Ask the Passengers
By: A.S. King
Synopsis: Astrid Jones is a high school senior in Unity Valley, Pennsylvania, a small and close-minded town that is leaving her feeling more alone everyday. Between her high-strung, New York loving mother, her quiet and reserved pot-smoking father, and her sister who does not want to spend any time with Astrid, she spend much of her time instead laying in her backyard and talking to the passengers of the planes that fly overhead. When Astrid's secret relationship with a girl at work begins to become more serious, she is faced with even deeper loneliness and confusion. Unable to turn to her family and friends to help her figure out questions of her sexuality and identity, she again turns instead to the airplane passengers to ask these important life questions. However, when Astrid's secret is revealed and her life is flipped upside down, suddenly she must face the people in her life rather than the ones in the sky. But will they understand her and accept her? King uses a familiar YA plot line to open up difficult discussions on identity, sexuality, and questioning. Her use of magical realism and interesting characters help further differentiate this novel from other YA novels.
Pace: This novel, as per usual for young adult novels, is fast-paced. The action stays moving and new events keep happening throughout the novel.
Young Characters: The young characters in this novel are likable and relatable for young people. All of the characters have flaws and strong points that are both highlighted. The characters struggle with real issues that other teenagers likely face such as bullying, acceptance, and figuring out your own identity and beliefs. There is also a lot of family drama and navigating family relationships throughout the novel.
Character-driven storyline: The story is very character driven with the plot being born out of the characters in the story and their inner conflicts.
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