My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group
Publication Date: October 23rd, 2012
Publisher:Little, Brown BFYR
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, LGBT, Contemporary, Reputation
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.
A.S. King does it so well.
Technically, she shouldn’t, though. I mean, her stories are not the most original ones on Earth, and if you compare her books, you’re going to see that she follows a certain formula. Therefore, reading her books back-to-back can make them seem repetitive.
So what is it about this author that makes her so great and unlike many other YA authors?
Well, she explores various themes – bullying, sexual orientation, sexuality, mental health, abuse, etc – and she explores them with creative dept. What I mean by that is that, although her storylines may not be impressive, the way she talks about subjects is.
In ‘‘Ask the Passengers,’’ Astrid Jones is questioning her sexual orientation. She has a girlfriend whom she very much likes to kiss, but is she actually gay? What makes someone gay? And surprisingly enough, it’s not only by reflecting on her actions, future and desires that she manages to eventually answer her questions, but also with the help of theories of multiple philosophers, especially Socrates and Zeno of Ela.
It’s not like A.S. King does that to sound more intelligent or make her characters sound more intelligent; it actually contributes to the plot in a many great ways. Questioning something so salient about ourselves does not end at that specific question. It’s not by answering that one question that everything will suddenly change in her life for the better or worst. It’s a gradual process.
I’m in awe of the author’s writing, I really am. It’s obvious to me that she imagines herself in her heroes and heroines’ shoes while writing her stories. That’s admirable and, in some cases, what makes a novel ‘‘great’’ instead of ‘‘good.’’ It’s that spark.
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