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Review: Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Ask the Passengers
by A.S. King

5 Stars: Keeper
Publication: October 23, 2012
Pages: 296
Author: Website  | Facebook | Twitter
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Buy it: Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository

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.

Astrid is a girl who is discovering her lesbian tendencies in a small town where everybody gets into everybody else's business and thinks they know how the world works. Although she wants to trust someone with her secret, she's estranged from her family and doesn't even trust her best friend to keep her mouth shut. The only place she can safely send her love is to the passengers in the planes flying overhead. Then a string of events forces her to acknowledge things she wanted to keep hidden away and propel her to make changes in herself and her environment instead of waiting for something to happen.

The driving factor of this story is the emotion, both in the characters themselves and in the way that I reacted to the characters. Astrid is easily one of the most relatable characters I have read about. I've never been in her situation, being a a city girl who grew up fangirling over hot guys in literature (so much hotter than the guys I grew up with), but Astrid's situation is developed so well that it's easy to sympathize with her. Initially, Astrid walks around in a daze, unable to move forward or backward, and she lives through imaginary plane people that she invents to send her love to, thereby changing their lives for the better. Though she's really indecisive, I never felt the need to push her to resolve anything; in fact, I appreciate the difficult decisions that she has to make. I also appreciate the connections that her humanities Philosophy class ties into the story with the idea of motion being impossible, Socrates paradoxes, and Plato's "Allegory of the Cave." It really worked well with the story.

The supporting characters are equally compelling. Astrid's best friend Kristina seems like the perfect girl on the outside; she's a princess of the Homecoming Court, has a lot of friends, and has the perfect family. She has a secret, however; she's gay, and so is her equally 'perfect' boyfriend. She is concerned about how others view her unlike Astrid's secret girlfrirend, who has already come out and is assured of her identity. Both girls, I loved and hated at times. Then there is Astrid's family. I loathed Astrid's mother and felt disappointed in Astrid's sister and father. I'm still not quite reconciled with them to be honest, but there's potential for them to grow.

The story follows Astrid as she questions her sexual tendencies and her self identity, fixes her broken relationships with those close to her, and opens herself to love. Some things cannot be changed, like the minds of very biased people. What Astrid learns is how to express herself freely and without concern for those who will not allow themselves to learn how to accept others for who they are. As Astrid realizes, perfection may or may not be impossible; it depends on the eye of the beholder.

I received a copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher.

1 comment on "Review: Ask the Passengers by A.S. King"
  1. I was on the fence about this book! It does sound cute, but you got me with "The driving factor of this story is the emotion, "!! Bring it on! I love emotional books!

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