so composed and a little bit of a nerd. He and Howie are opposites and that makes them special together. Howie drinks coffee with 5 bags of sugar, Arthur drinks only tea, Howie listens to popular music, Arthur listens only to classical music and plays the piano, Howie eats unhealthy fast food, Arthur cooks his own healthy meals. Arthur is very patient and that’s what Howie needed during this period of realization. Those two are meant for each other.

“It’s an upholstered footstool–”
“A footstool? You paid five hundred bucks for a stool…for feet?”
“It was a very good deal. It’s antique–”
“You really are gay, aren’t you?”
“Really? This is what confirms it? Not all the sex that I could have sworn you were present for, but a piece of furniture–”

This is Arthur at McDonald’s for the very first and probable the last time and if you don’t think this is adorable then you are wrong and you can get out:
Arthur stares at the menu the way a time-traveling seventeenth century Puritan would watch a Lady Gaga music video. *I love you, Arthur*

Howie teasing Arthur gives me life and it’s honestly one of the best things about this book. I won’t deny nor confirm that will read this again sooner than later.

“You didn’t like Mamma Mia?” I ask, feeling like I just got kicked.
“I’m not even really sure what it is,” Arthur replies, frowning thoughtfully.
Useless bastard.

Do I recommend it? Yes, yes and yes.
Rate: 5+++/5
☆: It made my “favourite books” list

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Attachments by Rainbow Rowell ☆

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“Love. Purpose. Those are things that you can’t plan for. Those are things that just happen.”

Title: Attachments
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Why you should read this book: If you feel a little hopeless about your path in life maybe this book will help you a little like it did for me!

“The worst thing about the internet, as far as Greg’s bosses were concerned, was that it was now impossible to distinguish a roomful of people working diligently from a roomful of people taking the What-Kind-of-Dog-Am-I? online personality quiz”

Lincoln is starting a new job. He has to read the emails of the people working there then sending warnings if they use bad language, write personal emails etc. It’s not what he had in mind but it was the only one he found after going back home to live with his mom. He thinks he is been paid to do nothing but spying on his co-workers. His nights at work go slowly until he starts following the email conversations of two women, Beth and Jennifer. He can’t help but reading their emails, he feels a connection with Beth, even knowing she has a boyfriend. He doesn’t read the messages on purpose, they get flagged because they write personal emails almost everyday: now he is falling for Beth and he doesn’t even know how she looks like.

“He tried not to love that she could recite scenes from Ghostbusters, that she liked kung fu movies and could name all of the original X-Men— because those seemed like reasons a guy would fall for a girl in a Kevin Smith movie.”

Do you want to know what I’m doing? I’m smiling, smiling so much my face hurts!
I think I love everything this woman writes. Rainbow Rowell, you are our Queen! This book was lovely, funny, moving, I related so much to Lincoln I am seriously thinking about going to the gym (we all know that’s not going to happen, it is never going to happen).

When books are about teenagers I have so many feelings that make me feel young and careless. Then there are books like this one about people my age and things GET REAL!! I start having hope that maybe I’m not hopeless at all, maybe my time will come, my time to love again.

Lincoln hadn’t love in 8 years since the end of his one and only true relationship. That’s exactly what I’m living right now. I had a break up that took everything from me (almost 8 years ago, weird, right?) and gave me only fear of the world and self-esteem issues. Lincoln and I have a lot in common. And when I say a lot, I mean A LOT. First real love? Check. Moving away because of it? Check. Bad break up? Check. Having to move back home? Check. Afraid to move out and start writing “my story”? Check.
Unfortunately he is super cute and super tall and I’m nothing like that.

“So, what if, instead of thinking about solving your whole life, you just think about adding additional good things. One at a time. Just let your pile of good things grow.”

He have a “nosy job”: he has to read everyone’s email to see if they’re not breaking company rules. That’s a terrible job. Thanks to this job he starts reading, at first because it’s his duty, then for other reasons, the emails of Beth and Jennifer. These two women sure write a lot of personal emails at work! I think, for Lincoln, was like unwillingly eavesdropping your neighbors’ conversations because they talk really loudly. He had to read the flagged emails and send warnings. What else could he do? It was his job! Perfect excuse is perfect.

Of course I thought it was creepy but then he was so sweet. He is adorable. I love him, his sweet words, how he loves with all of himself, so much but not too much, the perfect “much”. Even if wasn’t good with people, they were still drawn to him. Lincoln’s character development was exactly how it was supposed to be, not forced like those movies where the lead changes who he/she is by magic, in a day, after one song.
I loved watching the time passing, the events occurring, people moving on like it’s suppose to happen, because that’s life. This could happen to anyone!

“I think I missed my window.”
“What window?”
“My get-a-life window. I think I was supposed to figure all this stuff out somewhere between twenty-two and twenty-six, and now it’s too late.”

I feel this book so close to me. It doesn’t describe my past but it has a lot in common with what I’ve been through. I haven’t talk to anyone about my fears because they are mine and if I don’t find a way to move on on my own I will never learn from my mistakes, just like Lincoln. It may take a while but I’m positive things will turn out the perfect way.

I will think about this book for a while, it is in my heart and will stay there forever.

Do I recommend it? Yes, read it, I say it from the bottom of my heart.
Rate: 5+++/5
☆: It made my “favourite books” list

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Just a Girl, Standing in Front of a Boy by Lucy-Anne Holmes ☆

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Just a Girl, Standing in Front of a Boy

Title: Just a Girl, Standing in Front of a Boy
Author: Lucy-Anne Holmes
Why you should read this book: Musketeers missions

Jenny Taylor is 27 years old and had a difficult past but now she feels so much better and her life is perfect: she has raspberry blonde hair, she is “head” receptionist at the surgery, has a handsome boyfriend who proposes, a wonderful flatmate and the bestest of friends a girl can ask! Everything changes and she starts questioning her life after her mom, whom she hasn’t spoken in years, left her cheating husband and goes to live with her; and if that’s not enough she fell in love at first sight with the charming Joe King, new in town!

Short summary, not at all spoilery. Unfortunately I can’t write everything I loved about this book because that’s all of it! It took me 2 days to finish it and I’m really slow so that’s a sign, that’s destiny.
Back in May Book Depository was having one of theirs “hourly sales” of books. I had a little money saved, I could buy something, so I waited until I saw this book and I was captured by the beautiful cover and title. Notting Hill is one of my favourite chick flicks movies!
Long story short, I was looking for a paperback book to read after the last ebook and I saw it, in a hidden corner of my library. I started it and loved it from the very first page that wasn’t even part of the story, it was the book inscription:

“For all the amazing women
I’ve met, and those I haven’t,
who battle with the dark days.”

I just knew I was going to love this book.

Jenny is bullied when she was in school. Her full name, said fast sounds like “genitalia”. Jenny Taylor, Jenny Taylor, Jenny Taylor, Jenny Taylor. Ok, I can see where that came from. Bullying is not cool, ok? I hate bullies, I don’t understand what’s in for them. Can’t they sleep at night if they haven’t bullied at least one person during the day? Bullying is bad, don’t be a bully.

Jenny had a lot of dark days but thanks to her best friend Philippa she now is a different woman. Philippa wrote her the Smiling Fanny Manifesto, a list of 10 tasks she has to complete each day to feel better. The Smiling Manifesto is why she gets to meet a lot of people and one very important person in her life: Al, her flatmate.
Al is described in a way that you can only think he is a giant ginger teddy bear, at least that’s how I pictured him. He is funny, loyal, sweet and everything. I love Al, I would love to have an Al in my life right now!
Philippa, don’t get me started about Philippa! She is the best! She stood up for Jenny when she was bullied, she was by her side during her dark days, she gave her a reason to keep on living her life to the fullest. I love how they do “Friday Fashion” with dress code: dinner ladies, hostesses, etc. It sounds so much fun!
The three of them go on Musketeer Missions to help people! You have to read it to get it. At first I thought it was a little creepy but then no, it has to be the sweetest thing someone can do for someone else! I want one of Jenny’s anonymous notes!

Jenny has a boyfriend, I hate him, and his name is Matt: Matt the twat (Al’s words, not mine). I won’t say much about him, his parts were the hardest to read. It’s incredible how much you can hate a character in a book, I wanted to punch him. See? He makes me violent, that’s not a good sign.

Everything that’s normal for Jenny and the gang changes after two people arrive in town: Joe King (Joking, get it?) and Jenny’s mom, Pam.
Joe is a musician, he is charming, he is different from Matt. Joe accepts everything about Jenny while Matt criticizes everything she does. You really can’t allow a man to tell you that everything you do is childish if the things you do make you happy!
Pam is Jenny’s mom but they haven’t spoken in years. She goes to her daughter after she found out her husband was cheating on her. She wants to bond with Jenny so she stays in her and Al’s apartment.
I always find it difficult to read about children don’t speaking with their parents but it’s even more difficult to read how these parents behave and do to their kids. I love my family, I can’t imagine a life where I don’t speak to them for years. I feel so lucky!

It’s hard not spoiling anything but trying to get you to understand why you need to read this book. There is so much to say.
If you need a book about love that makes you laugh but also cry, that makes your heart fill with emotions, maybe also want to punch someone, then “Just a Girl, Standing in Front of a Boy” is exactly what you need to read!

Do I recommend it? Yes, 200% yes.
Rate: 5+++/5
☆: It made my “favourite books” list

Next book is an ebook: The Song of Achilles by Madeleine Miller. So far it is really interesting.

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