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Kid Konnection: Everybody Sees the Ants

September 29, 2012

Lucky Linderman has been bullied by Nader McMillan for as long as he can remember.  He turned to his parents, but they’re no help – Lucky’s  father has never gotten over the fact that his own father was missing in action in the Vietnam War and his mother drowns her sorrows in the swimming pool.  There’s not much Lucky can do except escape in dreams where he encounters his grandfather in the jungles of Vietnam.  It seems odd to have a dream relationship with a grandfather you’ve never met, but Lucky is hoping to help his grandfather come back from the war and in return his grandfather teaches him about life.

When things with Nader get out of hand, Lucky and his mother escape to Arizona and stay with his aunt and uncle for a while.  The trip proves to be cathartic in more than one way.  Lucky grows in ways he never could have imagined and returns home ready to face his problems.

There’s a lot going on in Everybody Sees the Ants, by A. S. King, but it’s not a complicated book.  King was able to address quite a few issues in this book without making it cumbersome or confusing.  Quite the opposite in fact – I found it to be fresh and compelling!  This book was named a 2012 Top Ten Books for Young Adults by the American Library Association for good reason.  It’s sure to become a classic and needs to be discussed in schools.

As much as our society talks about bullying prevention, we don’t always follow through so I was glad to see King’s honest portrayal of the adults’ reaction to Nader’s behavior.  This should serve as a wake-up call to adults that it’s time to stop giving this problem lip service and finally address it head on.  Besides bullying, King takes on war and families, but it never felt like too much – it all worked perfectly together.

The hero of Everybody Sees the Ants is Lucky and what a fine hero he is!  With all he’s been through, he has every right to be bitter and jaded, but he’s not.  He’s kind and sweet and somewhat naive.  He vows not to smile for a whole year but you still know, deep down inside, he’s a great kid.  I wanted to hug him and tell him everything would be alright.

I listened to the audio version of this book.  It’s narrated by Kirby Heyborne and he does a superb job.  This is the first time I’ve listened to a book he’s read and I have to say I was impressed.  The audiobook is on 7 CDs and last approximately 7 and a half hours.  I know I’m not doing this book justice, but I just loved it and heartily recommend it.

For more children’s books reviews, go to Booking Mama’s feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site.

Review copy provided by Random House.  I am an Indiebound Affliate.
22 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2012 8:15 am

    I need to check this book out. Like you said, it’s important for bullying to be discussed and followed through. I always try looking for great books that resonate with young ones on this topic.

  2. September 29, 2012 8:19 am

    Lucky sounds like a great hero, this one sounds really good and like it touches on an important topic.

  3. September 29, 2012 8:21 am

    This sounds like a great book for exploring the ways that adults really aren’t there – making it a good read for kids and for adults alike. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  4. September 29, 2012 8:32 am

    This sounds really good! Another book from you to go on my list!!!

  5. Patty permalink
    September 29, 2012 8:52 am

    Oh I really do need to read this one!

  6. bookingmama permalink
    September 29, 2012 9:12 am

    This book is truly special! Can’t wait for Amy’s latest!

  7. September 29, 2012 9:34 am

    OOH I have been looking for my next audio book! This sounds good.

  8. September 29, 2012 9:37 am

    This is on my TBR list, I’ve heard good things about it, and am anxiously awaiting receipt.

  9. September 29, 2012 10:15 am

    I read a different book of hers, The Dust of 100 Dogs and it was pretty amazing too. I would definitely read this one. Great review!

  10. talesofwhimsy permalink
    September 29, 2012 10:32 am

    Sounds good. I need to look this one up.

  11. September 29, 2012 5:55 pm

    I loved this one as well and look forward to her next book.

  12. September 29, 2012 6:52 pm

    Sounds very good and addresses some important issues.

  13. September 29, 2012 9:16 pm

    This sounds pretty good. Great review.

  14. September 30, 2012 9:31 am

    This one sounds like a great book and absolutely one to share and discuss!!!

  15. September 30, 2012 10:19 am

    I need to read this one. I’m glad to hear the audio is good, I might go that way.

  16. September 30, 2012 12:34 pm

    I was already hooked – and then you mentioned Kirby Heyborne, who is a favorite. This one goes on the to-read list!

  17. September 30, 2012 4:43 pm

    I’ve heard of this one before and have it on my must-read list. It sounds really amazing and well-written.

  18. October 1, 2012 12:16 am

    Looks like one more kids and parents need to read.

  19. October 1, 2012 2:55 am

    This does sound like a wonderful read, and a manageable audio length too! Bullying is a timely topic and I’m glad to hear the author handles it well. I’ve read one book by this author and look forward to reading more of her books.

  20. zibilee permalink
    October 1, 2012 11:36 am

    The last book I read by A.S, King was amazing as well, and this one sounds very good. I like that there is actually something done about the bullies, and not just lip service, like you mentioned. It’s so hard for kids in school today. Very nice review today!

  21. October 1, 2012 8:29 pm

    Sounds like it is timely and well written — what more could we want?

  22. October 7, 2012 7:27 am

    I was ambivalent about this one, but your thoughts make it more appealing.

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