08 March 2012

Review: Everybody Sees the Ants

Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King
Publication date: October 4, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

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?

It's been a long time since I read a book with "themes." Or at least books without themes like: the end of the world, zombies, and witches. Everybody Sees the Ants tackles issues like bullying, depression, suicide, and family dysfunction. And it is amazing. Here is why:

King's characters are three-dimensional. I, personally, think it's difficult to write a book with close to no action and to focus mainly on a character study.You know why? Because they can get boring. Luckily (pun intended), Lucky is so fascinating. He's a depressed teen who doesn't even realize he's depressed. One of the things I love about Lucky is his self-deprecating humor. Guys, the book deals with serious issues, but I found myself laughing out loud at moments (and some of them inappropriate, thank you A.S. King). I didn't find any stereotypical characters in this book. Even the bully, Nader, is taken to the next level as psychotic.

King's writing is superb. Her imagery is full of image and King had me feeling every feeling. For example, I was appalled at the bullying that Lucky is subjected to by Nader and was appalled at his passive parents for not doing all that they could. It took all of my strength not to put on my nonexistent Parenting Hat and jump into the book to do something about this. Yes, this is an actual power of mine and please don't tell the government.

I love Everybody Sees the Ants because it's one of those books that will have different interpretations for everyone. This is why I won't share mine with you. I'll let you decide what the ants are to you (as well as other symbols in the book). I don't usually do book clubs because I have so much other stuff to read, but I need to have a club for this book (it's cheating if I already read it, I know!). It's a perfect book club suggestion if you're looking for your next pick.


  1. I like themed books, but, I don't know, I guess I just don't really read them for some reason. Still, A. S. King has a great rep and I'm even more tempted to pick up her books after this review! :D


  2. Wow, this sounds really good. I am really looking forward to checking it out. Thanks for the great review :)

  3. @Asher: I know! I have to read her previous one and she has one coming out this fall. I'll definitely be checking them out.

    @Cindy: Thanks Cindy! :)


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