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Ask the Passengers

Kunvuth MonyKanchna / Khmer Times Share:

Astrid Jones is a typical teenager…well, perhaps not entirely typical. She’s a normal, physically and mentally healthy teenage girl who lives in a small town with her parents and younger sister. She has two best friends, Kristina and Justin, who pretend to be in a relationship to cover up their sexual orientation; and Astrid’s the one they confide in. But when it comes to her own secret — she’s in love with a girl — she dares not confide in anyone except the passengers on airplanes that fly overhead every day.

Astrid lives in Unity Valley, where rumor spread of the sound.

She sends love to and shares her deepest secrets with passengers thousands of feet in the air because it’s the only way to let out her feelings without fear of judge and discrimination. There is no way she would confide in any of her family members: a mother who’s a control freak, a father who’s a pothead, and a sister who’s a self-centered perfectionist (thanks to their mother).

Though she has been seeing (and making out with) Dee Roberts, a badass hockey star from the neighboring school district, Astrid is still in a questioning phase regarding her own sexuality. Denial plays a part in her confusion. She knows she loves Dee more than anything, and they kiss a lot, but Astrid does not feel comfortable with intimacy, especially when Dee goes too far during their make-out sessions.

Unlike her sister, Astrid chooses to resist their mother’s demands. This is one beautiful quality I love about Astrid. She does know how to love herself amidst the chaos of her life. She also has to deal with the demands people place upon her: Dee’s desire to go further than kissing, Kristina’s demands for answers about her sexual orientation, and Jeff Garnet’s desire to be in a relationship.

Sometimes, it’s just really hard to hear the inner voice inside us when we are bombarded with others’ opinions and demands. But to hear that inner voice, pay attention to and ponder it, are huge steps toward achieving peace of mind.

Astrid Jones is one of the few fictional characters I can completely relate to, which makes it hard not to fall in love with the book. If it was not for books like Ask the Passengers, I would probably have let others stress me out by now with all their opinions of my weirdness.

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