Title: Ask the Passengers
Author: A.S. King
Genre/Audience: Young adult
Publication: Little, Brown, 2012
Ask the Passengers was a book club pick and I’m glad that it was. I enjoyed this story quite a bit, though not everyone in my book club did.
Astrid Jones is falling in love with a girl but she doesn’t entirely know what that means for her. She feels like she can’t confide in anyone. Her mother seems to care only about her sister, her father is always stoned, and even though her best friend is a lesbian, she just doesn’t want anyone to know. Suffice it say, she feels disconnected from most everyone around her, so she spends hours outside, watching the planes fly overhead, and sending the passengers her love, and most personal of questions.
So, I really liked this book and thought Astrid was an awesome character. Even though she was struggling a lot with her identity, particularly her sexual identity, she was very levelheaded, intelligent, and witty. Even though she often felt insecure about who she was as a person, she seemed confident and sure in other aspects of her life. I just thought that she was very strong and wise for her age, albeit a bit confused.
Her family and friends were very interesting, and the family dynamics were unusual and oftentimes heartbreaking. Her mother absolutely adored the younger sister, but never seemed to have any time for or interest in Astrid. Her father, though they had a decent relationship, was very distant and always high. It seemed like Astrid didn’t even fit in with her own family, and perhaps that was why she struggled so much with her identity.
All in all, this was a great story about identity with excellent writing. I will definitely be reading more of King’s work, and am looking forward to seeing her at our local Teen Book Festival this year, of which I am a committee member. I’d recommend this one to fans of contemporary YA fiction that’s a bit out of the box.
My Rating: 4/5