What the heck is it about? Here’s the Goodreads summary:
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.
My rating: 10/5 stars
This one blew me away with its combination of humor and stark existentialism. That’s basically my jam. It’s got some dark themes, so tread carefully if that bothers you.
The characters are compelling and sometimes painfully real, especially the protagonist. And gosh, the existential dread that runs through the narrative, the constant question of whether or not any of this is worth it–well, I found the novel to conclude nicely in this respect, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers. Check it out yourself, it’s a great read!