Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 10/23/12
Source: Received from publisher for review.
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.Insightful and inspiring, Ask the Passengers will challenge your thoughts on identity, boundaries, love, and acceptance.
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.
High school senior Astrid Jones may be in love. With another girl. Is she gay? That's what her family, her friends, the town, her girlfriend think. But Astrid doesn't want to be defined. She wants an existence and freedom that doesn't exist within the labels that appease society. So Astrid refuses to answer the questions, refuses to be put in a box.
Ask the Passengers was such a quietly spectacular story. The author, through her character's observations on the people and ideas that define her town and her family, offered many insights into what society expects and believes about sexuality. Astrid's ongoing quest for knowledge, self-reflection, and truth offered a clever way of exploring, enlightening, and engaging that felt natural, not preachy.
Books like Ask the Passengers offer teens a chance to explore and find an identity among the characters, and for that reason, they are more important than we can ever know. But, I think these books can teach adults, particularly parents, as well. As a parent of young children, I have learned many lessons from the parents in these books. Sometimes the lesson is what to do for my kids; often times, as in the case of this book, it's what not to do. But I always take away the most important lesson: Listen. Be there. And let your child no that you love them and always have their back.
Ask the Passengers is such an important book for all to read. Whether you identify with the main character or not, the story teaches invaluable lesson on identity, kindness, and love. The world needs more of that.
"When I see the first plane, I make a deal with its passengers. I say: Look, this is a loan. I don't know if love is something I will run out of one day. I don't know if I should be giving it all to you guys or not. Today, I feel like maybe I should have kept some for myself for days when no one else love me. Not even my best friend." (pg. 214)
"When I told you I didn't know if I was gay, I was telling you the truth. I just know I'm in love - with a girl. I had no idea of anything past that. It's very Socrates, you know? I'm not questioning my sexuality as much as I'm questioning the strict definitions and boxes of all sexualities and why we care so much about other people's intimate business. " (pg. 256)
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