We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach (370 pages)
Overview: The students of Hamilton High lived normal high school lives until the day they found out about the astroid Ardor. Until they learned there was only two months to live. Then everything changed. Their school is taken over by cops around every corner. Downtown Seattle has fallen to anarchy, and five kids are trust in the middle of it. With differences and labels forgotten, the jock, the perfect girl, the school slut, and stoner kid come together to protect each other in the new scary world they face. Will the kids even make it long enough to face Ardor and their eminent demise? Overall: 5
Characters: 5 There are four point of view characters in this third person narrative along with another character that played a prominent role in the story. Each POV character essentially represents a high school faction or cliche. Peter is the jock who is nice to everyone and can do no wrong, yet he does. Eliza is deemed the school slut all because Peter kissed her and his girlfriend, Stacy, wanted revenge. Anita is the goody two shoes with perfect grades, early acceptance to Princeton with overbearing parents keeping her from her dreams. And Andy is the screw up with good intentions. I also include Misery, Peter's younger sister, who hangs with Andy's crowd because of her toxic boyfriend Bobo, as a major character.
Wallach creates very compelling characters with great arches that are extremely believable. They all start out the novel taking their labels and running with them even if they don't match what's inside. With a 66.66% chance they'll die in the next two months, everyone decides they don't have time for faking their personalities for the sake of expectation, though some catch on faster than others.
Plot: 5 Every part of the book was completely entertaining. As the ending approached, the action ramped up gluing me to the book for the last hundred pages.
Writing: 5 This is a great, well rounded book. It is neither character driven, though it features amazing and compelling characters, or plot driven, though the plot was fast paced and gripping. Also, this is an accessible toe dip into dystopia or science fiction because it is realistic fiction with one element tweaked. I found that to be an interesting scenario to explore, and the angle the author approached it from made it even better.
I also have to applaud Wallach for the amazing mood he set through the chapter changes and word choices. Finally, I generally have a problem with third person, especially with shifting points of view, but here it became an asset. Like in the John Green book, An Abundance of Katherines, the third person narrator seemed to take a voice of its own that I found enjoyable. There was also a certain proximity to characters not often obtained by the general third person narration. Finally, as I reflect on the structure of the narrative, it seems the POVs were more viewfinders for situations than meant to be spoken through their voices.