Author: A.S. King
Pages: 296 pages
Format acquired: Paperback (ARC)
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Publication date: October 23rd 2012
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble
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 questioneverything--and offers hope to those who will never stop seeking real love.
(Image and summary taken from Goodreads)
I really loved Please Ignore Vera Dietz so I already knew that when I got a copy of this book that I would enjoy reading this one too. I admit, I didn't expect this book to have such a heavy "feel" to it, because Please Ignore really was just a light, happy read for me. Here in Ask The Passengers, we see a whole new method that really draws you in the story and keeps you in until you finish the book.
While it did take me a while to get used to the whole heavy feel (I am not fond of heavy stories) I did, eventually get past that. And when I actually embraced the whole feel of it, the book seemed less heavy and more enlightening. It's like I was there with Astrid and everyone else. I felt bad when her mom ignored her, I felt the giddy teenager when she as with Dee and her friends and I felt the lonely girl that she as when she sat out back and sent love to planes that passed by. At first, I was really confused about the whole Kristina-Justin thing. I thought they had one of those huge problems that they cover up to look happy or because everyone else wants them together. When I read it again though, I realized I missed some of the hints that Ms. King put here and there. I really didn't catch up on it until they were going to those bars outside town (sorry, I'm slow)
The story really was well developed and the characters felt sincere and real to me. And it's as if these kinds of stories really DO happen to most people (and I have a feeling it does). I don't personally know people who are shunned by their own mothers but I know it happens. I know of some people who are just so tired of being the perfect child. I know people who are struggling with their sexuality because they're so afraid of ridicule or rejection. Here, Ms. King gives life to those people. She gives them each a character and a story. I enjoyed playing out the scenes in my head and going through the conversations as if they really were happening. I felt the effect it had on the characters, and you know a good book when it's able to draw you in and feel the same things the characters do. When I read this book, my feels just exploded all over the place. One minute I was happy, next I was sad, next I was confused. But that's the beauty of these books. That they make you feel things you didn't know you could. Suddenly, you have a new perspective and vision on things that were blurry or you couldn't understand before.
I felt sad when Astrid explained why she sent love to those airplanes. I just wanted to hug her. From the first page, I felt her sadness and it broke my heart that she had to do that because it meant so much more to her. I really can understand why she does that. I mean, all of us at one point in our lives have felt unloved and neglected. But from where I see it in Astrid's case, it's everyday she feels this way. And instead of caving in and detaching herself, she turns it around and gives what she craves for. Which is actually a much braver thing to do. To just keep on giving. This book pushes more than just acceptance, it pushes for understanding and broadens the light on so many things. Sometimes, when something is blatantly exposed to us, we miss to understand what it is or what it's about. Ms. King didn't just state the obvious, she explained it and gave life to it. She gave us real life situations and scenarios and she made that into something that everyone could understand.
This books really should be read by everyone. No matter what genre you prefer of what kind of stories you want to read, Ask The Passengers should be on your TBR shelf. It's just that awesome. More power to you, A.S. King!