We Are the Ants

We Are the Ants

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Henry Denton has spent years being periodically abducted by aliens. Then the aliens give him an ultimatum: the world will end in 144 days, and all Henry has to do to stop it is push a big red button. Only he isn't sure he wants to. Life hasn't been great for Henry: his mom is held together by a thin layer of cigarette smoke; his brother is a jobless dropout. And Henry is still dealing with the grief of his boyfriend's suicide last year. Weighing the pain and the joy that surrounds him, Henry can choose to save the planet... or let it be destroyed.
Publisher: New York : Simon Pulse, 2016
Edition: First Simon Pulse hardcover edition
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781481449632
Branch Call Number: y HUTCHINSO 2016
Characteristics: 451 pages ; 22 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Cynthia_N Jun 07, 2017

Such a hard book to read but such a good one! My heart hurt for Henry.

ElizF May 11, 2017

This is one of the best YA books I've read in a long time!

Apr 25, 2017

This was phenomenal! While there are numerous heartbreaking moments in We Are the Ants, I can't help but feel that it was ultimately uplifting. So, so good.

Jan 31, 2017

I'm really too old to be reading YA works like this one. I did enjoy the overall timbre of the narration, but it rang a little false at times. Cutters, for example, are generally not considered to be at a high risk of suicide. Other than that, the questions around suicide and the surviving victims seem well worth telling, and it was told well. As the countdown progressed, reading it became more compelling. Kudos to the author for his imagination and execution.

This is a great book for readers who love realistic fiction with a touch of sci-fi. The sci-fi acts more as a framework, with the heart of the story being about a boy struggling to overcome depression and understand his place in a difficult world. If you like this, try Noggin by John Corey Whaley.

Nov 28, 2016

Henry's mom is working a dead-end job, his nana's Alzheimer's is getting worse, his brother dropped out of college after his girlfriend got pregnant.Plus Henry's blames his self for his boyfriend Jesse's suicide. Henry also gets abducted by aliens pretty frequently and has the choice to save the world or not.

This story was really dark. Trigger warnings galore. Definitely, trigger warnings for suicide, intense bullying, and sexual assault. Even in the near the end once I knew it was a dark book it was able to throw me off with something. Still the book is really good and so interesting.

Henry has to decide if the world is worth saving or not. I feel like the decision for Henry is influenced by all the crap he goes through, but I felt like it often came back to Jesse's suicide. I really liked the way this book talked about depression, mental health, grieving, and guilt. Audrey is one character that definitely has great moments where she talks about these topics.

It honestly took me a while to get into this, but after the half-way point,I was in. At first, I was getting some big manic pixie dream boy vibes from Diego.Is that a thing? I think it's a thing. There was also being bogged down with all the things happening to Henry and his reactions to them.

The characters are brilliant. I felt like they are so layered. Henry's friend Audrey, his family, and Diego were all great characters. Marcus was even a well-done character. He developed. I still have no sympathy for him , but he developed.

This book has some really heartbreaking moments.There are so many beautiful parallels in this story that I won't go into because spoilers. Beautiful and heartbreaking actually. I kept noticing them and just loved it. The ending was interesting. I wasn't expecting it to end that way at all. I think I liked it. It leaves me with questions and that's not a bad thing.

Nov 10, 2016

2016's best! Simply amazing.

JCLChrisK Oct 31, 2016

Henry is crippled by grief and guilt about his true love's death. Everyone--including his human nature--tells him life is worth living. Experience tells him it's not. This book chronicles a period of those experiences and Henry's struggle to decide if he, or anyone else, has any reason to struggle on.

Whether we are ants or not

Whether an ant's life matters or not.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the audiobook production of the book, I'm sure I would have quite a few quotes to share here had I read the book, as it offers many elegant--and often harsh--commentaries on life. (Here's one I don't have to hunt to find, the book's first paragraph: Life is bulls***.) Henry embodies those deep insights. His story, while his own, is one that everyone knows. And it's one worth experiencing.

AL_CATHERINE Aug 16, 2016

I'll start off by admitting that this is DEFINITELY NOT my kind of book. There were far too many realistic issues for my liking (cutting, suicide, rape, domestic violence, bullying, abusive relationships). That being said, I can easily see why it's been nominated for so many "Best of" lists and had gotten all the buzz. It's really well written and compelling. Even though I didn't enjoy most of it, I wanted to find out what would happen to Henry next and I rooted for him and Diego through the whole thing. It's definitely for older teens, with prolific bad language and sexual content throughout but I think lots of teens will definitely enjoy it.

Feb 21, 2016

If the world was about to end but you had the power to prevent its ending, would you?
Aliens have given Henry the choice to press a button to prevent the end of the world, but he isn't sure if he should push the button. His life is terrible— his mom's an alcoholic, his brother's a jerk, he's bullied at school by the popular kids, his grandmother has dementia, his boyfriend committed suicide, his dad abandoned his family, and he pretty much hates the world.
[Note: this review has some spoilers— Maybe don't read it if you haven't read the book yet]
This is one of those books where the character's perspective of the world changes completely and subtly over the course of the book. I generally find that sort of book dull, but I actually really liked this book. The first half of this story was fairly bleak and depressing, which got a bit annoying after a while, although I imagine that that was intentional. The "popular kids" seemed too evil to be realistic at times, which annoys me in books, and the science teacher character felt cliched.. Despite that, I loved this book! I loved it's unflinching cynical story line, ant the juxtaposition of themes— this story is a contrast of life and death, love and hate, depression and laughter, etc. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for an exciting and thought-provoking book.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at MCL

To Top