Latisha Saunders English 2.9

Ask the passengers A.S King

I enjoyed this book, I believe the focus and message that A.S King was trying to give was mainly for kids struggling with their own truths it can be hard to believe how much light there is once you come out of the tunnel. This is a book that shows us how to understand that, and it’s one that the young readers will definitely believe after reading this novel.

The main character in this American novel is a  young girl named Astrid Jones, a pretty normal teen a philosophy-loving, editing and book lover and part-time waiter with her local caterer and amongst that she is also a high school student at a small high school in an American town. Very early on in the novel, I learned that two of Astrid’s best friends who are on their way to being the next homecoming king and queen are having Astrid keep a very important secret for them. They are gay. Her best friends aren’t dating Justin and Kristina are both gay and are using each other as a cover up as they are both afraid to come out in the small town and in high school. For fear of being judged and singled out as different or weird.

Astrid is in a dysfunctional family with a  mother that is a workaholic, a stepfather that can’t really hold down a job long enough so he deals with his stress in a quite unhealthy way I find out, that leads him to be pretty zoned out most of the time, Astrid is fully aware of it tho. Astrid’s little sister that is fitting in quite well in the small town in America, but Astrid and her do not talk much. Astrid, on the other hand, doesn’t feel like she’s fitting in this small town much at all. When she was nine years old her family picked up from the big hustling New York City to the small town they are in now. All the while Astrid is dealing with typical teenage dramas and even questioning her own sexuality and perhaps even in a secret relationship, with a girl named Dee, Dee works with her in the same catering business in the local area. But Astrid isn’t sure that she wants to go any further than making out with Dee, especially since she isn’t actually certain that she’s a lesbian or not.

My favorite part about Astrid is that she is a powerful character with a powerful voice throughout this book, also I love how she is in her spare time, in order to deal with this all of these things. Astrid enjoys laying in her backyard and watching airplanes go by. She does this so she can send all of the love she can master up to these passengers on the plane, often asking questions and advice from these people as well in the plane. And that leads me to my favorite part of this book. And it is this mild form of realism that is given in this novel from A.S King we get snippets from the passengers that receive the love that Astrid sends this often happens when closing the chapter of which is a clever way of text. In some ways the passengers are affected or as if they hear the questions that Astrid is asking them while above her.

Another really great thing about this novel is the way A.S King dealt with all the LGBT issues. I feel like a lot of people make stories more about the issues than the people themselves. And this is not A.S King did at all. I really enjoyed getting to know about Astrid in this story but there was a quote from A.S King that caught my attention when asked about the characters she puts in her books.A.S King said: “Some people don’t know if my characters are crazy or if they are experiencing something magical.“ And with having heard that bit of information from the author when reading this book and the characters within it really added to the experience within reading it.

I thought it was a great novel to go through I did find that with the small town stereotypes throughout were not exaggerated to make the story better. I liked how real this book was. I related to this style of text the author used, Perhaps it’s my experiences with small towns myself and has been unfortunate to experience the same brainwashing that happens in that kind of small town. One thing I disliked in the text was the novel finished in a tidy and neat way, I felt that it could have ended in a way there was more of a cliffhanger moment. I also felt that as Astrid did have her and her family had problems they were still very surface level problems, by that I mean like very first world daily problems, family problems.

For what this novel was my opinion it was very enjoyable. I enjoyed the style A.S King used throughout, I feel like this author is one of the most engaging and innovative writers I’ve read. “Ask the passengers” is a wonderful novel. I think it should be required in reading in all high schools. The story taught me invaluable lessons on identity, kindness, and love. I believe the world needs more of that.  Astrid’s search for answers reminded me of how important it is to ask questions in this world, without asking you are left contradicting and questioning things you and people are doing without finding a solution to fix it.

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