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.
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.
(Description from Goodreads)
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
I came across this book while looking at a list of YA October 2012 book releases on Goodreads. The description of the book did a good job at capturing my attention with the whole idea of the main girl, Astrid, sending her love out to passengers on planes while she tried to figure out her own love life back on the ground.
When I first started reading this book, I thought the majority of it would be about her sending love to passengers, mixed in with her figuring out who she was. Instead, it was the other way around, which was totally fine by me. Astrid Jones is observed as a quiet, shy, senior in high school who spends most of her time in a book. However, there is much more to Astrid than most people know, including her parents and younger sister, who don’t seem to pay much attention to Astrid’s life anyway. Astrid is dealing with the fact that she is falling in love with a girl, something that appears to be frowned upon in the small town she’s live in since she was 10-years-old. On top of that, she’s helping keep her best friend’s secret of the same thing, but hasn’t told her best friend about her secret. Did that confuse you? I think I just confused myself.
It may just be me, but there don’t seem to be many YA books that deal with being gay. I don’t know why that is, aside from some feeling it may be a controversial topic to bring up in YA novels. However, it’s a topic that hits home to many teenagers who may be struggling with similar situations. Astrid lives in a small town where everyone talks about everyone; nothing is safe from the gossip line. I’m on the fence about how I feel a small town was portrayed in this book though. In some aspects, it was spot on, but in others, it almost makes a mockery of small towns. Perhaps I’m biased because I’m from and live in a small town. Yes, rumor mills happen, but they happen all over and not just in small towns. However, in this book, it makes it seem like small towns are full of closed minded people, which they truly are not. Maybe in some instances, but I’ve never experienced that before. You can find closed minded people anyway, not just in small towns.
Likewise, I’m on the fence about how the sending love to passengers was depicted in this book. At first, it caught me off guard, because instead of just saying she’s sending love to random passengers, the author mixes in several passenger accounts from the plane Astrid is sending love to. There are only a few passenger accounts, but they do add to the story. However, I’m not sure they add to the plot. Make sense? I still don’t know if there were just the right amount of accounts or if there should have been more. Either way, I still don’t know how I feel about how that was drawn out in the book. In the end it makes sense, but during it simply adds text to the book. Of course, I love the concept of Astrid sending her love to complete strangers on a plane who will never return the love to Astrid. I suppose it provides an escape for Astrid, especially after the book starts to let loose on all sorts of chaos.
I must say, King did a remarkable job at portraying a teenage girl, struggling with whether or not she is gay. She knows she loves a girl she works with named Dee. They’ve been together for five months before she tells anyone, and even then her best friend practically has to drag it out of her. But after one night of fun, Astrid’s world turns all around. Rumors begin to spread about her (and even her little sister), people start to distance themselves from her, even her own mother won’t acknowledge her. Astrid does an incredible job at keeping her cool, even during everything that should have her practically losing her marbles. Of course, like any person, she does come to a breaking point, but it’s also a breakthrough point for her. Astrid has been a pushover her entire life, but by the end of this book, she is able to stand up for herself and who she is and doesn’t back down. It also helps that she had an imaginary Socrates with her whenever she found herself in a situation that needed outside assistance.
As for characters, some of them really added to the story, while others just made me want to take my NOOK and hit them upside the head; I tend to feel that way about characters in books anyway…I either love them or I don’t. Simple as that. At first, Astrid didn’t seem to have much personality, but the more she stood up for herself, the better character she became. It’s hard not to become a remarkable character, especially with everything Astrid had to deal with and with little to no help from friends, family, and even strangers. You go, Astrid! Keep sending love.