'Everybody Sees The Ants' by A. S. King

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library - Central LibraryStaff Picks

'Everybody Sees The Ants' by A. S. King

Everybody Sees The Ants by A. S. KingConsidering how cold and snowy it's been lately, a book set in a hot place would be great to warm up with.

How about a literary vacation in Arizona? It would be great, unless you’re using it to escape a terrible bully and a wrecked home life, like Lucky. Find out about his summertime trials and tribulations in Everybody Sees The Ants by A. S. King.
 
Lucky Linderman has been bullied by Nader McMillian for most of his life, culminating in a particularly horrific locker room incident after he gets Nader in trouble. His father spends more time cooking in a restaurant than listening to Lucky’s problems. His mother goes along with his father, as long as he lets her keep swimming laps in the pool. While all this is going on, Lucky is having dreams about rescuing his POW/MIA grandfather from Vietnam, an incident which has defined his family.

After another attack from Nader results in Lucky being injured, he and his mom go to Arizona to stay with their wacky relatives Uncle Dave and Aunt Jodi. While there, Lucky meets Ginny Clemens, a knockout girl with problems of her own, and gets some perspective on his own issues. When he goes back to Pennsylvania, will he be able to heal his family and deal with Nader?
 
The many elements of this book are woven together into a fantastic story. Anyone who has ever been bullied will sympathize with Lucky’s plight and his inability to deal with Nader, as well as his frustration with how the adults in his life can’t or won’t help him. Lucky’s first-person narration is full of witty snark that is great to read. The titular ants of the story let us know what Lucky is really thinking when he cannot express himself. There are a lot of little details that make Arizona come to life and bake the reader in the 100+ heat as they read. The dreams he has of his grandfather also lend an element of magical realism to this story, since you’re never sure if they are real or not.

The resolution or the story isn’t a perfect ending, but it is believable. This is definitely a great book for teen readers, especially those who are bullied and to wake those who are bullies. 
 
Everybody Sees The Ants is recommended for mid- to late-teen readers. Check it out along with other books by A. S. King at your local DC Public Library branch today!
-- Brandon Digwood