My Thoughts on A.S. King, Ask the Passengers

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This is the first A.S. King book that I have read, although I saw her speak at the wonderful Changing Hands bookstore in Phoenix, and I immediately know that I would have to pick up her books.  I have not been in the mood for YA lit for several months, but decided that this would be my read for Dewey's 24 hour read-a-thon earlier this month, and it ended up being the one book that I finished that day.

Ask the Passengers is A.S. King's third novel for young adults, and it tells the story of a young girl, Astrid Jones, who feels trapped by the rigidity of her family and her outwardly perfect hometown as she struggles with deciding whether or not to tell them about her recent exploration of different aspects of her sexuality.  Astrid is in her first relationship with a girl, although she refuses to define herself forever and always as a lesbian.  Astrid's mother and sister, she knows, won't understand her position, and won't accept her for who she is.  So she, along with some of her friends who are also hiding things, escape to a gay club for teens just outside the bounds of her town.  They can't hide forever though, and eventually Astrid has to confront the problems with her family that have nothing to do with her sexuality.

King's writing is truthful and empathetic, and shares commonalities with John Green without making her characters quite so precocious. But she is sensitive to the struggles of teenagehood, and of personhood, in a similar vein. This book really deals with something so fundamental- our tendency to define, and our knowledge that we are beyond those definitions- with such humor and even a little magical realism (which I usually don't like, but it worked here). I would have loved to read her as a young person, perhaps for different reasons than I enjoyed it so much now.  I know I will be reading her again.

Title:Ask The Passengers
Author: A.S. King
Publisher: Little, Brown
Date: 2012
 Genre:Contemporary Young Adult

293 pages.
Where I got it: Bought it


  1. I loved Ask the Passengers because King tackles a difficult subject, with sensitivities and honesty. Her latest book, Reality Boy, is on Netgalley, which I'm excited to read.


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