Hardcover, 296 pages
Published October 23rd 2012 by Little, Brown BFYR
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.
At about the same time I began my book blog a new and upcoming author made her way into my reading library, that author was A.S. King. I was blown away by her debut novel Dust of 100 dogs and have been a fan ever since. Over the years she has written some amazing books and her most recent novel, ASK THE PASSENGERS is one of my very favorites.
A.S. King has an amazing ability of creating characters of depth and complexity that we can understand and empathize with while placing them in heart rendering situations that bring on some true soul searching.
Once you read about Astrid Jones and her story you will never be the same. She seems like an ordinary teen in a small town. Yet, what lurks beneath the surface is so much more than you could ever believe. Astrid's family life is far from Ideal, her popular best friend entrusted her with major secret and now she believes she has fallen in love with a girl and wants to understand what it all means. Is she gay or not? What would happen if the truth came out about her friend and when did her family become so dysfunctional? Because Astrid believes she has no one to confide in she goes outside and sends her questions and love to those passengers flying in the planes overhead.
I knew I would like whatever A.S. King would write, I always do but never did I believe that I would enjoy ASK THE PASSENGERS as much as I have. The concept of a girl sending her love to passengers on planes is a bit quirky but it totally works. In fact, it is one of my favorite part about this book along with many others. Yet, what I enjoyed most was the star of this book, Astrid Jones. She is a intelligent and complex, scared and strong in equal measure and she had some of the best internal dialoge that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I also appreciated how she always stood up for herself, never hiding or running away and when she was finally good and ready speak the truth. It was refreshing to see her understand and process some very difficult topics with honest emotions, even if they didn't display her in the best light. I never felt that she was fake while she was dealing with her problems on her own terms, refusing to be boxed in by society's demands and when she decided that enough was enough and break through you only wanted to cheer her on.
I really enjoy this novel and all it's bits of quirkiness, wit and heartache, because beneath it all stands a clear message, love is love and no one should never have to hide who and what they really are. Thank you, A.S. King for another stellar read. I will never look at Socrates in the same way again :)
My Favorite Book Bit:
"Every Airplane, no matter how far it is up there, I send love to it. I picture the people in their seats with their plastic cups of soda or orange juice or Scotch, and I love them. I really love them. I send a steady, visible stream of it--love--from me to them. From my chest to their chests. From my brain to their brains. It's a game I play.
It's a good game because I can't loose....
This isn't reciprocal.
It's an outpouring.
Because if I give it all away, then no one can control it.
Because if I give it all away, I'll be free."