Saturday, April 14, 2012

Review: Everybody See the Ants by A.S. King

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Publishing Date: October 3rd, 2011
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 279 pgs
ISBN: 9780316129282
Source: my local library

My Rating: 4 stars

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 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.

My Review:  
I first saw this book on an IMM over at The Book Rat. Misty always has good book recommendations and so when she said how much she liked this book and I saw it at the library, I knew I had to pick it up. I was not disappointed. This book mixes contemporary with a bit of magic realism to tell a story about bullying. Lucky has been bullied by the same boy since he was young and after a particularly horrible incident Lucky's mother decides it's time to pack up and go on a vacation to see Lucky's aunt and uncle. Throughout the story Lucky describes his vivid dreams of his lost Vietnam war vet and POW grandfather. Lucky is always seeking a way to bring back his grandfather from Vietnam through his dreams and he never quite succeeds.
While all this is going on Lucky is starting to develop a realationship with his uncle through weighlifting and he also begins making some new friends.
I have to admit that it took me a little while to get into the rhythm of this book but once I did I couldn't put this book down. When I was younger I was definitely bullied and I could relate to Lucky. I was fortunate enough not to have had anything really serious happen to me but I could relate to this character. I can remember not really knowing what to say or do and not wanting to discuss what was going on with anyone. I can see why Lucky began withdrawing into himself and why he felt like there wasn't anything that he could do.
King's writing style is amazing and I can see why she has been nominated for a few awards. It flows really well and it captivates you. I am looking forward to reading more from this author.
I also liked that King is able to weave a story about prisoners of war into this story. Many POWs were never found and I can only imagine how horrible it would have been to be stuck there and never return home. The book draws comparisons between war and bullying. In a way Lucky is a POW of bullying and is seemingly helpless. He finds himself trying to help his grandfather escape in his dreams when he should be trying to find a way for him to escape the constant belittling and physical abuse that he has endured at the hands of his nemesis.
Overall I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. It is a story that will stick with you for a while and I definitely recommend that you read it if you get a chance.

1 comment:

  1. This book is really high on my wishlist, so it's great to read another positive review. I really like magical realism in novels, so that element really sells me on this.