“The Victoria Station burns so ferociously that the man with the binoculars can feel the heat from his perch in the helicopter,” (Ames 1).
Anxiety-ridden Riley Kowalski is spending her winter break in Antarctica after answering an advertisement that popped up on her Instagram feed. Sponsored by SladeTech, one of the world’s biggest tech companies owned by billionaire Anton Rusk, Riley joins five other student volunteers, a chaperone, and a scientist to prove that micro-plastics are in the ice and snow of the Antarctic. But there’s something else in the open, deadly landscape, something that flickers and disappears out of the corner of Riley’s eye. She feels in her gut that somethings wrong, but is she able to trust herself when her head often tells her to expect the worst?
I should have given up on this book. I know I should have, but at times I can be a stubborn individual, and finishing this book was one of those times. I wasn’t trying to prove to myself that the book was actually good, though I admit to wanting to prove to myself that I had figured out the ending (Spoiler Alert: I didn’t, which WAS shocking.). I think I had expected a lot from this book, so it was my own punishment in a way to read it to the end.
And it just isn’t good.
It Looks Like Us is an adaption of The Thing, a 1982 horror movie that is very good and you should watch it instead of wasting your time reading this book. The story takes place in the span of a week, but in just 288 pages Ames really ramps up most of that week as the last horrifying day takes up the bulk of the narrative. Because of this, it was hard for me to care or know who any of the characters were. And this is also the first time reading a book where I struggled to visualize what I was reading. It was surreal because it’s never happened before, and I hope it doesn’t happen again, but it completely took me out of the story. The ending was also a complete letdown and if Ames is planning a sequel I don’t know who will read it, but it won’t be me.
There is also a random pet rat that is mentioned at the beginning of the story and at the end. WHY WOULD YOU BRING A RAT TO THE ANTARCTIC AND THEN HAVE IT DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING FOR THE STORY ALL THE PIECES WERE THERE COME ON AMES!!!
I really don’t understand the choice between choosing these kids, these “delinquents.” Sure, Ilse FUCKING STABBED AND KILLED HER DAD WITH A KNIFE BECAUSE HE DIDN’T HELP HER MOM AFTER AN ACCIDENT WHEN SHE WAS TEN YEARS OLD. She was a valid choice for this death trap of an Instagram ad. Dae also makes sense since he did jail time, and I’ll maybe accept Nelson with his addiction issues, though it makes no sense with his rich and privileged upbringing that he would go on the trip to die. But Luke just saw someone die and had survivor’s guilt, and Riley had a severe panic attack that was filmed and went around school. Do both those things suck? Yes, greatly, but not enough to be chosen by a high-tech mogul with a targeted Instagram ad. You’re telling me there were NO OTHER messed up teens who wanted to go on an Antarctic adventure? SPOILER
But I do have some positives. There’s some queer rep (ace and gay) in here which is great though announced at a weird time. And Ames does an excellent job describing the body horror. Body horror is the one type of horror I have a bad time with and I ended up having multiple nightmares one night after reading of people’s faces melting. So I’ll give credit where credit is due to Ames for giving me a few nightmares. Two nightmares with two recent reads, am I becoming weak?
I also just realized that the cover for this book is really cool. That’s something!
It Looks Like Us had potential, and it could make for a good movie, good in a Riverdale hate watching sense. There’s an audience here, I was just not it.
Publication: September 27 2022
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Pages: 288 pages (Hardcover)
Genre: Fiction, Horror, YA, Adaption, LGTBQ*, Mystery, Thriller, Science Fiction
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤⛤
Shy high school junior Riley Kowalski is spending her winter break on a research trip to Antarctica, sponsored by one of the world’s biggest tech companies. She joins five student volunteers, a company-approved chaperone, and an impartial scientist to prove that environmental plastic pollution has reached all the way to Antarctica, but what they find is something much worse… something that looks human.
Riley has anxiety–ostracized by the kids at school because of panic attacks–so when she starts to feel like something’s wrong with their expedition leader, Greta, she writes it off. But when Greta snaps and tries to kill Riley, she can’t chalk it up to an overactive imagination anymore. Worse, after watching Greta disintegrate, only to find another student with the same affliction, she realizes they haven’t been infected, they’ve been infiltrated–by something that can change its shape. And if the group isn’t careful, that something could quickly replace any of them.