Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ask the Passengers ~ A.S. King (earc) review

Ask the Passengers
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
October 23, 2012
296 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

Astrid Jones doesn't have a perfect life. Her mother - who has 'Mommy and Me' nights with Astrid's 16-year-old sister - all but ignores when she isn't trying to construct a new social life for her. Her father's present, but really only in the physical sense. Her sister, Ellis, quit being a friend a long time ago, now more their mom's confidant than Astrid's.

Her friends are her refuge from this crazy family life, but she's keeping a secret - a big secret - from even them.

Passengers it planes flying by overhead are the only ones who don't prod and ask Astrid questions, questions she doesn't want to answer. She sends each of them her love, even if the tiny action may never make a difference to anyone but her.

Ask the Passengers is a really good contemporary read. Astrid is not a teenager who has everything figured out - neither, actually, is any of the other characters in the novel. They have complications in their lives, things they are struggling to figure out, interpersonal issues with both family and friends, and/or internal struggles. The characters don't come across as burdened by these problems, rather it makes them feel real.

Astrid's mother is a great - and memorable - character. She's quite different from other mothers in other YA, or adult, books I've previously read. Her way of both butting into Astrid's life while still ignoring Astrid, personally was odd as a character trait, but written in a way where it made sense. It also made you feel for Astrid - and for Ellis, actually - for having Claire as a mother. Astrid was dealing with so much, questioning so much and then didn't have her mother to turn to.

It made the Passengers part of Ask the Passengers both very fitting and more fun to read. After Astrid would ask the passengers her questions, there were small chapters/interludes from passengers on the planes. Little glimpses into their lives.

While I really enjoyed the different characters in this book, the difficulties they had, the way they were working to overcome them - or at times putting that off - something didn't quite work for me. I don't know if Ask the Passengers just didn't click with me or if it wasn't quite what I was looking for, but something kept it from being a really great read from me, keeping it just really good. I liked it, but it didn't amaze me. I'm sorry that I can't pinpoint why.

edit: Now that it's the release date and I have access to the audio book, I've given that a try - and it worked much better for me. I think, for whatever reason the actual reading reading of this novel was slower for me but listening to it helped the pacing of the story. It also helped my enjoyment of the story. I'll keep my rating at a 7 as that's for the original review, but the audio version did bump up my enjoyment of the story.

Rating: 7/10

thank you to LBFYR for the egalley through NetGalley


  1. That's interesting that you enjoyed the audio version better. Usually the audio version keeps me from connecting fully to the story. This book sounds really good though. Great review :)

    Jesse @ Pretty in Fiction

    1. I'm not sure what it was but something about this one read slow for me, the audio book being able to be faster helped me get the story going more, I guess.

      Thanks so much for commenting!


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