I usually say that my traditional "wash out my brain" books are anything by Terry Pratchett, but I also love a good Young Adult novel for the same purpose. Books written for teenagers are quickly paced and engaging as heck; they make a great two day read of pure escapism. In We All Looked Up, we follow 4 seniors in a Seattle high school as they learn of a comet that has a 66.6% chance of hitting Earth in two months. Struggling with identity issues as it is, what are these kids to do when faced with a prospect of a future that may not exist?
I heard Wallach speak about a year and a half ago when he accepted a small award for this, his first published book. He cracked me up and I've been looking forward to reading it ever since. But I have to admit that the book leaves something to be desired. Everything that happens is pretty predictable, and the writing is littered with cliches. The characters are the best part about it; they're well-drawn and easy to relate to. It's just everything else that seems, well, amateurish. To be fair, this kind of book reads very differently to a sixteen-year-old, so perhaps I'm being unfair by holding it to a higher standard. Then again, there are plenty of YA novels that fulfill my expectations while still playing to that same sixteen-year-old, so perhaps not.