Ask the Passengers - A.S. King

I did enjoy reading this, but I wasn't totally blown away by this book.  Astrid Jones lives in a small town with her controlling workaholic mother, not-so-secretly pot smoking father, and her little sister who seems to fit in perfectly in this town that Astrid hates so much.  Astrid likes to lie down on her picnic table and send her love to the passengers in the airplanes up there in the sky and ask them questions (hence the title of the book).

I did like that every once in a while we got to read about the passengers, but it would only be for a page or two, so I wouldn't be away from the main story for long.  Sometimes Astrid would send her love and her questions to the people in the airplanes and I would think "noo, I don't want to read about those people.  I just want to continue with the story" and it's like the book read my mind and decided not interrupt the story in order to tell me about the passengers.  I appreciated that.

I didn't appreciate how the Mom only seemed to have one personality trait.  She was controlling.  The happiness of her family was an extremely low priority for her, and her highest priority was her work and in fitting in in this small town.  Everything that that the character said or did reinforced this.  EVERYTHING.

And the town was just toxic and I don't think that it was written very complexly.  To be clear, I don't think that the mom or the town needed to be portrayed positively 50% of the time and negatively 50% of the time in order for them to be portrayed complexly.  I just don't think that the town and the mom should be so easily described in one word.  They should be more multifaceted.

And let's talk about Ellis, Astrid's sister.  I was worried in the beginning of the story that because Ellis fits in pretty nicely in this town that Astrid absolutely hates, and because she is the favored child of the mother, that she would automatically be evil, evil, evil.  

I thought that Astrid showed some real maturity in the end when she pointed out how she wasn't always there for her sister, how she wrote Ellis off as soon as she became a small town girl and was favored by the mother.  I didn't like how nothing was done with the bit of information thrown in at the end that Ellis had to go to therapy after she moved from New York.  I felt like that was cheap way of trying to get me to sympathize with Ellis and it wasn't needed.

(show spoiler)

Now, let's talk about Astrid's girlfriend, Dee.  I'll be honest with you.  I did not like Dee very much at all.  

In the book that I wanted to read, Astrid would have broken up with Dee on page 123.

(show spoiler)

 She kept acting as though Astrid was wasting her time because she wanted to have a conversation rather than have sex.

 I'm glad that she did turn around after Astrid talked to her, but I can't forget the first 100 pages of the book.  Also, I don't buy that "shit or get off the pot" was really about how Astrid should come out of the closet and not about how Dee wants her to put out or get out.  She said that after Astrid removed Dee's hands from her pants, not while they were having a conversation about coming out of the closet.  I think that weak explanation was thrown in to keep me from hating Dee but it so didn't work.

(show spoiler)

As I said, I did enjoy the book and I wasn't too bothered by the problems that I had with it (except of course for that last problem I pointed out.)  I liked Astrid and her friend Kristina.  Astrid called herself a pushover in the beginning of the book, but I think that she stood up for herself when it counted and I really enjoyed reading that.