Hi, I’m April and I’m a graduate student at Nazareth College studying Literacy Education. I am so excited to begin my career as a teacher after I get my master’s degree in August! I was immediately drawn to Ask the Passengers after reading a review stating that it was about a teenager struggling to fit into her small town due to their narrow-minded ways. I immediately related to that message, as I also grew up in a small town with people who struggled to love and accept each other as easily as I did. After reading the book, there is no doubt that Astrid and I are similar in many ways, and I know that many other readers will connect with her too.
Feeling defeated by her narrow-minded town and perfectionist mother, Astrid Jones spends her time sending love to anyone she can. Able to escape from her own reality, she imagines the lives of people in the planes she see’s soaring across the sky. While trying to find peace and self-acceptance in her own life, she is constantly feeling pressure from her mother, best friend, and girlfriend to take actions that they want her to do. After getting busted at a gay club with her friends, Astrid is forced to face her challenges head-on and she suddenly struggles to send her love anywhere.
Ask the Passengers provides readers with an authentic portrayal of the lives of a group of LGBTQ teenagers who identify as being gay and questioning. Some of the teens are more comfortable and accepting of their sexuality, while Astrid finds herself continually questioning hers. The teens struggle to find acceptance from the people in their small town where some people are not quite as accepting of the LGBTQ community. Forced to come out not only to their families, but to the entire school, the teens find strength from each other and within themselves to overcome negativity and hate. A.S. King’s masterful portrayal of teens who accept their sexuality in different ways and on different levels provides readers with a variety of characters they will relate to and empathize with.
While told from Astrid’s perspective, Ask the Passengers shows a variety of behaviors and actions taken not only by the teenagers, but also their families. These relatable representations of family dynamics and high school struggles, paired with the theme of acceptance and love, are what make this book such an important and valuable read for young adults.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone, but especially high school students who are feeling like their thoughts and actions make them different from their peers. Any reader can find a friend in Astrid Jones. You are not alone.
Go here to find information about Ask the Passengers and where you can check it out from the Monroe County Library System!