Book Review: We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

If I haven't written on a topic for so long, I tended to search for a similar post I wrote in the past for a reference. So I searched for my past book review posts, only to find out that I've written literally only one post on a book review. I thought I wrote at least 10 for the past 5 years I've been serious in blogging, I thought I was a bookworm back then. Anyway, I finally read a book, yay!

It took me about a day to finish reading We All Looked Up (WALU) written by Tommy Wallach. I remembered the feeling of wanting to buy it right away after reading the synopsis that was so intriguing;

"They said the asteroid would be here in two months. That gave us two months to leave our labels behind. Two months to become something bigger than what we'd been, something that would last even after the end. Two months to really live."

Not to mention that the synopsis didn't match well with the cover page. I meant, the synopsis sounded depressing, but the cover page looked calm and soothing. So the book got my attention.

The book started off by telling the story of each characters' life before the news on the ending of the world. Then came a day where the world discovered a star shone so brightly and beautiful up in the sky which turned to be an asteroid that was expected to hit the Earth in two months. The book told a story of what the ending of the world affected the characters' life on love, family, friends, behaviour, routine, most importantly, of chasing their dreams. The ending of the story wasn't clear if the asteroid really hit the Earth or not but it ended with every character feeling somehow happy and relieved of the new life they're living.

"However unsatisfying it might seem, the ending of the novel is meant to be unclear. In that way, I like to think it mirrors real life.....The world is full of unknowable mysteries and vague resolutions. Books should be allowed to explore those same mysteries, don't you think?" - Tommy Wallach

I loved how the author wrote each chapter represented each character but in a mannerly, smooth storyline arrangement. I didn't know that this story was about teens of 18 years old, I wouldn't buy it if I knew since I'm actually not fond of coming of age characters. But the characters turned out written so well I'm just hooked to read and know more about them.

A typical hero of every story. He's a popular, basketball player in the school who thought his life was already planned - graduating high school, get into a sport-based university, go professional for a career, get married to his girlfriend and live a happily ever after life - until he found out that his life might not be planned that way indeed. He's a kind, determined guy who would do anything for the ones he loves, even if it meant that he must sacrifice his feeling in order for them to be happy. He's also a reliable eldest son of the family who would do anything in order to keep his family safe and happy together.

His father was all she got and he's everything to her. She got a mom that tried to talk to her but she never answered her. She loves taking photos but keep them to herself until she decided to post them on a blog to show how the world has become when the ending of the world is coming, which made her from an invisible to a famous, lovable girl. She's so expressive of her feeling and speaks her mind blatantly even if it would hurt the other person.

A kinda spoiled kid who lives alone. Always let himself be used by his drug addict friend, Bobo but sincerely love him too. He followed Bobo everywhere and almost became exactly like him (drug addict and violent) until he became friends with Anita and Eliza - towards the end, with Peter too - where he called them his karass (a group of people somehow affiliated or linked, who have the same purpose in life). Music is in his blood, he's the one that wrote all the songs in the book which made him so much attractive and cooler than his drug addict 'friends'.

A princess in a castle where her life was controlled by her parents who expected her to excel in her studies and go to a prestigious university and brings honour to the family. She worked hard for that goal set by her parents and neglected her real dream, to become a singer until she found Andy. Her life changed.

Most books that I bought, I never heard of the authors, including the author of WALU, Tommy Wallach. Turned out he's a singer-songwriter. He even wrote an entire album for WALU, it's called We All Looked Up: The Album which you can find on Spotify too! I especially loved how he included the entire album's lyrics of each song at the end of the book. I listened to the album while reading the book, especially at parts where Anita and Andy practised for their performance and during the part where they performed. Listening to the album while reading the book made the imagination on the scenes easier and clearer.

It's a light reading actually, of how the news of the ending of the world made the teens' life changed in only two months, which made me realized, we actually can change our life if we're determined to. But maybe we just don't want to take the risk and needed a cause for us to actually try changing our life. Reading WALU made me thinking about what I'm doing with my own life, if I ever have a dream I actually want to realize but don't have the guts to. That's a question mark, really. I recommend this book if you're into a light reading, coming of age story with a bit of nerve-racking moments.

My rating: 4/5

Some favourites from the book:

"That was what life was supposed to do, right? Just keep getting better and better?" - Peter

"The best books, they don't talk about things you'd always thought about, but that you didn't think anyone else had thought about. You read them, and suddenly you're a little bit less alone in the world. You're part of this cosmic community of people who've thought about this thing, whatever it happens to be." - Mr McArthur

"Do you think it's better to fail at something worthwhile or to succeed at something meaningless?" - Mr McArthur

"Why were adults always so obsessed with the future? It was like the present wasn't even happening." - Andy

" you ever worry that you're wasting your life?" - Peter

"...who's dumber? The guy who does his own thing, or the girl who does someone else's thing?" - Anita

"You don't wanna go out of this world with regrets. If there's something you want to do, you do it. You take this life by the balls and you tell it that you existed..." - Golden

"...trying to stay angry at someone you loved was like trying to keep an ice cube from melting in a cup of hot chocolate: impossible." - Anita

"Seen from the right perspective, pretty much everything looks tiny." - Eliza

Did you guys read any books during this RMO?

Till then,

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  1. cehhh patot lah suruh baca buku. HAHAHAHA

  2. I thought this is a motivational book (lol at me), I remembered reading a similar book like this one called 'Mirror in the Sky - Aditi Khorana', but rather than a world destined to be 'destroyed' it is more abput the discovery of a mirror planet (where whatever choice you might have let go, the other 'you' in that mirror planet choose it)

    Aww, I have been binge-reading Syud's novel from PNM e-reader and stuck with emotional angsty feeling now lol

    1. Honestly, I thought it's a motivational book too. Thanks for the recommendation, will try reading it once my reading mood is back. Hehe

  3. After I read this review, terus rasa intriguing nak baca.
    Going to find it later on Apple iBook, kalau takde jugak, order je lah nampaknya hahaha

    1. Yay, I recommed it if you're looking for a light, enjoyable reading

  4. thank you for the review. did you know where to find this book? i don't mind pun in digital or physical.

    1. I don't know if there's a digital one but I bought this at bookxcess Ipoh

  5. the kind of reading material i love !