Title: Ask the Passengers
Author: A.S. King
Genre: YA Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Coming of Age
Published On: October 23rd 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
My Rating: 5 Stars
Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother's pushiness and her father's lack of interest tell her they're the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn't know the passengers inside, but they're the only people who won't judge her when she asks them her most personal questions--like what it means that she's falling in love with a girl. As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can't share the truth with anyone except the people at thirty thousand feet, and they don't even know she's there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers' lives--and her own--for the better. In this truly original portrayal of a girl struggling to break free of society's definitions, Printz Honor author A.S. King asks readers to question everything--and offers hope to those who will never stop seeking real love.
Ask the Passengers is funny and honest, and an experience I will never forget. While it doesn’t exactly tackle anything new, the style and voice of A.S. King is unique and perfect. Add that to her ability to weave in a bit of magic, and it’s hard to doubt that Ask the Passengers is anything but original.
Astrid Jones is struggling. Her family… well, it’s safe to say it sucks, her friends are pushy, and her town is small. Small-minded, mostly, but small in all the other ways, too. But the part Astrid is really struggling with is her sexuality, and the definitions she’s not sure she wants to, or should, accept.
“I’m not questioning my sexuality as much as I’m questioning the strict definitions and boxes of all sexualities and why we care so much about other people’s intimate business.”
Astrid Jones makes you think… about what it means to be gay, what it means to be human, and what it means to be happy. With a slight obsession with philosophy, she voices the questions we all need to hear, and makes you want to start questioning things yourself.
“I start to feel resentful. You mean to tell me that it’s 2011 and this guy gets paid to have remedial talks with high school students about how they shouldn’t hate other people? Isn’t this elementary? Shouldn’t it be automatic? What kind of species are we if we have to have people come talk to us about this crap? And how, if we’re that stupid, did we get to the moon and help build a space station?”
I truly enjoyed this book and I wish I would have read it sooner. The only issue I had was that Astrid doesn’t really change in the end. She was a pushover to begin with, and in the end she forgives all the people in her life who mistreated her without much apology on their end. I suppose her true change was accepting herself, even if it wasn’t totally on her own terms as she’d have liked.
Ask the Passengers is absolutely a book worth reading, and if you haven’t already, I suggest you check it out. With A.S. King easily becoming my favorite author, I look forward to reading more of her work.