Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

Astrid lays on a picnic table in her backyard and sends all her love to the people in the airplanes which fly above her.  In Astrid's life, love isn't something that comes easy.  She lives in a small town where everybody is watching and judging, the relationships in her family are fully messed up, and all the while she's not sure of what she really feels.

This is one of those books where I don't have a whole heck of a lot to say about it.  The writing was great, but it is A.S. King, so that was to be expected.  I thought it was a very good book... would I put it up there as one of my favorites?  Probably not.  But still an enjoyable book.

What I liked:  Throughout the book there were little breaks where we would get one of the airplane passenger's side stories.  I honestly wish there were more of these because sometimes they were more interesting than what was going on in the book.  Not to say the book wasn't interesting, but not a TON happens in the book and these other stories were such a nice break.  I guess this is what is called magical realism because the "love" that Astrid was sending would penetrate through the plane and hit a passenger, changing their way of thinking.  I also really liked the family dynamics aspect of the book.  Astrid's family was seriously f'd.  I don't know how anyone would escape from that house without some major issues.  But Astrid seemed pretty normal considering her circumstances.

What bugged me: I liked the book a lot... but I just didn't feel like it was THAT original.  Other than the passenger aspect, the rest of it was just a story about a girl trying to come to terms with her sexuality.  Worrying what her family and people at school were going to think.  Sure that stuff is important, but I feel like I've read that story before.  A few times.  I also didn't like the love interest that Astrid had.  For most of the book the author makes her out to be just another person in Astrid's life who doesn't understand her.  So forgive me if I can't just pull a 180 and start liking her just because there is a "talk" at the end.

The town and school also seemed a little like a caricature instead of some place real.  I mean I know there are bigoted people out there, and maybe I'm naive, but in 2014 I don't think the reaction to a teen being gay would be this BIG.  The book is full of villain after villain to the point where the only good people in the book are Astrid and her philosophy teacher.  I'm just not going to buy into that dramatic of a place.

I really did enjoy reading this book overall though.  I think it is a good story with a good message and could really make an impact on the right teenager.  It wasn't the best book on this subject I've ever read, but it was worth reading.

OVERALL: I liked it.  It wasn't the best coming of age book I've ever read, but the writing was excellent and there were some interesting elements throughout the book.  I felt some elements to be a little forced and unbelievable, but overall it was another good one for A.S. King.  Oh and if you haven't read Please Ignore Vera Dietz... you really should, it's fabulous!

This Book Contains:

  • A town called Unity Valley (small town Pennsylvania)
  • Field Hockey
  • LGBT issues
  • Drinking
  • Family issues
  • Bullying
  • Socrates (yes the dead philosopher) sightings
  • Love stories
  • Togas

My Rating:


How I got this book: Library
Date Published: 10/23/2012

1 comment:

  1. After I read Reality Boy I wanted to read more by A.S. King and this is one that really interested me. The whole magical realism thing is kind of weird to me and definitely not my normal thing, I feel like it's not your normal thing either, though so maybe that's a good sign? The caricatures stuff is not promising though. You gave me things to think about, thank you!