Saturday, May 10, 2014

Ask the Passengers Review

Ask the Passengers

Book talk:  Have you ever felt trapped by love?  Because you worried that it wasn't reciprocated or appreciated or because you couldn't control it.  Astrid used to, until she started giving it all away.  It all started with airplanes.  She would send her love to every passing airplane: an outpouring without expecting anything back.  Then she started doing it all the time, with every person she met.  She thought that if she gave all her love away, no one person could control it and she would be free.  But when she falls in love with a cute girl from work, her relationships with everyone in her life will be tested.

Rocks my socks:  This novel tackles a lot of complex issues.  It naturally deals with identity and acceptance as Astrid struggles with what falling in love with Dee means and as she deals with the repercussions of sharing her feelings with her friends, family, and the larger community.  It also talks a lot about consent as Dee pressures Astrid to take the relationship faster than she wants.  I haven't read many YA novels that talk this explicitly about consent and the fact that not saying "no" isn't the same as saying "yes."  I think it's an important topic to talk about, so I'm glad King dives in. I also love that Astrid looks to an imaginary Socrates for advice.  The class project they have where they have to create their own paradox to argue and dress up like a Greek philosopher for the day sounds amazing!  Her parents certainly aren't role models but their faults are portrayed in a complex and realistic fashion. There's a lot of ambiguity with all of the characters as they make good and bad decisions.

Rocks in my socks:  I love the concept of Astrid sending her love up to the passengers on passing planes, but I wish King hadn't included the vignettes with the passenger stories. They are so short and they bring up a lot of meaty issues that really deserve more context.  Additionally, I don't like the supernatural element added by the passengers physically feeling this mysterious burst of love from Astrid.

Every book its reader:  
I'd give this to students 8th grade and up looking for a character-driven school story.


A.S. King has a website

Source: school library

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King: buy it or check it out today!

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