::Post by Jackie Lindert::
*Standing, teary-eyed ovation* This is an amazing book. This is an important book.
If I am ever an English teacher, I will have my students read this book. As I sit here, I honestly don't believe my simple words can do A.S. King justice. But if I can get anyone, just one person, to pick this up after reading my review, I will be a happy girl. I would carry this book around with me all day, just to be close to it--but then my bag would be even heavier, and I just know I'd keep giving my copy to someone and having to buy another. I'm just too broke for that.
If you've seen Shrek (if you haven't, please go ahead and do that now), you'll understand when I say this book was an onion. All the layers! Ask The Passengers hits the nail on the head when depicting small-town life better than so many other books that give you the overdone, small town, big dreams scenario. It's the little things in this book that make it so real and so perfect.
My favorite part about this book was Astrid's family dynamic. Her oversensitive, reputation-obsessed mother, her job challenged father, and her athlete sister, and Astrid all trying to live as one unit. At first, when Astrid's secrets start becoming public, her family seems horrible. They are more concerned about how what's being said about Astrid will affect their lives instead of being there for their daughter/sister. I definitely related to this, coming from a town where everyone's families know each other. There are a lot of consequences to living in a small town. People think you're tame, but I bet city slicker teens would have cried their eyes out after a week at my high school.
I also just absolutely love the unique way Astrid looks at stereotypes, and what "fitting in" really means. Nobody fits into one of those predetermined boxes perfectly. What if the jock isn't dumb? What if the geek is coordinated and could school the jock at basketball? What if the plain jane girl likes other girls instead of the boy next door? There is just too much pressure to be a certain way once you develop a hint of a personality, but it's not natural and teens should want to break those molds to be whoever they are and feel good about themselves.
The last thing I want to gush about is the actual passengers in Ask the Passengers. Somehow, this author got me to cry after reading a couple paragraphs to a couple pages about characters not even related to the main story. They were just flying over Astrid's head from time to time. Seriously, these tiny stories within the book were incredibly powerful.
Read this book. This is one of the ones I've read this year that I would recommend to anyone without reservation. Read it, and love it like I did. You'll be so glad you did.