Ask the Passengers
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Ask the Passengers

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  8,206 ratings  ·  1,217 reviews
Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother's pushiness and her father's lack of interest tell her they're the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn't know the passengers inside, but they're the only people who won't judge her when she asks them her most...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 23rd 2012 by Little, Brown BFYR (first published January 1st 2012)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenCode Name Verity by Elizabeth WeinThe Raven Boys by Maggie StiefvaterEvery Day by David LevithanGrave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Mock Printz 2013
12th out of 92 books — 461 voters
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen ChboskyWill Grayson, Will Grayson by John GreenBoy Meets Boy by David LevithanAnnie on My Mind by Nancy GardenCity of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Best YA Fiction with GLBTQQI themes / characters
48th out of 654 books — 1,767 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
So, here's the thing. I finished this book yesterday and I just couldn't tell you guys because IT WAS SO GREAT I CAN'T THINK OF HOW TO EXPLAIN HOW GREAT IT IS. I WILL be doing a video review about it with more thoughts, but here's some current thinkings:

1) A.S. King writes some of my favourite main characters of all time. Characters that I genuinely love and want to hold hands with and hug and talk with.

2) Her use of magical realism is stunning and powerful and I want to write something with mag...more
Sep 26, 2012 Tatiana rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012, ya
As seen on The Readventurer

3.5 stars

If you've read as much YA as I have, I am sure this story will sound VERY familiar to you. I myself have read it once, twice or three times, in one form or another, and each version was of a different quality. I want to repeat the blurb and say that Ask The Passengers is a "truly original portrayal of a girl struggling to break free of society's definitions," but it just isn't.

Astrid's is a story that's been told before. A teen who lives in a small town full...more
First Second Books
One of my favorite things about this book: it features two teenagers (who are dating) actually having a sensible conversation about sex before they have it.

A lot of what teenage sex seems to be about is awkwardness, which leads to a whole lot of teenagers in books not talking about having sex before they have sex. Or else there’s the scenario, ‘We were thrown together by hormones/alcohol! Now perhaps I have regrets, but clearly it was not ME who made that sex-related decision, but hormones/alcoh...more
Astrid Jones sends her love to strangers. She gives it away to passengers in the sky, because that's the only way she'll be free. Her demanding, over-controlling mother talks at her, her dad does crack, and her sister worries too much about her reputation to be of any help. Living in a small town has its downsides, and Astrid realizes just how damaging those downsides are when she finds herself falling in love - with a girl.

What a voice. Astrid's perception of her surroundings struck me as wise...more
Here is what they say about Astrid Jones and her family in their small-town of Unity Valley:

• Their mother hardly ever leaves the house. But she’s stuck-up, and thinks she’s above it all for keeping her fancy New York job.
• The dad is a stoner – if he’s not making birdhouses, he’s taking a toke in the shed.
• Youngest daughter, Ellis, is a mean hockey player. She fits right in here, a real small-town girl.
• That Astrid Jones is a weird one – don’t know how she came to be friends with the nice Ho...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Dec 14, 2012 Christina (A Reader of Fictions) rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Christina (A Reader of Fictions) by: Bekka (Pretty Deadly Reviews)
Originally posted on A Reader of Fictions.

Okay, it's official. I think A.S. King is one of the very best YA writers out there. Ask the Passengers is only my second experience with King, but I loved it just as much as, perhaps even more than, the first one I read, Everybody Sees the Ants. Even better, King falls into that realm of authors who can do something totally new every time. She has some themes in common, but the books themselves are very different. One has a younger male teen lead, one a...more
I did not like this book. Ask the Passengers was disappointing because I wanted to like it, since I was interested in the premise and I knew it was an acclaimed novel. But I just had too many problems with this book to enjoy it.

Ask the Passengers is about Astrid, a senior in high school in the small, close-minded town of Unity Valley. Many of the people at her school are bigoted and the whole town is a vicious rumor mill. Her family is not understanding and for the most part they ignore her. So...more
"'I don't know. I'm still not even sure, I don't think. I mean, how do I know?'

'It's not a guy?'

I shake my head.

Justin hoots. 'Dude! You're one of us!'

I keep shaking my head, and I add a shrug, but I'd be lying if I told you that his excitement and invitation into -one of them- isn't making me cringe. Because I'm not in this to be a member of some club. I'm not going through this so I can lock myself into the -one of them- box.

'So, you're questioning?' she says.

'I guess.'

Astrid Jones goes to Un...more
Could King be any better? Seriously. This is my favorite of her books, hands down. I also think it might be the most accessible but it does not stray from her style of infusing the real with a bit of the fantastic. There are a striking number of similarities to EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS but it's subtle. Very, very subtle.

Astrid Jones feels alone and confused and lost, but rather than wallow in that, rather than try to figure herself or her family out, she sends her love to everyone around her. Sh...more
Ask the Passengers’ cover flap cheers that this is a “truly original portrayal of a girl struggling to break free of society’s definitions,” and while I think that’s vaguely total bullshit, it’s still not a bad book.

Our protagonist, Astrid, is a calm and fairly introspective seventeen-year-old. She’s dealing with the fact that she's maybe-just-maybe-just-maybe is actually (GASP) gay. It’s a little unclear, because she could be straight but weirdly attracted to one particular girl? Maybe? You kn...more
"I start to feel resentful. You mean to tell me it's 2011 and this guy gets paid to have remedial talks with high school students about how they shouldn't hate other people? Isn't this elementary? Shouldn't it be automatic? What kind of species are we if we gave to have people come talk to us about this crap?"

Astrid is yet another MC from AS KING who is not quite like the rest in refusing to be just one thing. That and the fact that she asks questions... at least, she does eventually. She's fig...more
Steph Su
While it does nothing new, Printz Award-winning author A. S. King’s latest book, ASK THE PASSENGERS, does everything old in this subgenre of YA contemporary literature well.

Every year, there are more than a handful of books published about a teen’s gradual awareness of his or her sexual orientation. And I guess that if you want to pick just a handful to represent this subgenre, ASK THE PASSENGERS might be a good choice. Besides for doing the elements of LGBT lit well, it also gets the essentials...more
Originally reviewed on my blog Reading the Best of the Best.

Have you ever come across a book/author that sounds like your type of book? Something you think you will love and you read it with the highest of hopes and you are utterly disappointed? Well, for me Ask the Passengers would be that book. After so much hype surrounding this book and A.S. King, when I received the chance to review it, I took it! While I did finish this book rather quickly, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

Apr 21, 2013 Joan rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
Well, I think it is official. I didn't like her Vera Diaz book and I don't like this one. I just do not like this author. Or maybe it is that I don't like YA fiction anymore. I remember thinking that after I finished the other book too. I don't like the YA fiction that is nothing but negative, life sucks, and then suddenly everything is ok. Or else even worse than before. Why is it that so few YA books end with something along the lines of life is often lousy and that is what life is like? Punct...more
Gail Carriger
I enjoyed this contemporary YA, at first I was annoyed by the artifice of the inset passenger clips. I thought they were an excuse the author was using to get all essay and literary on the reader, but at the end they tied in nicely and I forgave A.S. King.
Kelly Austin
Astrid are my hero.
"She leans in to kiss me good-bye, and when she does, I wish I lived on the right planet where kissing Dee Roberts wasn’t a big freaking deal. Where it didn’t mean I have to affix a label to my forehead so people can take turns trying to figure out what caused it or what’s wrong with me.”

I am sending my love to everyone out there who had suffered metaphysical feels under this book's emotional turmoil, impeccable glory and accurate Socratic wits.

This is a whimsical story about Astrid Jones, a 17...more
I cannot tell you how much I needed to read this book at this time in my life. I came out about six years ago, and it was easily the most traumatic experience in my entire life. I'm not exaggerating that point. I still have nightmares about the experience and how I was treated, the backlash, the comments and the hate.

When I stumbled across this book, I knew it was the right book at the right time - you know, one of those books that comes into your life at the perfect moment and leaves a lasting...more
Lying flat on a picnic table she and her father built for their back yard in gossip-hounded, small-town Pennsylvania, Astrid Jones searches the sky for planes and shoots up streams of love towards them. The reason I know I’m reading an A.S. King book is not that Astrid sports this quirky habit, but that the passengers, some of them, have names and lives and problems; but they absorb that unconditional love and find strength and clarity in its warmth—if only for a moment. This magical realism is...more
I cried more when I read Everybody Sees the Ants, but this is the book that I will remember more, because this one is about me.

I mean, not about me like a biography. Though some passages came close to reminding me of exact moments in my life, such as Astrid’s first experience dancing in a gay bar: “I see I am a nervous dancer. A barely dancing dancer. A robot. I don’t move anything below my waist. I look like I’m about to do defensive drill during basketball gym class.” Yeah, that was me. Still...more
Rebecca Honeycutt
Astrid’s love isn’t safe with her fractured family, her judgmental town, her secret girlfriend, or her supposed friends. So Astrid sends her love to the passengers of passing airplanes, and silently asks the passengers her questions about the complicated nature of identity, the possible existence of perfection, and dangers of emotional honesty. King subtly weaves together several heavy themes while maintaining a direct, engaging narrative voice; and rather than distracting the reader, her deft t...more
Mark A.S. King's name among the few contemporary authors I truly love if I can feel the same about her other books as I did about this one. I really wanted to read this one after hearing her talk about her own childhood experiences, and I can see so much of what she had to say reflected here. A beautiful book about love, and I'd put it up there with The Miseducation of Cameron Post for my favorite LBGT YA.

Also Devon Sorvari's narration was fantastic. Recommended for fans of Jenna Lamia. I hope...more
Full review at:

This is beautifully written, about prejudice but not in a didactical sense, and truly is a great story. I recommend highly.

What makes me sad about this book is that Astrid has to hide who she is even though she is an amazing person. The book begins with her sending her love to others hoping that they have a better life; such a selfless idea. Yet, Astrid even keeps this secret. She keeps everything true about her secret and all because it i...more
The general premise isn't bad, but it's muddled and poorly-executed. I found myself disliking all the characters, including Astrid, the main character with whom I am supposed to relate. It's like the author couldn't decide on a personality for any one of the characters, so she just jumped around without making much sense. For example, does Astrid actually LIKE her girlfriend? I DON'T KNOW. I really should know that. And, oh my God, if I have to read the phrase "send my love" one more time... NO....more
I send you love astrid jones.
Michelle (Pink Polka Dot Book Blog)
3.5 Stars

Astrid lays on a picnic table in her backyard and sends all her love to the people in the airplanes which fly above her. In Astrid's life, love isn't something that comes easy. She lives in a small town where everybody is watching and judging, the relationships in her family are fully messed up, and all the while she's not sure of what she really feels.

My Thoughts:
This is one of those books where I don't have a whole heck of a lot to say about it. The writing was great, but it is A.S. K...more
Cass -  Words on Paper
5/5 (Review on the blog)

I'll just come right out and say it. I loved this book hardcore. I devoured it, one of those nothing-else-exists-until-I-finish-this-book kinds of books. Of course, I expected nothing less of A.S. King. I kind of have a golden track record with her novels.

Ask the Passengers was insightful and felt wholly unique and fresh in this glorious way that only A.S. King seems able to achieve. The writing is raw and punchy; if you're no stranger to King's writing you'll know what I...more
Lovely story - understated, but incredibly gripping. And my love for A.S. King is confirmed once again.

To love this book, you need to love its narrator, and for me at least Astrid is impossible not to love.
Sure, she's a questioning teenager, and she's confused - but she's sensible too. She's hurt, but resilient; emotional, but rational.
Her voice is calm, even through the hurdles she has to overcome, and when she finally loses her cool, she does it in a way that only made me appreciate her more.

I started Ask the Passengers on the strength of King's previous book, Everybody Sees the Ants, without really knowing what it was even about. I've found that sometimes that's a great way to start a book, when you haven't had time to develop any expectations about it. Well, King just blew me away...again. I'm now going back and reading Vera Dietz because she's just become one of my favorite new authors. So, what is Ask the Passengers about? Astrid Jones is a pretty typical small-town teenager gir...more
Ask the Passengers was extremely touching. I honestly hadn't heard much about the book before reading, so I really didn't know what to expect going into it. I was really surprised by how touching and heart warming the book was though. This is the first of A.S. Kings books that I've read but I have heard a lot about one of her other books. I was really glad I read this book though, I haven't read many books that I can think of dealing with the subject in this book, so it was something a little ne...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Beautiful Music for Ugly Children
  • Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom
  • The Miseducation of Cameron Post
  • Freakboy
  • If You Could Be Mine
  • Starting From Here
  • Silhouette of a Sparrow
  • The Difference Between You and Me
  • Between You & Me
  • Openly Straight
  • Stick
  • October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard
  • 37 Things I Love (in No Particular Order)
  • Sparks: The Epic, Completely True Blue, (Almost) Holy Quest of Debbie
  • I am J
  • Hello, Groin
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
  • Almost Perfect
A.S. King is the author of the highly-acclaimed REALITY BOY, 2013 LA Times Book Prize winner ASK THE PASSENGERS, 2012 ALA Top Ten Book for Young Adults EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS, and 2011 Michael L. Printz Honor Book PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ. She is also the author of the ALA Best Books for Young Adults THE DUST OF 100 DOGS as well as a collection of award-winning short stories for adults, MONICA NE...more
More about A.S. King...
Please Ignore Vera Dietz Everybody Sees the Ants Reality Boy The Dust of 100 Dogs Glory O'Brien's History of the Future

Share This Book

“All those people who are chained here thinking that their reputations matter and this little shit matters are so freaking shortsighted. Dude, what matters is that you're happy. What matters is your future. What matters is that we get out of here in one piece. What matters is finding the truth of our own lives, not caring about what other people think is the truth of us.” 67 likes
“Look, this is a loan. I don't know if love is something I will run out of one day. I don't know if I should be giving it all to you guys or not. Today, I feel like maybe I should have kept some for myself for days when no one else loves me.” 43 likes
More quotes…