Everybody Sees the Ants
By A.S. King
Expected publication October 3, 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Lucky Linderman doesn't really feel like he lives up to his name. First, there is the fact that he has a squid and a turtle for parents. Second, there is Nader McMillan, who's been bullying Lucky since he was seven and never getting in trouble for it. And lastly, there were his grandmother's last words to him, telling him he is responsible for rescuing his POW/MIA grandfather from Vietnam. Will Lucky find a way to bring his grandfather home? And, in the process, could he maybe address those other two issues of his?
I didn't really know anything about this when I picked up a copy at ALA. But I did read King's Printz Honor book, Please Ignore Vera Dietz, and enjoyed it. This is similar in tone and style. It deals with some heavy issues in a non-traditional sort of way. Once again, King keeps the chapters pretty short which makes the book flow and move quickly. And again, King creates a very realistic and sympathetic main character, while also creating a good arsenal of secondary characters for the main character to play off. I didn't enjoy this quite as much as Vera Dietz, though. I didn't feel as compelled by Lucky as I had by Vera. And this book didn't have as many endearing and quirky aspects as the other - I didn't enjoy Lucky's dream sequences as much as the alternating viewpoints King used in Vera's story. I did like Lucky's character growth throughout the novel and where his character ended up. However, I didn't really enjoy the final chapter - it seemed a bit magical and out of place. It was similar to the end of Vera's story in that everything wasn't explained. And I find that frustrating in both of these situations. I wish there were a more complete ending. But, this was still a good read with an easy to relate to main character.
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.