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Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
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Ask the Passengers (edition 2012)

by A.S. King

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3793428,461 (4)4
Member:sparklecookie
Title:Ask the Passengers
Authors:A.S. King
Info:Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2012), Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:girl, seventeen, love, lesbian, gay best friend, coming out, high school, bullying, parents, family, sister, philosophy

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Ask The Passengers by A.S. King

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Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
Astrid Jones is a keeper of secrets, and we all know that secrets are better when shared. But her mother is beyond pushy and favors her sister, and her father shows no interest in her, as he's more interested in the pot he smokes. Astrid knows, of all people, she can’t trust them with this. They've uprooted the family from New York City to a small town ironically named Unity Valley where people have a distrust of anything or anyone different. Living here is brutal – because everyone has an opinion about everyone else.

Like other A.S. King books (she's recently become one of my new favorite authors), there is a bit of magical realism as Astrid sends her love to the passengers in the planes flying overhead and has conversations with Socrates, whom she nicknames Frank.

This book shows how different we are in our minds from our outside appearances, how there is always so much more to other people’s lives than we can possibly know. The pressure to conform is HUGE, and Astrid is a strong character that shows how it’s possible to step away from the pressure and define ourselves by our own terms. It was so good, for so many reasons. ( )
  readerspeak | Dec 12, 2014 |
Linda's review on Three Good Rats

Astrid Jones lives in the small (and small-minded), stifling town of Unity Valley, PA, where her family moved from New York when Astrid and her sister Ellis were younger. Ellis does her best to fit in, but Astrid hasn't wanted or been able to do so; she's isolated in her own family, and even keeping a secret from her best friend, Christina. Astrid has begun falling in love with a co-worker, Dee; she isn't 100% sure she's gay, so she doesn't want to tell anyone else, even Christina (who is also gay, but closeted).

The magical element in the book - it's A.S. King, so of course there is one - is that Astrid sends all the extra love she isn't using to the passengers in the planes that fly over her house, and somehow, the passengers receive it: snippets of their stories are interspersed throughout the book.

Astrid's struggle with her own sexual identity and with broader issues of tolerance and acceptance are realistic. In her Humanities class at school, The Socrates Project helps her focus and think more deeply about these issues, including paradoxes such as "Motion is impossible," "Equality is obvious," and "Nobody's perfect." In order to make Socrates feel more familiar, she gives him a first name, Frank, and he pops up as an observer in difficult situations, a la Jiminy Cricket.

The Jones family's move from New York to Unity Valley remains unexplained, other than that Astrid's maternal grandmother's house came on the market, and her mother Claire was feeling sentimental about it. That doesn't seem like enough of a reason to move a whole family, though, especially as none of them seem happy there; Claire doesn't even seem to leave the house, though she's perpetually concerned about the family's reputation. She's cold to Astrid, contemptuous of her husband, and dotes (in a controlling way) on Ellis, who feels she has to be perfect. I wish the move had been better explained, so perhaps I could have some empathy for Claire, but as it is, she's pretty unsympathetic.

p. 204 I'm exhausted by them. I'm exhausted by me. I'm exhausted by having to be me, with them. ( )
  JennyArch | Nov 19, 2014 |
Astrid spends a lot of time sending love out into the world, specifically at people on the planes that fly overhead. She also spends a lot of time questioning who she is and who she wants to be. Her family is dysfunctional, her best friend is manipulative, and her maybe girlfriend is pressuring her. Astrid just needs to figure some things out, and she works on it over the course of this novel.
Astrid is a character to cheer for and who you wish you could encourage. Little episodes with the passengers to whom she is sending her love pepper the book meaningfully as well. ( )
  ewyatt | Sep 29, 2014 |
Absolutely loved this book an could not put it down. I literally read for about 7 hours straight, cover to cover. I love the metta that happens in this book when Astrid sends her love to the passengers as well as all of the theories that come up. I also feel that the writer definitely did a well written story of coming out as a teenager and what it means personally and in society. There should be more books with these lgbt themes and characters, and I hope to read more of A. S. King. ( )
  tielwingsmama | Sep 29, 2014 |
Absolutely loved this book an could not put it down. I literally read for about 7 hours straight, cover to cover. I love the metta that happens in this book when Astrid sends her love to the passengers as well as all of the theories that come up. I also feel that the writer definitely did a well written story of coming out as a teenager and what it means personally and in society. There should be more books with these lgbt themes and characters, and I hope to read more of A. S. King. ( )
  tielwingsmama | Sep 29, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
"Question everything."
- Euripides

"The only true wisdom is knowing that you know nothing."
-Socrates

"Know thyself."
Ancient Greek Aphorism
Dedication
First words
Every airplane, no matter how far it is up there, I send love to it.
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Book description
Astrid Jones, who realizes that she is a lesbian, deals with the gossip and rejection she faces by sending love up to the people on airplanes as they pass over her.
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"Astrid Jones copes with her small town's gossip and narrow-mindedness by staring at the sky and imagining that she's sending love to the passengers in the airplanes flying high over her backyard. Maybe they'll know what to do with it. Maybe it'll make them happy. Maybe they'll need it. Her mother doesn't want it, her father's always stoned, her perfect sister's too busy trying to fit in, and the people in her small town would never allow her to love the person she really wants to: another girl named Dee. There's no one Astrid feels she can talk to about this deep secret or the profound questions that she's trying to answer. But little does she know just how much sending her love--and asking the right questions--will affect the passengers' lives, and her own, for the better"--… (more)

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