Saturday, September 8, 2012

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

Astrid Jones' feels like life is beyond her control.  Her mother somehow manages to be both distant and wildly overbearing, her father deals with his unhappiness by disappearing into a bong, and her love life?  Let's just say it's complicated.  Astrid is falling in love for the first time, but she's keeping it a secret, primarily because the person she's falling in love with is a girl.  Astrid doesn't know for sure what that means -- is she gay?  is she just experimenting? -- but she knows she'd like the freedom to figure it out, without having to fit into one of the many boxes everyone in her life keeps trying to force her into.

I thought this was a wonderful book, perfect for teens (gay, straight, or questioning) who are struggling to figure out who they are in the midst of an onslaught of societal pressures.  A.S. King does a great job of making Astrid's sexuality a part of the complexities of her character without using it as a defining characteristic, something that I think is important to the novel's message.  A secondary storyline in which Astrid sends love up to passengers flying overhead in airplanes (yes, it is as random as it sounds) is the book's sole weakness for me.

Ask the Passengers is available in October, 2012.

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