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Ask the Passengers

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  21,265 Ratings  ·  2,460 Reviews
In this truly original portrayal of a girl struggling to break free of society's definitions, Printz Honor author A.S. King asks readers to question everything--and offers hope to those who will never stop seeking real love.

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
Paperback, 293 pages
Published September 10th 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published October 23rd 2012)
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Popular Answered Questions
Liz Yes, definitely! Though I loved Ask the Passengers, it's written in a fairly different style than the other two books by her I've read. I liked both…moreYes, definitely! Though I loved Ask the Passengers, it's written in a fairly different style than the other two books by her I've read. I liked both Please Ignore Vera Dietz and Everybody Sees The Ants a lot. (less)
Jenna Axel I would say your average 13 year old would be fine, but might enjoy it more in a couple years.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
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Nov 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt, contemporary
A.S. King does it so well.

Technically, she shouldn’t, though. I mean, her stories are not the most original ones on Earth, and if you compare her books, you’re going to see that she follows a certain formula. Therefore, reading her books back-to-back can make them seem repetitive.

So what is it about this author that makes her so great and unlike many other YA authors?

Well, she explores various themes – bullying, sexual orientation, sexuality, mental health, abuse, etc – and she explores them wi
Oct 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Raeleen Lemay
Dec 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtqia, young-adult

This was pretty good! Not the best coming of age/LGBTQ book I've ever read, but I really enjoyed Astrid and all of her philosophical quirkiness.

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
Nov 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
As always, AS King's writing is beautiful and her themes and overall messages are great. I also really liked the magical realism aspect - if you can even call it that?
However, I just didn't love it. I didn't ever really root for the characters or connect with them, and though Astrid does develop quite a bit in terms of learning, her overall characterization didn't really expand a lot.
A beautifully written book about acceptance of yourself and others & coming of age/LBQT, but the actual sto
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Oh this was so great. BRILLIANT. A.S. King, where have you been all my life? I feel like I had a firm grasp of the characters within the first 15 pages, I just immediately understood them. That is talent. I will definitely definitely be reading more from her in the future.

King handles the subject matter PERFECTLY - an incredibly important book about loving yourself, ignoring small-minded people and how unnecessary labels are. *claps forever*
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
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 smokes pot, 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
Neil (or bleed)
"Equality is obvious. First, to define equality. Then to define obvious. I mean, I can even try to define is if I want, because equality isn’t really working in the present tense, is it? Because equality isn’t really obvious to most people. And I don’t mean to say the world is filled with racists or sexists or homophobes. I mean to say: Everybody’s always looking for the person they’re better than."

Ask the Passengers is mainly about breaking free about society's definition and label but this
Aug 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"I am equal to you. You are equal to me. It's that universal. Except that it's not."

It was my first time to read a book that is about a relationship between a girl and a girl and knowing the ups and downs of a homosexual person. Usually, when it comes to this genre, I always read Levithan's work and this book from A.S. King is really an eye-opener for me.

This book is a story about Astrid Jones who is really confused in her sexuality and who is afraid to come out because of the judgmental type o
Vitor Martins
Achei que esse seria mais um YA contemporâneo, mas dei de cara com um livro incrível!
Tem humor, tem amor, tem muita coisa pra fazer a gente pensar! A narrativa que se divide entre o ponto de vista da Astrid e os pontos de vista dos passageiros torna esse livro uma história cheia de outras histórias.
Sem contar que rolou AQUELA IDENTIFICAÇÃO com a protagonista né?
Adorei <2
Dec 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Very unique story that was shared with a sense of levity by an immediately likeable character. It was because of the smooth, funny, thoughtful narrative that allowed me to enjoy this novel about a very serious subject.

Astrid Jones is from a small town called Unity Valley. We meet her at a time when she’s struggling to understand her sexual orientation and how and when she wants to make it public to family and friends. She can’t quite open up to her mother, which she finds hard to connect with o
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
May 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Gail Carriger
Nov 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
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.
"'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
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
May 17, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: guilty
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
Kat (Lost in Neverland)
Astrid desperately wants to talk to someone. Someone other than her overbearing mother, stoner of a father, distant sister, or even her pushy friends and girlfriend.
She doesn't have anyone to love so she sends her love to planes passing over-head, hoping someone will send some back.

This book is one of those 'books with main gay character where the story is all about the character being gay' ones. I still think it was brilliant, and very poignant, in the way it showed how Astrid hated being lab
Bruna Miranda
Meu coração ficou apertado o livro inteiro. É uma história de mexer o coração, mas que mostra de forma muito real a situação que muitos adolescentes, jovens (e até adultos, por que não) passam para assumirem-se e sentirem-se realmente bem consigo mesmo.
Jul 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good writing, human characters and interesting family relationships. I really liked it :)
Jan 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

Steph Su
Jul 24, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq
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
3.5 stars

This was ??? an interesting read, capturing the life of a teenager struggling with her sexuality in a pretty close-minded small town and whilst some parts were great other elements could've been done a lot better.

I LOVED the writing style. The author captures the voice of a teenager struggling with her sexuality v well and Astrid's thoughts are not only genuine but relatable - especially when she holds hypothetical conversations in her head, with herself and other people. I also loved t
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. I really loved the way this book was written. The quirk of sending love to airplane passengers along with their inner thoughts was extremely well done and a great literary skill. I enjoyed the story also, as it was relatable and very human. While the protagonist did come across as weak and made some extremely dumb decisions, I do recognize that she is a teenager, therefore it was to be expected.
Dec 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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 fi
Jul 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Edited for second read.
Scratch that dumb 4.5 rating + review I gave for the first read.
Overflowing 5 stars for you, A.S King.
I am sending my love to you even though you're not in an airplane.
I love you.


I am now starting to love A.S. King. I loved her Please Ignore Vera Dietz and I was totally swept away by this book. I am now marking her other works as to be read ASAP.

First off, what I liked most are the absolutely realistic and consistent characters
Wow, this book is the proof that I should give second chances more often.
When I first started this book this summer, I just stopped 30 pages in, for no particular reason. But then I decided that I heard too many good things about it and should give it a new try, so that's what I did, and I'm glad.
Astrid lives in a small town where everybody gossip about everybody, where some people think Holocaust never happened, where being gay is a sin and some people walk around with 'straight pride' t-shirts
Oct 24, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm surprised by how many good reviews this book is getting. I thought it was awful. I want to add that AS King's prior novels, Everyone Sees the Ants and Please Ignore Vera Deitz, are two of my absolute favorites. I thought concept was ok, but the plot seemed unrealistic. It may just be that I don't live in a small town and I am not gay that I don't 'get' the story. For instance, the school stars a rumor that Astrid is in love with her sister and her sister gets mad at her for it. Would that re ...more
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Kenzie Kearns review 5 1 1 Mar 09, 2018 10:18PM  
The Demented Book...: Chapter 1 – Chapter 15 8 13 Nov 21, 2015 08:59PM  
The Demented Book...: Chapter 16 – Chapter 30 3 5 Nov 21, 2015 08:56PM  
The Demented Book...: Chapter 31 – Chapter 44 2 7 Nov 17, 2015 09:22AM  
The Demented Book...: Ask the Passengers – A.S. King 6 13 Oct 30, 2015 10:12AM  
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A.S. King is the author of the highly-acclaimed I CRAWL THROUGH IT, Walden Award winner GLORY O'BRIEN'S HISTORY OF THE FUTURE, 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 and THE DUST OF 100 DOGS as well as a collection of award-winning short stories f ...more
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“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.” 125 likes
“I am equal to a baby and to a hundred year old lady. I am equal to an airline pilot and a car mechanic. I am equal to you. You are equal to me. It's that universal.
Except that it's not.”
More quotes…