Therapists in the Sky
Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
Summary: 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.
One of my favorite things about this book was how real Astrid’s voice was. It was as if I were Astrid and actually experiencing these problems myself. You know a good novel when you delve into the protagonist’s mind. But when you find a novel that not only has you delve into the characters’ minds as well as your own, it can blow you away. That’s what happened to me. I was trying to answer the questions not only for Astrid, but for myself as well. I imagined myself as one of those passengers answering her.
The way Astrid struggled with her sexuality was moving. Everyone assumes it’s one or the other, black or white. But for Astrid, and I think other people as well, it’s a completely gray spectrum of all shades. Astrid doesn’t think she’s gay, but she knows she’s falling for Dee. She doesn’t want it to define her, because as soon as she has that label, a stigma will be attached to her.
I find philosophy interesting and I loved the philosophical lessons woven into the plot. I believe the paradox project helped Astrid figure out a lot about herself through questioning the status quo. When you take an idea and twist it to show it for what it really is, I thought it was mind blowing. Something as simple as “Equality is obvious”. At first I was like, well yeah, but then you start to think about it and tear it apart piece by piece and you see where Astrid is. She takes everything apart and out of its “tidy box”. She herself doesn’t believe she fits in a box. She’s not gay, but she has a girlfriend. Where does this place her and what does it mean?
Astrid is a very dynamic character which stems from her innate ability to question anything and everything. Her story focuses on self-acceptance, peer-acceptance, love and what it means to be in love with someone. The story was written in a beautifully captivating way that kept me from putting the book down. Hands down, one of the best books I’ve ever read.