By A.S. King
Little, Brown, BFYR 2012
Audience: Older Teens
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 personal questions . . . like what it means that she's falling in love with a girl.
As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can't share the truth with anyone except the people at thirty thousand feet, and they don't even know she's there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers' lives--and her own--for the better.
Wow. This book has been getting a lot of "Best of the Year" buzz, and it TOTALLY deserves all of it. It was amazing.
If I had the same people in my life as Astrid, I would NOT have her self-esteem, grace, or bravery. Her mother is terrible to her, her dad is there physically but not in any other way, and her sister is completely different from her. No one really supports her and everyone is super pushy. Oh, yeah, and the whole ENTIRE TOWN is super judgmental of everyone who is slightly different. Strangely enough, it's called Unity Valley. Unifying, it is not. Everyone gossips constantly and cuts each other down if at all possible. It sounds like a terrible place, and no one sends their love to each other.
So Astrid sends love to airplanes and the passengers on them, since her love doesn't seem to go anywhere nearby. While she worked through her questioning time, I was so proud of her for not giving in to the pressure on all sides to just decide. I loved how she hated labels and definitions and putting those things in a box. She really had insight, and I learned so much through her humanities class. I never took any kind of philosophy class, so I was glad that was incorporated into the story.
The best part of the book was the ending. Amazing. I loved it. This is a must read. A.S. King is one of my all-time favorite writers. She is so talented. I read her books in no time, even though they aren't short, because they are so beautifully written. I send my love out to her and wait patiently for the next book. Also, I send my love to anyone going through anything similar to Astrid. It gets better.
Here's my favorite quote (I think it sums everything up very nicely):
"When I told you I didn't know if I was gay, I was telling you the truth. I just know I'm in love - with a girl. I had no idea of anything past that. It's very Socrates, you know? I'm not questioning my sexuality as much as I'm questioning the strict definitions and boxes of all sexualities and why we care so much about other people's intimate business."