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.
Things I liked:
- Henry’s voice felt very unique because it was a bit sarcastic and pessimistic, and I found that very relatable.
- The depiction of grief after a loved one commits suicide and how it affects people and keeps affecting them even months after it happened. Showing how it never stops hurting was realistic.
- I liked how his family members had their own arcs and went through their own character development that affected the plot.
- All the characters are morally grey, but they;re all trying to do/be better and were peopel worth rooting for.
- Henry’s romance with Diego was very cute and I loved how healthy it was, and I loved how much they cared about each other.
- I enjoyed all the commentary on why the world is worth saving, and I loved hearing all the characters reasons for why they think the world is worth saving.
Things I disliked:
- I wish the aliens would have played a more prominent part and had been explained more. They honestly felt so half-assed. They were obviously a metaphor for helping Henry realize that life is worth living, but that’s the problem–it felt like a plot device. I was extremely disappointed with this.
- There is a scene with sexual assault and it felt like it was used as a shock factor, and it felt super unnecessary.
Overall, despite a couple setbacks, I still did enjoy this book.
Would I recommend it? Yes.