09 April 2013

Teen Tuesday

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King (Little, Brown Teen hardcover, 23 October 2012).

When Astrid Jones was nine, her family bought the house her grandmother grew up in.  In a small town called Unity Valley, it was originally intended as a vacation home for the family, but a year later, they left New York City, which Astrid and her sister Ellis thought of as home, and moved there.

Ellis seemed to adapt to her new life, but Astrid just couldn't.  Even seven years later as a high school senior, Astrid feels like an outsider.  Sure, she's editor of the school lit magazine, but she has no social life.  Her best friend Kristina is a "townie", and a shoo-in for homecoming queen, with her boyfriend Justin a lock for king.  Astrid had a boyfriend for a short while in her junior year, but it didn't last very long.  Her favorite pastime is lying on top of the picnic table in the back yard and watching the planes go overhead.

Astrid works for a small catering business prepping food.  Her co-worker Dee makes no secret of the fact that she's attracted to Astrid, but Astrid doesn't know what to make of it.  Sure she's flattered that Dee thinks she's gorgeous, but she's not gay.  Is she?  Does it matter?

This is an amazing, touching, heart-wrenching story about a young woman struggling to establish an identity and be true to herself in a society that cares more about appearances than truth. 

Teens should read this book to help them realize that it's okay not to have all the answers. 

If I could, I'd give this book to all parents of teens, in the hopes that they might understand what it means when they tell their kids to be honest with them.  (If I could, I'd go back in time and give it to my own parents...)

FTC Full Disclosure:  I borrowed this book from my local library.

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