The Compulsive Reader: Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King

Monday, October 24, 2011

Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King

Lucky Linderman has been bullied by Nader ever since he was seven years old. He deals with it by talking with his grandfather, a missing POW from the Vietnam War, in his dreams. The bullying comes to a head freshman year when Lucky's social studies project is misunderstood and gets him and Nader into a bit of trouble. Now it's summer, and Nader is out to get Lucky. His latest attack upsets Lucky's mother so much that she whisks him away to Arizona to visit his aunt and uncle, a trip that will change them both.

A.S. King has once again created a book that is a little weird and very readable. Lucky is a smart character and engaging narrator, and his frustration over the bullying and his parents' inability to do anything about it really takes a toll on him. He cares about the POW/MIA cause his grandmother was so passionate about and his father carries as a burden. He struggles to carry on the memory of his grandfather in his daily life, outside of the dream conversations they share and Lucky's many attempts at rescuing him.

Lucky learns a lot about his family during the unexpected trip to Arizona. At first it is just a struggle to get along with Aunt Jody, who is convinced that Lucky needs professional help, despite her blatantly obvious imbalances and issues. Throughout the ups and downs of living with his extended family and some late-night excursions with their gorgeous, mysterious neighbor, Lucky begins to see that no one is perfect, and everyone has their own shortcomings. He starts to understand how his grandfather's loss has affected his father, which in turn affects him every day of his own life. He realizes that in order to stop the bullying, he can't expect anyone to step in and intervene, but he must stand up for himself, and learns to find the courage to do so. His journey to this epiphany is painful, sometimes funny, unexpected, and complicated. King has written an excellent, important book about loss, bullies, the importance of standing up for yourself, and the complexity of relationships with a lot of heart and a touch of magical realism. Everybody should read this book.

Cover Comments: I like this cover a LOT. Very retro, yet it stands out. The lines like the target give it some depth that's pretty neat.

ARC provided by publisher.

A.S. King is also the author of Please Ignore Vera Dietz, one of my favorite books of 2010! Check it out!


We Need Reads said...

looks like it will be interesting.
i like the cover a LOT too.

Shari Green said...

I just got this book today! Looking forward to reading it. :)

Melissa Walker said...

"a little weird and very readable"

YES. This is exactly what I love about AS King. This book is excellent.