Sunday, March 2, 2014

Ask the Passengers: Contemporary LGBT

Title: Ask The Passengers
Author: A. S. King
Publisher: Little Brown
Publication Date: October 23, 2012
Awards: Los Angeles Times Book Prize Winner (2012)
Format: Library Copy
Genre: YA, Contemporary, LGBT
Rating: ✎✎✎✎✎


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.

My Thoughts and Reflection:
*Spoilers May be Found Floating Amongst the Clouds*

Let me just start with saying that this was one of the most satisfying YA contemporaries that I've read in a long time.  
Okay, so anyway, I picked this book up at my local library while randomly browsing.  I haven't read much by A. S. King, only Please Ignore Viera Dietz (Review Here).  

The first thing that I think of when describing this book is how amazingly deep all of the characters were.  Astrid, as the protagonist, got most of the attention.  We dive immediately into her mind, where she talks to philosophers, tries to connect with her parents, fails at understanding her small town society,  grasps for her sexuality, and sends love to passengers in the planes that fly overhead.
Astrid's parents were some of the most present parents that I've seen in a YA book in an extremely long time. Astrid's mother was a difficult character to deal with.  She was annoying, unloving, and overall self absorbed.  Astrid's father was oblivious, although sort of omnipresent throughout the book.  The dynamic of his relationship with Astrid is really interesting.  Astrid's sister also plays the perfect sisterly role.  She wasn't quite a typical sister, and that gave her a lot of potential.
Astrid had some interesting friends.  Kristina seems like a good friend at first, but then it becomes obvious that she really isn't the kind of friend that Astrid really should want.  Of course they make up after their fight, but is positive, but I think that they have a doomed relationship.  
The Justin/Astrid relationship isn't really apparent at all in the book.  Whenever Justin is around he's either with Kristina or Chad.  It took me a while to figure out that Justin and Kristina were each other's beards.  I should have realized that long before I did.  
I didn't like our love interest, Dee, at first.  I was so worried that she was taking advantage of Astrid and was going to push her too far.  This all is acknowledged in the book, and the way that they work through their relationship is mature and inspiring.
The way that Astrid made up a version of a philosopher was quirky and silly, but made her come across as genuine.  The parts when she would "send" her love to the passengers, is fascinating, but ultimately sad.  She originally felt that there was no one with her that she wanted to send her love to, so she sent it to strangers.  Seeing the passengers reactions to the love and the glimpses into their lives was a thoughtful touch.
Overall, I thought that Astrid made a noble journey finding her sexual identity, a noble journey realizing who her really friends are, and a noble journey to discovering that there were plenty of people that she could send love to right there with her.

Dust Jacket Ramblings:

I love the cover of this book.  I think that it captures the whimsicalness of Astrid's personality, as well as giving a hint at her laying and talking to the passengers.  An accurate, not overly done cover.

In Other News:

I read a lot this past week, although I wasn't sleeping very well.  Sigh….  
You may have noticed that I'm no longer reading Cress by Marrisa Meyer.  I haven't finished it.  It just came out, and I really want it to last as long as possible, because the sequel comes out next year.  I'll get around to it soon, I just am not quite ready to yet.  
I discussed Unwind by Neil Shusterman with my local book club.  It was fun to discuss, considering all of the creepy and controversial things that go on in that book.  
I really liked Debby's post over at Snuggly Oranges about Surprises Under the Cover.


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