Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
I love the lens flare, and the pose is thematic and intriguing.
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 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.
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 question everything–and offers hope to those who will never stop seeking real love.
Astrid’s story is often sad and disheartening, but it’s definitely worth reading.
LGBTQ! As is probably obvious from the jacket copy, Astrid’s story is pretty much just about her questioning of her sexual identity. Fortunately, King’s writing is good enough to make this palatable, even though it’s basically An Issue Book (and she doesn’t tie everything up in an unrealistically neat bow at the end).
Astrid’s family isn’t abusive or even mean, exactly. It’s just that none of them know each other very well–mainly from neglect. They’re just very distant from each other, all of them.
Secrets! So many, many secrets! Obviously, Astrid has her own to keep, but she also holds, at various times, the secrets of her best friends, her father, her sister, and her crush. And although secrets CAN be fun, most of these secrets would be better told, even if they are not all hers to tell.
This is most emphatically Not My Kind of Book. It’s a contemporary realistic, it’s An Issue Book, and so I shouldn’t have even picked it up. However, it was assigned for my book club (although I never made it to that meeting), and it did come highly recommended, so I made the effort and read it. It was so good, you guys. King’s writing is so good that I barely noticed The Issue-ness of it while I was reading. Highly recommended to everyone.
Borrowed, because I am poor and live in a small apartment.