By A.S. King
Available now from Little, Brown
Review copy courtesy of Mrs. Yingling Reads
Read my reviews of PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ and THE DUST OF 100 DOGS
Read Amy's guest blog
A.S. King is one of the best young adult authors writing today. Every single one of her books is a gem. I'd say the only truly comparable author is John Green, although their books don't much resemble each other aside from being contemporary YA.
King's newest book, ASK THE PASSENGERS, is about Astrid Jones. Astrid's a pretty normal teen - she has a mom, a dad, and a younger sister, she hangs out with her best friends who are dating, and has a job with a local caterer. But her mom has a special bond with her sister, leaving Astrid left out, plus she dominates the whole family. Her best friends aren't actually dating - Justin and Kristina are both gay and use each other as a beard. And Astrid is dating Dee, who works with her. But Astrid isn't sure that she wants to go any farther than making out, especially since she isn't sure that she's a lesbian.
Astrid is a wonderful character with a powerful voice. She isn't just questioning her sexuality - she's a teenager; she's questioning a lot of things. She even finds comfort in her philosophy class. The title comes from her habit of lying behind her house, watching the planes go by. She sends out her love to the planes' passengers. Often the chapters end with a scene of someone on the plane feeling Astrid's love and gaining the courage to do something important for their life. These scenes can be heavy, but they're beautiful, and an excellent demonstration of King's inventive storytelling.
ASK THE PASSENGERS is a story full of love and King tells it with love. Astrid's story will appeal to a wide audience - you don't have to belong to the LGBT alphabet soup to find it compelling. (But young lesbians and bisexual girls will definitely enjoy the make-out scenes.) And I could just be saying that because I want everyone to read ASK THE PASSENGERS. But then again, I want everyone to read it because it's a great book.