Ask the Passengers is funny and honest, and it is 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 one of my favorite authors, I look forward to reading more of her work.