Release Date: 10/3/2011
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About the Book: Lucky Linderman's life would be much better if his grandfather had come home from the Vietnam War. Instead, Grandpa Harry went missing, leaving Lucky's dad without a father and now Lucky's dad is a turtle who retreats into his shell and can't confront anything. Lucky's mom is a squid, who spends her days swimming and has no spine to stand up for herself. And Lucky just asked a stupid question-one that got him in trouble yet again with Nader McMillan, Lucky's lifelong bully.
Lucky has a secret though-every night he dreams he's with his grandfather in Vietnam and plots for a way to help him return. And his dreams just might be real-a reality where Lucky can make things right and stand up for himself.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Last year, I picked A.S. King's Please Ignore Vera Dietz as my "dark horse" Printz candidate-it was a book that was so unique and wonderful and I hoped that it got the committee's attention. (It did). This year, A.S. King is back with another book that I'm calling my "dark horse" Pritnz candidate with Everybody Sees the Ants. I was finishing the book today on my lunch break at work, and working in a library, everyone always asks what you're reading. This book is a hard book to explain and a strange book to booktalk. The premise is different and can sound a bit confusing. But it's not confusing and instead is a fantastic story about standing up for yourself, growing up, and learning to connect with your family.
Lucky is a naive main character and his innocence makes him sweet. He's not confident in who he his. He doesn't really get along with his parents and he feels lost. He's being bullied at school and no one is doing anything about it, so Lucky's stopped talking about it. But Lucky is also growing up and learning he can stand up for himself and for others. He's learning who he is. He's learning more about his parents and figuring out how to relate to them. And it all happens in a wonderful way that's not cheesy or sappy or preachy coming of age. Lucky and his struggles felt real. He's an average teen who isn't sure how to navigate life, but he's finding some answers along the way.
A.S. King's writing is fantastic and I think she's at the top of her game. Who else could combine a POW/MIA grandfather that's visited in dreams, animal-like parents, crazy aunts, ninja girls, bullies, and party ants and make it work in a way that you never want to put the novel down? There are some heavy topics discussed, but the book still has humor and some lighter moments-the ants lend a nice sense of sarcastic humor just at the right times! I think one of my favorite parts and one of the most clever was how Lucky's scab from his beating from Nader shrinks and changes the more Lucky figures out about himself. It's small details like that that make this book even better.
This is a novel about not just things getting better but also making them better. Everybody Sees the Ants is a book that will stick with you and is a must read of 2011!
Book Pairings: Dear Bully by Various Authors, Blank Confession by Pete Hautman
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC sent by publisher
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