Ask the Passengers (Hardcover)

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    Love is important to seventeen-year-old Astrid Jones. Perhaps that's because she doesn't get much of it at home, ever since her family moved to tiny, closed-minded Unity Valley. Her mother stopped caring about her as soon as Astrid stepped out of her mega-achieving shadow; her dad spends most of his time getting high; and her younger sister Ellis has turned into a mean stereotype of a small-town girl. To make up for her failing relationships with her family, Astrid spends much of her time lying on picnic tables and staring at airplanes, sending all of her love to their passengers- after all, they won't reject it. (She also has frequently-occuring imaginary conversations with Socrates, but that's another story). But there's another reason that love has been on Astrid's mind lately- Dee Roberts. Astrid is captivated by the beautiful, funny, and talented field hockey player, who seems to understand Astrid like no one ever has before. But if Dee is a lesbian, and Astrid is in love with her... well, that makes Astrid a lesbian as well, doesn't it? And in a town as judgemental and vicious as Unity Valley, how can Astrid ever open up enough to be herself, or fall in love?
    This is a beautiful, touching, and heartbreaking novel that will resonate deeply with anyone who has ever felt even a little bit like an outcast. Astrid is so real and compelling as a narrator that readers won't be able to help giving her all of the love that she deserves. Best for ages fourteen and up.

— Lily

Fall '12 Kids List

“This touching, challenging story about a small-town girl struggling to be honest with herself while she has to keep secrets from everyone around her is as finely wrought as any of King's previous award-winning novels.”
— Todd A. Dickinson, Aaron's Books, Lititz, PA


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.

In this truly original portrayal of a girl struggling to break free of society's definitions, Printz Honor author A.S. King asks readers to question everything--and offers hope to those who will never stop seeking real love.

About the Author

A.S. King is the author of the highly acclaimed Reality Boy; Ask the Passengers, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize winner; Everybody Sees the Ants; and the Edgar Award nominated, Michael L. Printz Honor book Please Ignore Vera Dietz. She is also the author of The Dust of 100 Dogs, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. When asked about her writing, King says, "Some people don't know if my characters are crazy or if they are experiencing something magical. I think that's an accurate description of how I feel every day." She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and children.

Praise For…

A 2012 Publishers Weekly Best YA Book
A 2012 School Library Journal Best Book
A 2012 Kirkus Reviews Best YA Book
A 2012 Library Journal Best YA for Adults Book
A 2012 BookPage Best Children's Book
A 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature Winner
A 2012 Los Angeles Public Library Best Teen Book
A 2012 Lambda Literary Award Finalist
A 2013 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Book
A 2013 Carolyn W. Field Award Winner
A 2013 Rainbow List Top Ten Book
A 2013 Capitol Choices Noteworthy Titles for Children and Teens Book
A 2013 Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices Book
A 2013 James Cook Teen Book Award Winner
A 2014 Tennessee Volunteer Book Award Nominee
A 2014 Texas Tayshas Reading List Top Ten Book
A 2014 Milwaukee County Teen Book Award Honor Book
A Junior Library Guild Selection
A 2014 Illinois Abraham Lincoln HS Book Award Winner
A 2014 Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award Winner
A 2014 Washington Evergreen YA Book Award Winner

* "Quite possibly the best teen novel featuring a girl questioning her sexuality written in years."
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* "Another thoughtful, and often breathtaking, achievement for King, whose star is ascending as quickly as one of Astrid's planes."—Booklist, starred review

* "At once much more than a coming out novel and one of the best coming-out novels in years.... Funny, provocative, and intelligent, King's story celebrates love in all of its messy, modern complexity."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

* "Will appeal to any mature teen resisting the pressure to conform or rebel [and] anyone who wants to define herself on her own terms."—School Library Journal, starred review

* "For kids struggling with their own truths, it can be hard to believe how much light there is once you come out of the cave. This is a book that knows and understands that, and it's one that readers will believe."—The Bulletin, starred review

* "A furiously smart and funny coming-out-and-of-age novel."—The Horn Book, starred review

"Astrid is a model of strength and compassion.... Good reading for everyone."—VOYA

"King has penned a work of realism that is magical in the telling."—Cooperative Children's Book Center
Product Details
ISBN: 9780316194686
ISBN-10: 0316194689
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 23rd, 2012
Pages: 304
Language: English

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