Ask The Passengers by A.S. King Book Review

I am sure you know the feeling of trepidation when trying out an author all of your friends rave about for the first time. Y’all, I was nervous going into Ask The Passengers by A.S. King. What if I just didn’t get it? What if I’m the odd one out when it comes to books by A.S. King and I just don’t click with it? Seriously, reading books by new to you authors can be kind of a risk. Fortunately, I ended up head over heels for Ask The Passengers and am eager to pick up more books by A.S. King.

Ask The Passengers AS King Book Cover

Astrid Jones has a secret. She’s got no one to confide in though. You see, her mom is image obsessed. Her dad is off in la-la land smoking pot. Her sister is a bit too focused on field hockey and being popular. So instead, Astrid keeps her thoughts and feelings bottled up, choosing instead to send up her love to airplanes passing overhead. Astrid’s big secret? She’s a Questioning teen with a girlfriend. However, she’s kind of scared to come out because she doesn’t exactly KNOW if she’s gay or not. Astrid also does not want to be pushed into action. She’d rather take her time to figure things out on her own. And so Ask The Passengers by AS King revolves around Astrid coming into her own and figuring out her sexuality in her own time.

YOU GUYS, empathy out the ears over here. Seriously, I felt for Astrid. I have never been in her position, but I could not help FEELING ALL OF THE THINGS from sad, to righteous indignation, to understanding, and finally, hopeful. As a person, I could relate to Astrid in that she’s kind of quiet and fades into the background. She’s a bit of a passive participant in high school life. As hard as it is to believe, I was kind of quiet and shy and not very confident back in the day. Obviously, I’ve changed a lot and I saw a spark of a change in Astrid. We see her going to really giving a crap about what everyone thinks about her, to realizing there are bigger things in life than her classmates’ opinions. Plus, she’s smart and bookish, how could I NOT like that in a character?

What I especially liked about Ask The Passengers was that it explored a part of the GLBTQ spectrum that I don’t often see in YA, the questioning part. Yes, Astrid DOES make an ultimate discovery about her sexuality. I feel like with most of the YA I read though, the character already knows whether they are gay or straight and it’s just a matter of coming out. With this book though, I felt like Astrid really took her time to discover what box she supposedly fits in, and she takes awhile fighting labels and boxes which is kind of awesome. To me, the questioning parts made Ask The Passengers unique, because truthfully not everyone knows whether they are gay or straight or bisexual.

I also found myself a HUGE fan of AS King’s smart writing style. I was kind of nervous going in because I had heard her books were kind of literary, and so I was like um, am I smart enough to read these? BUT YOU GUYS I SHOULD HAVE SELF CONFIDENCE ALWAYS. Seriously, it’s stupid to be scared of a little challenge or to think you aren’t smart enough to try something. And, yo, while there were lots of philosophical references, especially to Socrates, or as Astrid dubs him, Frank Socrates, I handled it like a champ thanks to my COLLEGE EDUCATION. Who knew that bachelor’s would be useful for something. What I LOVE LOVE LOVE about Ask The Passengers were all the references to the allegory of the cave which is a part of The Republic by Plato and something I studied in depth in college. And I just thought the Cave was perfectly woven in with Astrid’s story. Like you guys, what I read was ART. Seriously, I am so impressed and amazed and I wanted to shout it from the rooftops but then was like no, people will think I’m weird.

You would think with all the philosophy that Ask The Passengers would be a slow read but you, my friend, would be wrong. Seriously. This book FLYS by. Like I started reading it while on the exercise bike, as I do with all my Netgalley reads, and then I looked up and was 30% of the way in. Then, instead of setting it down for the next time to read, I ended up picking it up to continue and just whipped through it, devoring the gorgeous writing and not once stopping because I had no idea what was going on or had to puzzle things out.

If you’ve never read a book by AS King before, STOP BEING NERVOUS. Jump on that horse right this second because chances are you will be just like me and be all OMG I WAS MISSING OUT WHY DIDN’T YOU GUYS PUSH THIS HARDER?! Seriously, Ask The Passengers was an utterly BRILLIANT book that was deep and emotional and beautifully written that absolutely resonated with me.

Disclosure: Received for review via Netgalley

Other reviews of Ask The Passengers by AS King:

The Readventurer – “I wish she would stretch her wings of creativity and write about something… fresher.

Stacked – “A. S. King gets better with each book.

A Reader Of Fictions – “Okay, it’s official. I think A.S. King is one of the very best YA writers out there

About April (Books&Wine)

April is 28 years old and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. In her free time she can be found reading, working out, or eating junk food. She often wears her sunglasses at night.

Comments

  1. yay, I have this book checked out from the library right now and I’m excited to read it! I love smart writing styles and I think I’ll like Astrid. 🙂

  2. Wow, this certainly sounds like a powerful book! I think I’m definitely going to have to check this one out, especially because I feel like I’m going to be able to enjoy the way this one is written. Glad you enjoyed it!

    • Alexa, Ask The Passengers is incredibly powerful. I didn’t even mention the bits where we see the perspectives of various passengers on planes flying overhead, but it’s gorgeous, the way it is interwoven.

  3. Ahh still need to read this one! I LOVED LOVED LOVED Please Ignore Vera Dietz so I’m super stoked to get my hands on this one!

    • I think I might pick up a copy of Please Ignore Vera Dietz tomorrow if the store has it. Seriously, I am LOVING AS King’s writing and want to check out more of this.

      I’m also positive Ask The Passengers is a Jamie sort of book.

  4. Yes it is pretty rare to see the questioning bit as far as GBLT come to think of it. Not many authors portray the actual struggle that must come with the realization and owning it. Hmm… that alone might be incentive enough to give this bad boy (or should I say girl) a whirl…

    • Hah, yeah I feel like I never read about the QUESTIONING portion of the GLBTQ spectrum and that sucks because I am sure many teens out there are questioning and I think that books can provide much needed understanding and empathy, ya know?

      You should definitely read this, Asher!

  5. I am so very intrigued by this book. Magan read it, and I know she didn’t have a strong connection to it but then I keep seeing some amazing reviews and… hmm. I’m going to have to check it out.

    Speaking of questioning sexuality, have you read Kiss the Moonlight Star? I just finished it a few weeks ago and it does a really good job of doing that while questioning other things too. GREAT WRITING. Did you ever read Madeleine George’s book?

    • I think that maybe everyone reacts differently to books based on their backgrounds and stuff. Like, for me, I read The Republic by Plato in college and had sort of a bond with the book over that, as weird as it sounds. But yeah, I mean it’s worth checking out because it might be right up your alley.

      I have not read Kiss The Moonlight Star, but I am willing to add it to my TBR.

      And sighhhhhhh, I did not ever read Madeleine George’s book because it was due and my TBR pile was huge and so I just never got to it.

  6. OMG YOU MUST READ ALL HER BOOKS, APRIL! Seriously, A.S. King is a top 5 favorite author for me. Please Ignore Vera Dietz is one of the best books I have ever read. EVER! I loved this one too. It was so emotional. I wanted to murder her parents.

    • Wow, top 5? THAT is a HUGE deal. I do plan on reading and purchasing the rest of her books. I’ll be on the look out for Vera Dietz when I go to the bookstore tomorrow.

      Oh man, the parents in this book made me so angry. Like, they were such hypocrites, I could not stand it.

  7. You have totally sold me! I was already eager to pick up a book by A.S. King but now I’m gonna jump on the horse and hopefully sooner rather than later. I am so so glad you loved this as much as you did and I only hope I enjoy it nearly as much as you.

    Amazing review!

  8. April, I HIGHLY recommend the audiobook of Please Ignore Vera Dietz…. SO GREAT! But you also need to see a physical copy of the book because there are like FLOW CHARTS and other awesomeness! LOVE A.S. King!!!!!

  9. You have me convinced! I’ve read one of her books, have another – now I’ve got to get my hands on this one. Thanks for the review!

  10. I’m really excited to read this book! Although I’ve heard differing opinions about the subject matter, the overall vibe seems positive. And I’m like you in that I’ve never read a book dealing with questioning sexuality – the characters I’ve read all seem to already know.

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  1. […] Sees The Ants by AS King – After reading Ask The Passengers, I was 100% sure I need to read the rest of AS King’s […]

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