I’m so excited that my very first Bookanista review is for A.S. King’s new novel, EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS. Here’s what the publisher has to say:
Lucky Linderman didn’t ask for his life. He didn’t ask his grandfather not to come home from the Vietnam War. He didn’t ask for a father who never got over it. He didn’t ask for a mother who keeps pretending their dysfunctional family is fine. And he didn’t ask to be the target of Nader McMillan’s relentless bullying, which has finally gone too far.
But Lucky has a secret–one that helps him wade through the daily mundane torture of his life. In his dreams, Lucky escapes to the war-ridden jungles of Laos–the prison his grandfather couldn’t escape–where Lucky can be a real man, an adventurer, and a hero. It’s dangerous and wild, and it’s a place where his life just might be worth living. But how long can Lucky keep hiding in his dreams before reality forces its way inside?
Michael L. Printz Honor recipient A.S. King’s smart, funny and boldly original writing shines in this powerful novel about learning to cope with the shrapnel life throws at you and taking a stand against it.
First off, I want to confess that I’m a huge A.S. King fangirl. If you haven’t read her Printz Honor Book, PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ, oh my gosh! What are you waiting for? Because I can say with certainty: You. Are. Missing. Out. I loved that one so much that of course I snatched this book off the shelves the second it was released (okay, so maybe they were the e-shelves, but still).
EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS didn’t disappoint. It had everything I was expecting from an A.S. King book–symbolism galore, serious subject matter, humor (King mixes the latter two unbelievably well), and of course, her signature dose of magical realism. Don’t get me wrong–at it’s heart, this is a book about bullying, and how everyone, from kids to adults, flail when it comes to knowing what to do. But while it’s very serious and dark at times, brutally honest and sad, it’s also not relentlessly depressing like some books on the topic tend to be. The MC Lucky is lost, angry, and depressed, but he also has an offbeat sense of humor that’s guaranteed to make you smile from page one via his unusual choice of sociology project. Plus, the book is about finding the courage to stand up for yourself, so ultimately, the message is hopeful.
The dream sequences in the book are unlike any I’ve ever read, and even though I enjoyed Lucky’s waking moments more, they definitely formed a compelling and crucial part of the story. Overall, it was a great read–I finished in a day!
For more great reads, check out the other books my fellow Bookanistas are raving about this week:
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