Ask the Passengers

FeaturedHot
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
5014 1
Ask the Passengers
Author(s)
Age Range
14+
Release Date
October 23, 2012
ISBN
0316194689
Buy This Book
      
Astrid Jones copes with her small town's gossip and narrow-mindedness by staring at the sky and imagining that she's sending love to the passengers in the airplanes flying high over her backyard. Maybe they'll know what to do with it. Maybe it'll make them happy. Maybe they'll need it. Her mother doesn't want it, her father's always stoned, her perfect sister's too busy trying to fit in, and the people in her small town would never allow her to love the person she really wants to: another girl named Dee. There's no one Astrid feels she can talk to about this deep secret or the profound questions that she's trying to answer. But little does she know just how much sending her love--and asking the right questions--will affect the passengers' lives, and her own, for the better.

In this unmistakably original portrayal of a girl struggling to break free of society's boxes and definitions, Printz Honor author A.S. King asks readers to question everything--and offers hope to those who will never stop seeking and sharing real love.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Strange and Wonderful
(Updated: September 26, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Originally reviewed on A Reader of Fictions: http://readeroffictions.blogspot.com/2012/09/review-ask-passengers.html

Okay, it's official. I think A.S. King is one of the very best YA writers out there. Ask the Passengers is only my second experience with King, but I loved it just as much as, perhaps even more than, the first one I read, Everybody Sees the Ants. Even better, King falls into that realm of authors who can do something totally new every time. She has some themes in common, but the books themselves are very different. One has a younger male teen lead, one an older female teen, and both voices come through completely authentic. I am always so incredibly impressed by authors who can vary their subject matter, style and characters so much, sort of reinventing themselves with each book.

I just adore King's writing. She is, for me, one of the most quotable authors. Her writing isn't overly complex, but it gets the feelings and the point across so incredibly strongly. There are so many lines that I wanted to read aloud to my friend on vacation with me so that she could appreciate King's brilliance, but I couldn't because I'm so making her read this book next.

Ask the Passengers focuses on the theme of belonging, of identity, of self-discovery, and of peer pressure. Astrid Jones doesn't want to be put into boxes, doesn't want to be forced to be any one thing. She just wants to be Astrid Jones, whoever that is. Why does it have to matter so much whether we're gay or straight, white or brown, religious or agnostic, male or female, wealthy or poor, popular or unpopular? Astrid struggles with everyone's expectations and perceptions, afraid to be who she is but also unwilling to pretend to be something or someone else.

These themes resonated with me, because, really, who the heck cares about those things? I mean, COME ON, it's the 21st century and we're still so caught up in defining things one way or another and on what's right that gay marriage is legal hardly anywhere. King brings up a lot of powerful issues and looks at the issue of being a girl in love with a girl in a different way than I have yet seen, and really made me consider the issue from a new angle. Plus, I sympathized with her desire to not have anyone know her business, because that's totally how I am. Why does everyone need to know?

Of course, the book also has humor, because the best issues books are imbued with humor, because a spoonful of sugar really does help the medicine go down. The whole opening plot is about how Astrid is weighed down by all of these secrets, those of her friends, her family and herself. Her friends, Justin and Kristina, are a power couple at school, the kind to be nominated for Homecoming King and Queen. Every Friday, they go on double dates with another couple, Donna and Chad. Actually, though, Justin's dating Chad and Kristina's dating Donna. SCANDAL! The only one who knows is Astrid, who's trying to decide whether to confess that she's actually dating a girl too, Dee, who works with her. I thought the whole situation was a hot mess, but I loved how theatrical it was. This would make a fantastic indie film. Just saying.

Another thing that I loved about the book, one which I could definitely see alienating some readers is Astrid's newly developed fascination with philosophy in general and Socrates in particular. I love philosophy myself, but the frequent discussions of it could put off some people. Even more than that, the philosophy takes a weird turn, in that Astrid creates an imaginary friend version of Socrates, who she dubs Frank Socrates; he helps her out along the way, making her question her behavior and what she holds true. I thought this worked, because of how motivated Astrid was by him and just her sheer exuberance about the class in general, but I do think it's interesting that both of her MCs I've read so far have had imaginary friends. Very odd, that.

My very favorite thing, though, was the part that gave the book its title: Astrid's love of planes and their passengers. Astrid does this thing where she will lie on the ground or on picnic tables and stare up at the sky, watching for planes. When she sees planes, she sends the passengers her love, along with her questions and frustrations, in a way of trying to help other people feel more loved and comfortable than she herself does. That was awesome just in and of itself. Better still, though, were the snippets of other people's stories (though a couple were too off the wall for me), showing the effect her little bits of love sent into the universe had on someone or other on the plane. These were all incredibly touching and moving, and I loved this little dose of magical realism.

I do know that everyone probably won't love A.S. King; I suspect her books will just be too weird for a lot of people. I, however, love them and want to strongly urge everyone who liked thought-provoking, quirky, clever books to read them. From what I can tell, A.S. King does not have anywhere near the name recognition and popularity she deserves.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 2 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Seventeen-year-old Dayna Walsh is struggling to cope with her somatic...
If You Go Down to the Woods Today (Brown Bear Wood)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Journey through a magical woodland, with poems to read and...
Bunny Will Not Jump!: Ready-to-Read Level 1
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
From the endless imagination of Jason Tharp comes a hilarious...
Milo's Christmas Parade
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A new picture book from Jennie Palmer starring Milo, a...
Slow Down: 50 Mindful Moments in Nature
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Slow down to watch 50 nature stories that command calm...
Once Upon A Pizza: Eight Crazy Ways Pizza Wasn't Really Invented, And One It Might Have Been
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Everyone loves pizza, but how was it invented? ...
A Kid's Guide to Fandom: Exploring Fan-Fic, Cosplay, Gaming, Podcasting, and More in the Geek World!
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Help young fans get in touch with their inner geeks...
Awaken    Book 1 The A'vean Chronicles
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
SOME PEOPLE AREN'T DESTINED TO BE ORDINARY. With a...
Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers: Celebrating Animal Underdogs
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Underdogs, unite! Celebrated nonfiction author Melissa Stewart offers young readers...
Beneath the Waves
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Open this charming read-aloud book and you'll find amazing animal...
Small Favors
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Ellerie Downing is waiting for something to happen. Life in...
Fearghus Academy: October Jewels
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
London, 1864. Fifteen year-old Anna Addison finds herself held at...
Chasing Fireflies
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Everything happens for a reason. ...
Mine
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A twisty, terrifying ghost story about twelve-year-old Lily, her creepy...
Gold Spun
 
4.8
 
0.0 (0)
If Nor can't spin gold, she can always spin lies....
Off the Record
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The behind-the-scenes access of Almost Famous meets the searing revelations...

Latest Member Reviews

One Real American: The Life of Ely S. Parker
 
4.5
"Ely Parker was born in 1928, a time when many Tonawanda Senecas in New York state were adopting many European..."
Book Nerd
 
4.5
"BOOK NERD is a delightful gift book for book lovers everywhere. The book is filled with colorful artwork and fun..."
 
5.0
"If you've already read Wind's great novel, Queer as a Five Dollar Bill (2019), you know that there is solid..."
Singled Out: The True Story of Glenn Burke
 
4.5
"Maraniss, whose Strong Inside covered Black basketball player Perry Wallace, turns his incredible research skills the the story of Glenn..."
The Train Your Brain Mind Exercise: 156 Puzzles for a Superior Mind
 
3.0
"The book sets expectations a bit high by touting the claim of unique puzzles for all skill levels, with a..."
Goodbye: A Story of Suicide
 
3.0
"A (quasi-creative?) non-fiction graphic novel, aimed at a Middle Grade or lower YA audience. It addresses the topic of bullying..."
1789: Twelve Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution, & Change
 
4.0
"What worked: Fascination collection of essays that show the impact of the year 1789 in the world.In this anthology, twelve..."
Strong Voices: Fifteen American Speeches Worth Knowing
 
4.0
"A compilation of excerpts from fifteen noteworthy speeches, selected from across American history. The chosen pieces represent great variety,..."
Wild Girl: How to Have Incredible Outdoor Adventures
 
4.5
EJ Elisha Jachetti, Staff Reviewer
"WILD GIRL: HOW TO HAVE INCREDIBLE OUTDOOR ADVENTURES is written by Helen Skelton, a veteran wild girl herself. In this..."
Sabina: In the Eye of the Storm
 
5.0
"'Sabina: In the Eye of the Storm' by Bella Kuligowska Zucker is an incredibly moving tale of the author's search..."
Beauty Mark: A Verse Novel of Marilyn Monroe
 
5.0
"What worked: Haunting, tragic tale of the life of Marilyn Monroe, told in verse which gives a powerful punch to..."
Hope in the Mail: Reflections on Writing and Life
 
5.0
EJ Elisha Jachetti, Staff Reviewer
"HOPE IN THE MAIL is an autobiographical account of the author’s life as it relates to her writing. Wendelin Van..."
Super Sons: The PolarShield Project
 
3.0
"An alternate reality take on the Super Sons series, featuring the middle-school aged offspring of Batman and Superman. When "climate..."
You Too?: 25 Voices Share Their #MeToo Stories
 
4.0
"What worked: Great compilation of personal essays inspired by the #YouToo movement. Each of the authors included in this anthology..."
This Is 18
 
5.0
"This is a fascinating view into what it's like to be a 18 year old girl throughout the world shown..."
They Called Us Enemy
 
4.0
"This graphic novel is an early life personal account of a major historical event (the internment of Japanese Americans durring..."
Poems to Live Your Life By
 
4.0
EJ Elisha Jachetti, Staff Reviewer
"POEMS TO LIVE YOUR LIFE BY is a collection in which each poem has been hand-picked by Chris Riddell, for..."
Breaking Through: How Female Athletes Shattered Stereotypes in the Roaring Twenties
 
5.0
"One hundred years ago. When I was growing up, this seemed like an impossibly long time in the past. The..."
No Map, Great Trip: A Young Writer's Road to Page One
 
4.0
"'No Map, Great Trip: A Young Writer's Road to Page One' by Paul Fleischman tells the story of the author..."
When the World Didn’t End: Poems
 
4.0
EJ Elisha Jachetti, Staff Reviewer
"Caroline Kaufman, otherwise known as @poeticpoison, has published her latest poems in WHEN THE WORLD DIDN’T END. The collection, which..."