Zombie, post-apocalyptic and dystopian books are like shoes - you can never have enough.
I've heard so many awesome things about A.S. King that I had a lot of trouble picking which of her books I wanted to read first, but there was something about the synopsis that kept drawing me back to Ask the Passengers. And I can say that I definitely wasn't disappointed with my choice.
Astrid is a character that I immediately felt a connection to - she's not popular and is slightly awkward, and although she is quite indecisive about what she exactly wants out of life, she's comfortable in her own skin and embraces her own quirks. She loves philosophy and uses it in her day-to-day life, she loves making birdhouses with her father and helps her best friend to conceal a huge secret, all without making a big deal or complaining. And I totally loved that.
But most of all I loved her habit of talking to airplane passengers and sending them her love, which A.S. King enriched by adding in snippets of the lives of random airplane passengers and tying Astrid's questions that she throws up into the sky into their lives. It was extremely clever and also something that I didn't expect but enjoyed hugely.
Ask the Passengers has a strong focus on the relationship between Astrid and her parents and younger sister which I absolutely loved - her parents are less than perfect and are struggling with both their own problems as well as Astrid's struggles to understand herself, and even though they had their flaws, I loved that they were written in a way that still evoked my sympathy for them.
A.S. King's writing is not overly complicated, and in fact it's quite simplistic which fits the plot and characters perfectly - anything wordy or flowery would have only covered up Astrid's personality and the simplism allows the fantastic characterisation to shine through.
I loved this book and I was so caught up in Astrid's story, and just wanting everything to turn out the best for her - it's definitely one of my favourite contemporaries so far in 2013 and it's going to take an amazing book to topple it off that shelf.
Read more of my reviews at The Aussie Zombie