Review by Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Self-hating teenager Henry is caught in an existential trap: finding life to be absurd, he thinks humans are not the apex of civilization on the contrary, they are no more significant than ants. Are they even worth saving? A relevant question, for Henry has a secret: the aliens who have abducted him a dozen times or more have told him when the world will end. Strangely, they have also given him the choice to prevent doomsday; he can simply press a button, and the world will live on. Yet will he take that action? His boyfriend, Jesse, has committed suicide, and Henry, blaming himself, doubts that life is worth living. Certainly, his is a grand parade of suffering and humiliation (because of his belief in aliens, he is called space boy at school). But then charismatic Diego shows up in town, and suddenly life has renewed purpose. But does Henry really have the freedom of choice he thinks he has? Hutchinson's excellent novel of ideas invites readers to wonder about their place in a world that often seems uncaring and meaningless. The novel is never didactic; on the contrary, it is unfailingly dramatic and crackling with characters who become real upon the page. Will Henry press the button? We all await his decision.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2015 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Henry Denton's life is in tatters-he was abandoned by his father; his boyfriend, Jesse, hanged himself; and he is regularly abducted by aliens who have put Earth's very fate in his hands. The 16-year-old, nicknamed "Space Boy" by his tormentors, is self-destructing until he finds a friend in new kid Diego and an ally in Jesse's former pal Audrey. In a style reminiscent of Slaughterhouse-Five, Hutchinson (The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley) intersperses Henry's experience aboard the "slugger" spaceship with his trials on Earth, where he's "a punch line at school, a ghost at home." The extraterrestrial scenes are less the makings of a SF novel than a metaphor for Henry's isolation and alienation from his family and peers, including a gang of bullies who brutally assault him in a shower and then publicly shame him. Hutchinson has crafted an unflinching portrait of the pain and confusion of young love and loss, thoughtfully exploring topics like dementia, abuse, sexuality, and suicide as they entwine with the messy work of growing up. Ages 14-up. Agent: Amy Boggs, Donald Maass Literary Agency. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up-Henry Denton is abducted by aliens who tell him that by merely pushing a button, he can save Earth from annihilation. What seems like an obvious decision becomes a complicated thought process for a teen who has experienced the worst of humanity-bullying, loss, and grief-and who wonders if oblivion is the answer. This strikingly original work will grip readers and force them to ponder tough questions. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review
Depressed by his boyfriend's suicide, Henry believes he's been abducted by aliens who tell him he can save the world from doom. But is the world worth saving? As lonely, bullied Henry grapples with this decision, a relationship develops with newcomer Diego, an artist with a dark past. Henry's angst-filled, existential narrative alternates with possible end-of-the-world scenarios. Character development outshines the lagging, issue-laden plot. (c) Copyright 2017. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Extraterrestrials offer depressed, acerbic Henry Denton the chance to save the Earth from certain destruction by pressing a red button. The stalk-eyed, variably tentacled sluggers' repeated, humiliating abductions and habit of dumping Henry in strange places with minimal clothing make Henry's life tough, but the focus here is less on the aliens and more on the button. Bullied at school, pushed around at home, and reeling from his once-boyfriend's suicide, Henry doesn't think he wants to press it. "If you knew the world was going to end but you could prevent it, would you?" becomes a sort of refrain throughout, and each character who answers not only reveals his or her own carefully imagined depths, but also sheds light on Henry's existential dilemmas. Whether Henry is hooking up in secret with the popular golden boy who torments him in public, watching his beloved Nana lose her memories, or being physically and verbally assaulted at school, at parties, and online, he maintains a biting, vulgar wit. There is both a budding romance and, via Henry's older brother, a baby on the way, but the novel meticulously avoids easy fixes for Henry's nihilism. Instead, his journey is subtle and hard-won, with meditations on the past, the present, and the future that are equal parts sarcastic and profound. Bitterly funny, with a ray of hope amid bleakness. (Fiction. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.