By A.S. King
Source: The Library
Summary: 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.
Review: Ask the Passengers is the second A.S. King book I've read, the first being Please Ignore Vera Dietz. I found Vera to be ultimately forgettable, but Ask the Passengers is the opposite; a book that will stick with me for a long time.
Astrid is the definition of "questioning." She doesn't know if she's gay or straight or bi, she just knows that she is falling in love with a girl, and that girl might just love her back. Astrid feels like an outsider in her town, as well as in her own family. Though her friends would understand, she hasn't told them about her girlfriend, Dee. Her confusion over her sexuality is what pushes the book forward and lets the reader care about Astrid. It was compelling to read about her journey to figuring out who she is.
I enjoy that Astrid's friends are gay, yet she still doesn't feel she can tell them about her feelings for Dee. It shows how Astrid isn't only afraid of the negative reactions some people would have if she came out, she really isn't sure of her sexuality.
The characters, or rather, the way Astrid views the other characters, are what drive this book. Astrid sees her mother as a tyrant who favors her sister to the point of not loving Astrid, her father as a useless pothead, her sister as brainwashed by her mother, and her friends as the ideal for having it all figured out. All of the characters, even the ones Astrid imagines, play a part in Astrid's character development. It was delightful to see the changes in Astrid happen as I was reading.
The most unique part of this book is Astrid's relationship with the passengers on the planes she watches fly overhead. I've never read anything quite like it, and I enjoyed the way it kept things interesting. I wish there had been more of this, because it was one of my favorite parts of the book.
This book was very enjoyable. The characters were interesting and Astrid's development was flawless. I would definitely recommend this book. I will be keeping an eye out for what's next from King, and see if I can get my hands on her previous books.