I received this book for free from Little Brown and Company in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.I Crawl Through It by A.S. King
Published by Little Brown BfYR on September 22nd 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Magical Realism, YA
Source: Little Brown and Company
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Four teenagers are on the verge of exploding. The anxieties they face at every turn have nearly pushed them to the point of surrender: senseless high-stakes testing, the lingering damage of past trauma, the buried grief and guilt of tragic loss. They are desperate to cope, but no one is listening.
So they will lie. They will split in two. They will turn inside out. They will even build an invisible helicopter to fly themselves far away...but nothing releases the pressure. Because, as they discover, the only way to truly escape their world is to fly right into it.
The genius of acclaimed author A.S. King reaches new heights in this groundbreaking work of surrealist fiction; it will mesmerize readers with its deeply affecting exploration of how we crawl through traumatic experience-and find the way out.
This was an interesting book. It is a contemporary, but it’s told in such a cool way. Like the synopsis says, it’s surrealist fiction. The characters are so in depth and the storyline is intriguing. The base of it is the bomb threats that they get at school every single day. I really enjoyed all of the characters in different ways. They all have issues and can’t quite figure out how to deal. They have different ways of coping and some are really quite unnerving. One’s hair grows when they lie, and they are a compulsive liar, another literally turns herself inside out. One builds a helicopter that is invisible to most people, and the main character, Stanzi is two people in one. They each have these traits about them because of things that have happened to them or what they are going through. It was a very deep story under all the oddities of it. I found myself completely absorbed in it and didn’t want to come out.
Stanzi to me is the main character in this story, though they all have a major part in it. Stanzi is obsessed with biology. She always wears her lab coat. It is like her protection. She is also ridiculously smart. She believes that she is two people in one. She also can see Gustav’s helicopter, but only on Tuesdays. It’s really hard to explain her. She is very different, but not in a bad way. She has social issues, as all of them do, but it’s more herself that she is lost with. Her two souls are very different from each other. She fights herself constantly. Wanting to say things, but the other half doesn’t. Needing to get away while the other part wants to stay. She is a bit reckless, but not a danger to herself completely.
China was probably my favorite. She has literally swallowed herself and she is now inside out. Sometimes she is a stomach, sometimes a rectum, sometimes a different organ. She doesn’t know how to be herself without being inside out. Not since what happened to her. She was so interesting to read about. Her parents were too. The best thing about it was that it seems perfectly normal to people that she is inside out. Her parents don’t ask about it, her friends are used to it. It’s just who she is now. It’s sad though because she is like that to hide away from her life when she was the right way.
Gustav is the one who builds an invisible helicopter. It is real, just only a few people can actually see it. He is building it to get away. To go to a place where other geniuses live. He will take Stanzi with him when he goes. She is the natural choice. He has the worst social issues of all of them I think, but he is kind and smart, and I think the one with the least troubling issues.
Lansdale is a compulsive liar. She can’t help it. She tells one lie after another. Her hair grows for every lie she tells, so she has to constantly cut it or it would take over her. She’s beautiful and super smart like the others. She has a photographic memory. She doesn’t really fit in because she never stays anywhere too long because she lies so much. She wants to be normal, but doesn’t know how.
They all want the answers, but no one seems to know them. The one person who they think knows them probably does, but maybe they don’t understand the questions. This was really a bizarre book, but had so much meaning. I loved that it was so odd, but still was able to cover such important and deep topics. They way that they deal with them is dramatic, but it really pushes the point of how hard it is to deal with things, and how other people might really feel. Though most people don’t have magical hair or the ability to turn themselves inside out. This book really hit the mark and I think it was amazing. In a time when there are so many issue books out there to read, this was a magical way of writing one that is different, but still just as moving and important.
4 Hot Espressos
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This sounds really unique and neat!
This sounds like a great satirical commentary on our ridiculously strenuous education standards. Thanks for the review!
Cynthia @ Bingeing On Books
Great review. This is one that I am really looking forward to.
I am sad to say that I just had to give this one up. Maybe this author is not for me…
I usually go for surreal. I liked A History of Glitter and Blood, but I think a lot of it was just so crude. However, I am really glad to hear that you enjoyed it. 🙂
Ksenia @ Ksenia's Book Blog
Wonderful review, Amy! Glad to hear you enjoyed this book, though I’m not sure it is for me, maybe when I’m in the mood for a strange and bizarre story.