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 30,000 feet, and they don't even realize 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.
©2012 A. S. King; ©2012 Listening Library
A.S. King has an amazing ability of creating characters of depth and complexity that we can understand and empathize with while placing them in heart rendering situations that are soul deep. She has done her finest work with ASK THE PASSENGERS by showcasing a teenaged girl named Astrid Jones, a girl that is trying cope with the fact that her family is totally dysfunctional, that she might be gay and why she has to keep sending love to all the passengers on the planes that fly overhead.
EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS because it is another well written novel by the same author
When Astrid finally looses it.
Yes, once I started I did not want to stop.
The reader for this novel did a fine job of conveying all the emotions that were conveyed in the book. She also sounded like a teen and not an older person trying too hard to sound like one. It was well done and I truly enjoyed this audiobook.
There was so much I liked about Ask the Passengers--it was so close to getting 5 stars. It's not ground breaking in any way but it is a really enjoyable book that has some great characters, writing, and storytelling.
My biggest complaint is actually the idea of her sending love to the passengers. I felt the little afterthoughts/snippets/side-notes that appeared about specific passengers periodically really detracted from an otherwise rich narrative. I felt like these pieces (and most of the bits about the planes in general) were forced and gimmicky--and actually took away from the rest of the story. The story would have held together (and for me would have been better) without this side interest. Though minor points are added in for the final passenger sort of pulling it all together. I felt like the Socrates and Allegory of the Cave was enough of a shadow throughout the book that there didn't need to be another "side note" throughout the book (I also felt the Socrates thread worked better and didn't detract from the story like the passengers did).
One of the things I did enjoy was that while Astrid's family was surely dysfunctional (a pot-head dad, a mom too worried about how she/the family is perceived, and a sister who struggled with her own challenges and turned into a bit of a jerk at times), it's not the typical horribly tragic home life or back story that often accompany YA novels (or often YA LGBTQ novels). Though some of these interactions bordered on the unrealistic to me, it was overall well done.
I really struggled with Astrid's very quick forgiveness of some characters (being vague to avoid spoilers) after some serious betrayals. It just seemed, given the infractions, that realistically it would have taken more time to forgive and move on (though I don't find it unreasonable for her to forgive the person, just the ease at which it happens).
There was a lot to like about Astrid herself and a lot to relate to (whether someone is straight, LGBTQ, or somewhere in between)--she wanted to do things on her own terms, she advocated for herself when she felt things going too quickly with Dee, it felt like she had a good head on her shoulders (even if she didn't always listen to her instincts), she sometimes struggled trying to figure things out, and makes some pretty profound statements throughout the book. So much to relate to!
I think Astrid's process of discovering who she is and her frustrations with labels and boxes is absolutely relatable to many people. She doesn't want to be pigeonholed--especially because she's just starting discover her sexuality and is not sure what she is. Yes, she has fallen in love with a girl--but does that mean she would fall in love with another girl?
I will say that I would have like to have seen a little more depth to the relationship between Dee and Astrid. There were moments, that I didn't really understand why they were even together--thee just didn't seem to be a ton of depth to their relationship. I wanted to explore a bit more of their friendship and bond--what were the things they liked to do together outside of work, what made them want to be together other than convenience? Though I do appreciate the fact that they actually talk about having sex, what it means, and decide whether they are ready.
Overall, I think this book is absolutely worth the read!
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