What I read:
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.
What I envy:
“Every airplane, no matter how far it is up there, I send my love to it. I picture the people in their seats with their plastic cups of soda or orange juice or scotch, and I love them. I really love them. I send a steady stream of it—love—from me to them. From my chest to their chests. From my brain to their brains.”
That’s the opening paragraph in A. S. King’s precious novel ASK THE PASSENGERS. And before I even get into Reading as a Writer, let me say that I loved this book. I savored it. I lingered over beautiful sentences. I ached with broken hearts. I marveled at the wisdom stored between the pages.
I treasured my time with Astrid Jones.
With a “sending-love” habit, who wouldn’t love her?
I’ve struggled with the concept of likable characters. In truth, I often find the universally likable characters kinda, well, boring. In creating characters, my goal is to climb so deep into their minds and hearts and guts that I reach a level of truth that would make it difficult to simply “like” them. (And, probably because of that, I’ve gotten some pretty varied and passionate reaction to Evelyn and many of the other characters in my debut novel ME, HIM, THEM AND IT.)
But A. S. King threw my confusion to the wind. Astrid Jones is complicated. She lies to her friends. She strings a girl along in secret. She’s not even necessarily honest with herself. It’s beautiful.
No matter what she does, she’s so full of love you can’t help but like her.
What other books have this kind of complicated but undoubtably likable main character?