Robin Cicchetti's Reviews > Everybody Sees the Ants

Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King
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's review
Feb 25, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: bullying, family, fiction, friendship, relationship, school-fiction, young-adult

Lucky isn't that Lucky. He is relentlessly bullied and his parents are powerless to intervene and advocate for him because they are paralyzed by their dysfunctional marriage. A social studies assignment to design a survey and chart the results goes horribly wrong when Lucky decides to poll students about which method of suicide they would choose. Not a good idea. After a particularly brutal attack, Lucky's mom takes him away to visit family in Arizona, and give them both a break from the pressures of home. Three weeks lead to a lot of self-discovery, and a highly satisfactory conclusion.
A.S. King, author of the Printz Honor Book Please Ignore Vera Dietz, took a lot of risks with this novel. The ants serve as a comic Greek chorus and work well in providing a counter-balance to the bleakness of Lucky's life. The dream sequences in which Lucky tries to free his long lost grandfather from a Vietnamese prison camp are also effective, if a bit of a stretch at times. However, Dietz pulls it off.
In reflecting upon this book, Going Bovine by Libba Bray comes to mind. Bray took similar risks, trying new ideas and breaking down the barriers between the real and the fantastic. It is a joy to see authors testing their skills and pushing boundaries and concepts.

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