Ask the Passengers

A.S. King

Little, Brown and Company, 2012

Plot Summary

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.

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.


  • Booklist (September 2012. Starred). “Another thoughtful, and often breathtaking, achievement for King, whose star is ascending as quickly as one of Astrid's planes.” Requires log-in to read the whole review.

  • Kirkus (August 2012. Starred). “Only Astrid knows what she wants. She’s in love with Dee, but she's not sure if she’s a lesbian. She’s ignoring all of the labels and focusing on what she feels. Quite possibly the best teen novel featuring a girl questioning her sexuality written in years.”

  • School Library Journal (February 2013). “King's novel offers thought-provoking philosophical questions that teens will ponder well after finishing the novel.”

  • Publishers Weekly (September 2012, Starred). “The philosophical searching, surprising spiritual guides, and powerful observations of contemporary life that characterize previous works by King (Everybody Sees the Ants) are in full evidence in a story that’s at once much more than a coming-out novel and one of the best coming-out novels in years.”



Best Fiction for Young Adults, YALSA (2013)

Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Young Adult Literature (2012)

Rhode Island Teen Book Award, Nominee (2014)

Milwaukee County Teen Book Award, Nominee (2014)

Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award, Nominee (2013)

Lincoln Award, Nominee (2015)

James Cook Book Award (2013)

Author, A. S. King received the Margaret A. Edwards Award for her significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature, 2022


Response to challenges

Collierville Schools, Tennessee: Book was banned pending an investigation by the administration, in relation to possible laws being pushed forward in the state legislature. At this moment the book has been returned to the shelf.

Grandbury ISD, Texas: Book was banned pending an investigation by the administration. After review by the committee, the book was returned to the shelves.

North East ISD, Texas: Book was banned pending an investigation by the administration. Book has been returned to the shelves after a review.

Reference list

2014 nominees | rhode island teen book award. (n.d.). Retrieved October 12, 2022, from

Aisle—The abraham lincoln award archive. (n.d.). AISLE. Retrieved October 12, 2022, from

Ask the passengers | kirkus reviews. (n.d.). Retrieved October 13, 2022, from

Ask the passengers by a. S. King. (Invalid date).

Best fiction for young adults | awards & grants. (n.d.). Retrieved October 12, 2022, from

Gisd committee completes library book review. (n.d.). Retrieved October 13, 2022, from KfBhDyGsJTwLSIie4ssTaUoDG2jfgB8ztQ

gtryon. (n.d.). L. A. Times book prizes 2022—History. Festival of Books. Retrieved October 12, 2022, from

James cook book award. (n.d.). Ohio Library Council. Retrieved October 12, 2022, from

Jensen, K. (2022, August 30). The list of 300+ books pulled and ranked on queer content in collierville, tennessee. BOOK RIOT.

King, A. S. (n.d.). Ask the passengers. School Library Journal. Retrieved October 13, 2022, from

SKUENN. (2012, February 27). Edwards award [Text]. Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA).

The walden award. (2021, July 30). ALAN. Winners. (2009, October 26). Milwaukee County Teen Book Award.


Book Resume created by Virginia Library Association and PDSAL