17333253Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
Release Date: October 23, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: ALA2014
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

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 questioneverything–and offers hope to those who will never stop seeking real love.

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 she imagines flying over her 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.– Goodreads

Review:

A.S. King knows how to back a punch, which she does in Ask the Passengers. Astrid, lives in a small town and she doesn’t fit in. Astrid has fallen in love with a girl, Dee. This is nothing to be ashamed of; however, Astrid isn’t even sure she wants to be a lesbian, or in love with a girl. Not because it’s a bad thing, but because she lives in a small town, where rumors run rampant and the last thing she wants is the small town to talk more about her.

When it comes out that Astrid is dating Dee, Astrid’s BFF Kristina is heartbroken that Astrid wouldn’t tell her. It is never that Astrid doesn’t trust Kristina, it is that she doesn’t trust her small, judging town where you tell one person a secret and it hits three different high schools by dinner. What drives this novel is King’s ability to write true emotions. True, realistic emotions that stay with you for quite sometime, even if they are heartbreaking. Astrid’s family bothered me far more than I thought they would throughout this novel, because they are so worried about themselves, that Astrid gets lost in the shuffle.

To get away from this world, Astrid lays on her picnic table, away from her mother and her pushiness, her father’s lack of caring, and her sister’s problems. Astrid feels she has no one and to deal with this she sends love when she sees planes fly above her and she asks them her biggest questions. Like…is it okay to fall in love with a girl? Does everyone lie to their parents? Their best friends?

What King does is weave in the stories of the passengers on the plane and Astrid. Not all of the passengers interested me, but there were some I wanted to know more about. Or I wanted to hug them and tell them that everything will be okay. Even though it may not be okay. Astrid is over being controlled and finally she explodes at Dee and ask “If you love me, shouldn’t you be patient with me.” But it’s not just directed at Dee, it’s directed at everyone in her life. Her mom, her best friend, her sister, her teachers..herself.

Astrid really wants everything to stay the same, comfortable; even though she is not even close to comfortable. What she really wants to is leave this small town, and go to where she is welcomed. The problem is, Astrid won’t be comfortable until she accepts herself, something she works on throughout Ask the Passengers. During a class Astrid has, in which the teacher calls them the smartest and the brightest, they are three votes short of marriage equality and her best friend has lied to everyone and left her alone. To say Astrid is having problems loving and accepting herself, is the last thing

While I enjoyed Ask the Passengers, I did have one fairly big problem with the novel. My one big problem in this novel was Dee, oh Dee. I’m sure you’re a good person and Astrid sees you as this good person. But Astrid is good at saying no, and you’re good at telling her she means yes. That is no bueno. I would have enjoyed King to flesh that part out more. Is Dee the good person Astrid believes she is, or is she the person I believe Dee is?