Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
Published: October 23, 2012
Publisher: 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.
My ThoughtsVery unique story that was shared with a sense of levity by an immediately likeable character. It was because of the smooth, funny, thoughtful narrative that allowed me to enjoy this novel about a very serious subject.
Astrid Jones is from a small town called Unity Valley. We meet her at a time when she’s struggling to understand her sexual orientation and how and when she wants to make it public to family and friends. She can’t quite open up to her mother, which she finds hard to connect with or her oblivious father, so she spends her time in the yard staring up at the sky and sending her love to the passengers flying above. She shares her feelings with strangers because it’s safe and easy. However, one night when she gets caught with her girlfriend and everything comes tumbling around her, friends and family seem to disappoint her, so she resorts back to passengers in the sky.
I REALLY liked Astrid! She kept me busy with her insightful ramblings and philosophical debates. She carried on internal monologues with the passengers in the sky, Frank Socrates, herself, her brain people… just about everyone. Through her musings, I came to understand her frustrations and worries.
Throughout the story, I wanted to yell at everyone around her to just shut up and let Astrid breathe! This poor girl was trying to figure herself out, and I felt like her parents, friends and girlfriend were pushing her to admit and make decisions she just wasn’t ready to make. To top it off, she was betrayed by her best friend at the most difficult times, so I felt frustrated for the main character. I wanted them all to cut her break and let her think and breathe.
Overall, Ask the Passengers is a breath of fresh air that grapples with a very real and serious subject in a manner that was relatable and worthy of applause. Well done!