09 May 2013

Review: Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

Published: 23 October 2010 by Little, Brown

Pages: 296 (hardcover)

Genre/s: YA, Contemporary, GLBT

Source: Own library


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.

My Thoughts

I've heard so many awesome things about A.S. King that I had a lot of trouble picking which of her books I wanted to read first, but there was something about the synopsis that kept drawing me back to Ask the Passengers.  And I can say that I definitely wasn't disappointed with my choice.

Astrid is a character that I immediately felt a connection to - she's not popular and is slightly awkward, and although she is quite indecisive about what she exactly wants out of life, she's comfortable in her own skin and embraces her own quirks.  She loves philosophy and uses it in her day-to-day life, she loves making birdhouses with her father and helps her best friend to conceal a huge secret, all without making a big deal or complaining.  And I totally loved that.

But most of all I loved her habit of talking to airplane passengers and sending them her love, which A.S. King enriched by adding in snippets of the lives of random airplane passengers and tying Astrid's questions that she throws up into the sky into their lives.   It was extremely clever and also something that I didn't expect but enjoyed hugely.

Ask the Passengers has a strong focus on the relationship between Astrid and her parents and younger sister which I absolutely loved - her parents are less than perfect and are struggling with both their own problems as well as Astrid's struggles to understand herself, and even though they had their flaws, I loved that they were written in a way that still evoked my sympathy for them.

A.S. King's writing is not overly complicated, and in fact it's quite simplistic which fits the plot and characters perfectly - anything wordy or flowery would have only covered up Astrid's personality and the simplism allows the fantastic characterisation to shine through.

I loved this book and I was so caught up in Astrid's story, and just wanting everything to turn out the best for her  - it's definitely one of my favourite contemporaries so far in 2013 and it's going to take an amazing book to topple it off that shelf.


  1. I've heard great things about this author, as well, and this particular book. I will one day read it. :)

    1. And I also meant to say that I'm intrigued about the question piece. Sounds interesting!

    2. I think you'd love this as much as I did - everything worked together so well!

  2. While I'm not sure it's something I'd read it doesn't sound like a very sweet coming of age type tale.

    1. Ah sweet isn't a word I'd use, no ;) But it's wonderful, I can't imagine anyone not at least liking this one.

  3. I really need to read something by A.S King, because I've heard great things about her work. I'll probably be picking up this one soon, because it sounds like the kind of book I'd really enjoy!

    1. I haven't read any others to compare :) but I can highly recommend this one!

  4. This book sort of reminds me of something that David Levithan might write. I definitely dig the unique way that Astrid deals with her issues. Kudos for originality! And I'm so glad to hear that the book is unfussy, simplistic and full of heart --- that's the type of story I'm yearning to read!



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