Tegan is our guest poster for today. She will be reviewing another one of our GBLT books for this month, this one in the YA section (at least in our library). Visit her blog, The Rowdy Librarian, for more Teganess. Go to our full list of GBLT reviews for this month.

Ask the PassengersAsk the Passengers by A.S. King by A.S. King

Ask the Passengers is a Young Adult contemporary novel set in Pennsylvania. The story predominantly takes place in a small town, with a few snippets from the skies over the town. The story is set in the present timeline and in high school, but is relatable on many levels to different readers. The book has a positive feeling to it, with periods of more somber moods. It can go from funny, to heart-wrenching in one page. I found myself laughing out loud and having to tell my friend I was with while reading what was so amusing. I also found myself telling her what was going on when something particularly angered me. I do not often have to tell someone right away how a book made me feel, but this book changed that. I just had to talk about it. The contemporary realistic fiction genre is big in YA novels today, and this is a particularly good one.

I, overall, enjoyed most of the characters in this novel. I liked the main character, Astrid Jones, because while she is a unique person she does not suffer from special-snowflake-syndrome, as many YA characters do. Even though in high school I did not go through her particular experience, I could relate to her in that you do not always feel like you fit in and you are trying to find yourself. I think Astrid grew and changed a lot throughout this novel. She learned to speak her mind and her truth. It truly was a pleasure reading her transformation. I was not too keen on her friends, particularly Kristina (Astrid’s “best friend”); she was not best friend material. I think some situations with her were tied up a little too quickly and neatly. I also did not really enjoy Astrid’s love interest, Dee. I understand that A.S. King was trying to show the different sides to a relationship and how each person is going through something different, but a lot of what she did with, or attempted to do with, Astrid was unacceptable. This was another situation where Astrid more shrugged something off rather than totally dealing with it. Her mother and sister, Ellis, were also a piece of work. Despite the fact that I did not like some of the characters, they were very real, which makes this book even more relatable, as you do not like everyone you meet.

I think that the story moved at a brisk pace, I finished it in one day. I was never at any time tempted to put it down and wanted to keep reading. At first I was worried that the interludes from the passengers in the plane would interfere, but I started looking forward to them at the ends of chapters. I think it helped progress the story and help get certain points across. I think the addition of the Humanities class and the project was interesting and a good way to get some of the author’s points across, but it felt slightly out of place at times. We mostly see Astrid at home or at her job with Dee, but suddenly get this class thrown in and it was slightly jarring. I did not feel that the transition was very smooth.

Overall I really enjoyed this novel. It was my first book by A.S. King and I would gladly read anything else that she has written. I think the story is relatable for anyone, and is well told. I liked that we got to see Astrid’s internal debate about her sexuality. It was not a simple, easy answer. I think the author portrayed the situation well and that it will help readers understand what someone might be going through. I also like that, yes, this is a novel about a girl questioning her sexuality, but it is also about family, friends, and love. What do we do when we love someone? How much of our love do we give to them, without losing ourselves?

A.S. King is the author of eight novels, including Ask the Passengers. She also has works in two anthologies. You can find out more about her and her novels at www.as-king.com.

-Tegan Anclade