Intro to Contemporary YA: Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

Since this whole class is optional, you can choose to participate (or not) whenever you wish.

However, if you choose to participate, we want to make clear our expectations for that participation.

  • Realize that you should have the book read before you read through the comments. Spoilers will likely appear in the conversations, so please do not be surprised or angry if this happens.

  • Bring reader questions and observations about the text. We will throw our own questions and observations out for you to consider,  but your questions and observations are as important and necessary in this as ours.

  • Please abide by the Thumper Rule when interacting with others:

  • Back up what you’re asking or saying with quotes and page numbers so that we can all follow along.

  • Think about and share possible thematic text connections (classics, YA lit, picture books, poetry, non fiction texts, news stories, movies, YouTube videos). This will be especially helpful information for the teachers among  us, but it’s good thinking for all of us.

Some additional housekeeping thoughts:

  • Please try to respond to be careful about responding to comments – keep main threads together, but try not to get where it is so indented that no one can read what you’re posting!
  • Also consider clicking “Notify me of follow-up comments via email.” when you post a comment. This will keep you informed of continued discussion without having to come back at random intervals to see if there is anything new.
  • Consider introducing yourself briefly in your first post and including a link for your blog if you have one.

ONE FINAL WARNING:

THERE WILL BE SPOILERS IN THIS DISCUSSION!

DO NOT PROCEED IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK!

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About CBethM

I'm a book lover and technology geek who happens to also be a high school English teacher, National Writing Project teacher consultant, and certified school librarian. The opinions I offer here are reflective of my thoughts and opinions and not that of my employer, family, or friends.
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16 Responses to Intro to Contemporary YA: Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

  1. CBethM says:

    I have other things to comment on (it’ll be this weekend – my book is at home!), but I wanted to start out with this: Did anyone else go look up what the humanities class was studying while you read this? (Did anyone else wish they had this class when they were in school???)

    • Taryn H. says:

      I’ve done Socratic seminars with my MS kids, but never spent an in depth amount of time studying Socrates himself. Sounds like fun though.

      • I have Socratic seminars in my class, but they’re never truly a Socratic seminar. I do think this class sounds awesome. What a way to push students’ thinking!

    • Jen Eiserman says:

      I actually passed this book on to our Cultural Studies teacher (honors class for seniors). He was talking about having to teach Socrates and Plato and how that was so out of his realm. I suggested he use passages from this book, because even though I studied “The Cave” in college I don’t think I really understood it until this book…thank you A.S. King for finally enlightening me!

    • I would have taken that class in a heartbeat!

  2. Taryn H. says:

    This was my first AS King book, and I’m glad to have finally read one. I really enjoyed it.
    What I really appreciated about Astrid is that she was able to stand up to so much pressure and just take time to figure out who she is and what she wants. I’m sure a lot of teens (and even some adults) feel pressure to react, think, feel or do things right away and in the heat of the moment. It’s a nice reminder that it is ok to slow down, take your time, and move forward at a pace that is comfortable for you.

    • I agree. I loved that about Astrid. The parts that stood out most to be is when she would not answer her parents when they questioned her about her sexuality because she did not want that to be all they thought of her or how she was labeled. I think that is a strong message for all teen readers to not fit into one box or expectation people have of you.

  3. Denise Keogh says:

    I really appreciated reading about a teen who wanted to send love out to the universe. I also liked the idea of the students coming to school dressed in togas and defending a philosophy — could be dangerous, but what a great idea!

  4. Jen says:

    I ❤ this book. Not since Annie on my Mind has there been such a deep and sincere portrayal of what it might feel like to be a gay teen…I don't know how King pulled that off. Also, every time an airplane flies overhead, I now feel compelled to send love. :0)

  5. Jen Eiserman says:

    I really enjoyed this book. What I loved most about Astrid was her ability to question and be okay not knowing answers. We are always so quick to label things/people and move on that it was refreshing to read her point of view. Why do people need labels anyway? Being gay or straight didn’t change who she was as a person, so why should anyone care? What a fantastic message for our teenage students!

    Also, I LOVED what A.S. King did with the airplane passengers. I almost looked forward to their stories more than Astrid’s (not for lack of love of our protagonist, I just found the vignettes so intriguing). I will never look at an airplane in the sky the same way again. Keep on sending your love Astrid (another great message for students)!

  6. Jen S says:

    Kind of funny connection to Socratic method…. http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php

    • BJ Neary says:

      I really enjoyed King’s characters- some you loved, others not so much. I appreciated King’s portrayal of Astrid and her family was something else. I found her mother disturbing; being friendly and texting with Astrid’s best friend (who I did not like). Kristina did not want people to know about her little excursions to clubs but she wanted Astrid to be her wingman and continue her lies. I felt sorry for the guys; I think they were being used and Astrid definitely enjoyed being with her guy at clubs and did not like leading him on. I also think Astrid’s love interest at work, Dee was kind and willing to give Astrid the room she needed. AS King does a superb job of getting into the teen psyche and not giving answers to their questions, but just lets YA readers decide for themselves through her characters, situations and in this case—-Frank Socrates:) A refreshing read teens will love!

  7. Terry says:

    I liked this book but didn’t lurrrrve it. 🙂 I do think this would be an interesting companion read to Aristotle and Dante… because in each book, each main character questions the whole idea of being put in one box or another: gay OR straight–that it’s actually other people who really want to put the character in a box, or, cleanly identify with one identity or another so that THEY (the other people in the teen’s life) can sort of check them off on a list (“Okay, so, this friend is straight, that friend is gay: check” or “Okay, so now I’m the parent of a gay daughter: check”.) I really liked that about them both and I think that would be comforting to teens who struggle with all aspects of their identity, including sexuality. (Of course Ari & Dante’s parents are so wildly different from Astrid’s!–I think because I finished Aristotle and Dante… right before I read Ask the Passengers I was especially tuned to the parents and their actions [or lack thereof] or maybe what I should call their kindness [or…lack thereof]).

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