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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Review: Ask the Passengers


Title: Ask The Passengers
Author: A.S. King
Format: Hardcover, 296 pages
Pub. Date: October 23rd 2012
Source: Christi the Teen Librarian blog

★★★★★

Five Incredible Stars.

Astrid's world hasn't quite been the same since her mother forced them to move from the big city to a small town where everyone knows everyone else's business- but do they really? Best friends with a deceptively perfect girl, Astrid is forced to keep a secret that would ruin her friend's reputation... But know one knows that she's facing a similar struggle about her identity. She contemplates what love is, and if one can be open about who they truly love in a judgemental town like hers as she looks up at the sky, asking the passengers on planes if they can feel loved too.

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Wow. I finished this book a few days ago, and I just needed to take the time to process the story that I had just finished, and that I was not entirely mentally prepared for. This book takes a stunning, and more importantly real, look at the struggles that teens have with sexual identity and acceptance.

I've made it no secret that I'm a member of the LGBT community, and so this book struck an all too familiar tone with me. For example, Astrid's almost-girlfriend is out of the closet, and Astrid isn't even sure if she's a lesbian, let alone out of the closet. This was how it was for me and my girlfriend too. She's been openly out to her family and the world since she was about thirteen years old (give or take) and I only recently came out at the ripe old age of 20. We had a few bickering moments, like Dee and Astrid, about how "everyone already knows, just come out already." But it's not that easy, I can tell you that first hand. It's different to "know" and to know. And just because your mom watches shows with gay people on them or doesn't actively picket Westboro style doesn't mean that she wants a lesbian as a daughter. The comparisons to my own life continued when Astrid answered her parents' question of "So are you gay?" with "I don't know." Because you don't always know. It is a terrible, frightening battle that most of us struggle with alone. I know I did. I am bisexual, and for a very long time I hated, and was disgusted, by myself.

I'm seeing a lot of reviews that say the resolutions between Astrid and her suddenly-love-her-again family is unrealistic. And maybe, for some people, it is. But not everyone holds on to hate, and not everyone gets disowned for loving someone of the same gender. My mom was upset at first, and got over it. My dad calls gay people horrible names, but when I came out there was just a few angry swears and he moved past it. And the end of the day, your family is your family, and you want to love and be loved by them. For me personally, this was summed up perfectly.

The amount of drama, romance, and heartbreak in this book is amazing. I never really knew what was going to happen next, and I felt SO HARD for Astrid. I hated certain characters to the point that Emily was getting angry texts of profanity in the middle of the night because I couldn't get over it. I loved characters to the point of crying. I'm not going to give away the ending, but I cried. And I cried hard. Kind of awkwardly cradling my copy of the book and staring into nothing for a bit. It was messy.

For awhile, I didn't much enjoy the excerpts from the passengers on the plane that Astrid connects to to relax and mentally decompress from her life's woes. I thought they'd hinder my reading experience overall- and then the end happened. The unexpected, cry-worthy, take-my-five-stars ending, and I suddenly understood what the author was going for. I got it. It's hard to describe it beyond that- I just got it. I rarely connect to books like this, and I am so glad I've gotten the chance to read it.

This book contains same sex relationships and themes, so if that bothers you, this isn't the book for you. However, if you're a member of the LGBT community, love contemporary YA, or just want a unique way of hearing a story, than I would definitely, definitely give Ask the Passengers a read. Thank you SO MUCH to Christi the Teen Librarian blog for sending me a copy.

4 comments:

  1. This book sounds like one that I NEED to have, especially after all the texts I've gotten about it throughout your reading process. This is a wonderful review!

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    1. You should definitely check it out.

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  2. I've had this on my TBR for a while but haven't gotten around to reading it! Anyway stopping by to say hi and that I've nominated you for the Liebster award! Check out my post for info.. http://www.lipsticklesbianreviews.com/2014/01/liebster-award.html

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    1. Thanks so much for the nomination, I'll definitely have to post this :)

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