Ask The Passengers by A.S. King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
King has scored such a success with Astrid Jones, she has the indomitable spirit, but she doesn't know it yet. When she has questions about life, she wants to trust her best friend Kristina. But how can you trust your best friend when she talks to your mom about you on the phone. How can you trust your sister when your mom has girls night with her and never asks Astrid to join? And how can you ask your father anything when he is so busy getting high. Astrid and Ellis lived a wonderful life in a big city before their mom, Claire moved them to perfect little Unityville. Astrid has a few friends and works many weekends at a catering company where she is expert at deveining shrimp. It is here that she meets Dee and they find time to hug and kiss one another in the big freezer. Dee knows what she wants, but Astrid is just not sure. It is when Kristina comes up with a plan for Astrid to act like she is dating a guy and then after the date, Kristina and Astrid will go to the gay bar in town. Even though they are underage, they get in and it is not until much later, that their worlds come tumbling down when the bar is raided. Everyone is in trouble, but somehow Kristina convinces Astrid's mom that it was all Astrid's idea. Astrid still does not come out and tell everyone about herself and Dee. This hurts Dee but Astrid is continually working her way back to real truth and it is through her many talks to the passengers who fly overhead as Astrid lays on the picnic table in her back yard and questions imaginary Phil Socrates that she is able to accept and love herself. Astrid mends fences with her parents and sister, but they are flawed and it is when Astrid realizes this that she can accept their shortcomings. Astrid doesn't buckle under peer pressure but it takes most of the book for Astrid to berate Kristina and rebuke Dee. Until she does this, Astrid uses boys to hide who she really is and she feels very badly. Astrid never likes keeping secrets but she has not become strong enough to combat the lies until the night at the bar when they are all arrested. It is through all the LOVE that Astrid sends out to the passengers on the planes that she is able to march forward, happy with who she is, loving her imperfect life, verbally sparring with herself and Phil Socrates that we get an empowered, happy Astrid who will continue to question herself and others and above all, like herself for who she truly is.
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