cover image Everybody Sees the Ants

Everybody Sees the Ants

A.S. King. Little, Brown, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-316-12928-2

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. (Oct.)