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Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, October 3, 2011
Summary from Goodreads:
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 family is fine. And he certainly didn't ask to be the recipient of Nadar McMillan's relentless bullying, which has finally gone too far.Lucky has a secret—one that helps him wade through the daily dysfunction of his life. Grandad Harry, trapped in the jungles of Laos, has been visiting Lucky in his dreams—and the dreams just might be real: an alternate reality where he can be whoever he wants to be and his life might still be worth living. But how long can Lucky remain in hiding there before reality forces its way inside?
Printz Honor recipient A. S. King's distinctive, smart, and accessible writing shines in this powerful novel about learning to cope with the shrapnel life throws at you, and then taking a stand against it.
I'm starting to develop some intense fangirl crushes on a few YA writers, and I haven't really tried to keep that a secret. I am determined to read everything by certain authors because I love their style, or the way they can cross genres, or because they create interesting scenes, characters, and/or plots. I have a lot of favorite authors.There are a select few, however, that just seem to...float...above everyone else, whose works are just so full of excellence that these authors should be crowned kings and queens of literature. I've recently decreed that Patrick Ness is one of those authors, and, after having finished this novel, will argue that A.S. King deserves to sit on that throne with him. Please Ignore Vera Dietz was one of my favorite novels from last year, and was highly regarded in many award circles. I have no doubt that Everybody Sees the Ants will be, as well.
There are just so many contemporary issues in this story, but of course the novel can't really be considered true realistic fiction. While I absolutely adored Lucky in this novel, and felt he was a strong character with a good sense of self (even if he doesn't realize that he has such a strong sense of self), the ants are fantastic! I love their snide comments and gestures throughout this story. Of course, it's the ants, and Lucky's dream-trips to Vietnam, that prevent this novel from being solely realistic fiction, and shove it right into its own genre--which is where it ought to be.
If you loved Please Ignore Vera Dietz, you'll love Everybody Sees the Ants. I don't even think that I can do this novel justice with this review, so I'm going to to stop here. Just, go read it!
Enjoy your reading!