Ask the Passengers

Monday, October 22, 2012

I had received the ARC for Ask the Passengers by A.S King in the mail and immediately read the synopsis  I knew, just from reading that short little blurb, that Ask the Passengers would be nothing less than amazing. I was right.

Ask the Passengers

The synopsis on the ARC reads:
Astrid Jones sends her love.
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 lose. 
I do it everywhere now. I send love to the lady who runs the drugstore. I love the old man who's stocking shelves. I even love the cashier with the insanely large hands who always frowns at me. I don't care if they don't love me back. 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.

In this unmistakably original portrayal of a girl struggling to break free of society's boxes and definitions  Printz Honor recipient A.S King (author of Please Ignore Vera Dietz  and Everybody Sees the Ants) asks readers to question everything- and offers hope to those who will never stop seeking and sharing love. 

When I was wondering how to start this post, I wondered onto Amazon and read the editorial reviews for Ask the Passengers. I came upon this quote:

"Quite possibly the best teen novel featuring a girl questioning her sexuality written in years"- Kirkus Reviews (starred) 
I won't argue with the Kirkus Reviews because they're much more official  than I am, but Ask the Passengers is so much more than a just novel questioning her sexuality. It's about, as the blurb for the book said, "it's a girl struggling to break free of society's boxes and definitions".  I don't think I've used this much quotes for a review, but the words and phrases that the publisher used really defines the novel.

Ask the Passengers is told from Astrid's point of view. I loved Astrid's strong and genuine voice. It wasn't too pretentious or trying too hard to be someone she wasn't. Her voice was a little philosophical and just right. Ask the Passengers is a slow novel, but the pacing was perfect. The writing was simplistic and unadorned but so powerful. It just suited the book, you know?

What I liked about Ask the Passengers was that it was a such a genuine book that dealt with so much- who a person is, sexuality, love, friends and family. The novel dealt with so much yet it didn't feel confusing or like it was trying too hard. It felt so natural, which is sometimes so rare in YA literature. 

Interspersed into the novel are stories about passengers in planes who are in the midst of discovering something- themselves, love, and more. The placement of the stories are perfect. The stories don't feel random at all, but rather an necessary part of the novel. 

Astrid, despite her many problems- a father who's addicted to pot , a mother who's obsessed with keeping up images and more, is easy to relate to. Underneath all of that, Astrid is just another teenager who's trying to find herself amidst everything.

Ask the Passengers comes out on October 23, 2012.

Review copy provided by the publisher

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