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Everybody Sees the Ants
Cover of Everybody Sees the Ants
Everybody Sees the Ants
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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...
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...
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  • 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.
 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • A.S. King is the author of the highly acclaimed Reality Boy; Ask the Passengers, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize winner; Everybody Sees the Ants; and the Edgar Award nominated, Michael L. Printz Honor book Please Ignore Vera Dietz. She is also the author of The Dust of 100 Dogs, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. When asked about her writing, King says, "Some people don't know if my characters are crazy or if they are experiencing something magical. I think that's an accurate description of how I feel every day." She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and children.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from September 19, 2011
    Reality is a flexible thing in this offbeat and thought-provoking coming-of-age story from Printz Honor–winner King (Please Ignore Vera Dietz). Lucky Linderman, 15, has been the target of bullying by a classmate, Nader, and after a particularly brutal attack by him, Lucky leaves Pennsylvania for Arizona with his mother, who is fed up with her marriage. Staying with his uncle and pill-popping aunt is anything but a peaceful vacation, but when Lucky meets 17-year-old Ginny, a reluctant model, her strong will and courage make Lucky realize that it’s time to stand up for himself. The gravity of the issues King addresses—bullying, marital difficulties, the lack of closure regarding Lucky’s grandfather, an MIA soldier who has been gone for decades—are thrown into high relief by surreal elements interwoven throughout, most notably Lucky’s dreams, which bleed into reality in intriguing ways as he attempts to rescue his grandfather and others, and a Greek chorus of ants Lucky sees, which adds welcome doses of humor and pathos. It’s a smart, funny, and passionate novel that embodies the idea that “It Gets Better”—when you take action. Ages 15–up.

  • Kirkus

    September 15, 2011

    An involving, if slightly uneven, follow-up to Printz Honor winner Please Ignore Vera Dietz (2010).

    "If you were going to commit suicide, what method would you choose?" This smart-aleck survey question developed for a social-studies assignment sends the cruelly mis-named Lucky Linderman's life straight into the sewer. Misunderstood by school administrators, tormented by the school's bully-in-chief Nader McMillan, fretted over by his ineffective parents, Lucky launches the ultra-stoic "Operation Don't Smile Ever" to protect himself, but privately he seethes with rage and sadness. In his dreams—the only place he can exercise any authority or skill—Lucky stages bold, elaborate rescue missions to bring his Vietnam-era POW/MIA grandfather home. After Nader assaults Lucky at the community pool, Lucky and his swimming-obsessed mom decamp to Arizona to visit relatives and recuperate. Readers will fall hard for Lucky's aching, disgusted, hopeful and triumphant voice, but this otherwise deeply realistic story falters a bit whenever elements of magical realism intrude. The titular Greek chorus of ants, a shape-shifting facial scab, the items that accompany Lucky home from his dreams: None of them quite mesh with the story, instead forcing readers to question Lucky's sanity when they should be completely on his side.

    Readers who look beyond these problems will find a resonant, uplifting story about not just getting through, but powering through, the tough times. (Fiction. 15 & up)

    (COPYRIGHT (2011) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from October 1, 2011

    Gr 9 Up-Lucky Linderman has been tortured by Nader McMillan since they were seven, when Nader inexplicably peed on him in a restaurant bathroom. Now it's the summer before sophomore year, and ever since Lucky unintentionally got the bully in trouble with his social-studies survey about suicide, Nader's harassment has escalated. What's more, everyone thinks Lucky is serious about killing himself, and in addition to this and the bullying, his parents' marriage is falling apart. The only way Lucky can escape his life is through a touch of mysterious magic, in which he dreams of communicating with his grandfather, who has been MIA since the Vietnam War. In his dreams, Lucky is strong and fearless, ready to stop at nothing to rescue him. When Nader smashes him into the concrete at the community pool, crushing his face and pride, Lucky's mom flies them to Arizona to stay with her brother and his wife for a few weeks. During his time away Lucky learns that he is okay with being a "momma's boy," that he can't keep escaping his life in the jungle of his dreams. King's heartfelt tale easily blends realism and fantasy. Through a man he never met, Lucky learns he can stand up for himself and stop Nader from terrorizing him and other students. Some mild language and discussion of male and female anatomy are included, but they are within the realm of the story and necessary for these teens to sound real. A haunting but at times funny tale about what it means to want to take one's life, but rising above it so that living becomes the better option.-Lauren Newman, Northern Burlington County Regional Middle School, Columbus, NJ

    Copyright 2011 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • A 2012 YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults Title

    A 2012 Capitol Choices Noteworthy Book for Teens

    A Keystone to Reading Children's Choice Award Winner

    A 2014 Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award Nominee

    A 2012 YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults Title

    A 2012 Capitol Choices Noteworthy Book for Teens

    A Keystone to Reading Children's Choice Award Winner

    A 2014 Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award Nominee

  • Booklist, starred review Blending magic and realism, this is a subtly written, profoundly honest novel about a kid falling through the cracks and pulling himself back up.
  • VOYA, starred review King remarkably channels fifteen-year-old Lucky, creating one of the most believable teen male characters in young adult fiction.... This unique coming-of-age story will hold tremendous appeal for reluctant male readers.
  • Publishers Weekly, starred review A smart, funny, and passionate novel that embodies that idea that 'It Gets Better'—when you take action.
  • School Library Journal, starred review King's heartfelt tale easily blends realism and fantasy.... A haunting but at times funny tale about what it means to want to take one's life, but rising above it so that living becomes the better option.
  • The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review The unusual and occasionally comic juxtaposition of the POW experience with Lucky's victimization... [offers] compelling food for thought about the things we can control and the things we can't, and how that distinction ultimately determines the need for action.
  • The Horn Book, starred review King's themes of torture, physical and emotional imprisonment, and bullying connect in satisfying ways in this improbably witty and heartwarming story.
  • Kirkus Reviews A resonant, uplifting story about not just getting through, but powering through, the tough times.

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    Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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