Everybody Sees the Ants

( 13 )

Overview

Lucky Linderman didn't ask for his life. He didn't ask his grandfather not to come home from the Vietnam War. He didn't ask for a father who never got over it. He didn't ask for a mother who keeps pretending their dysfunctional family is fine. And he didn't ask to be the target of Nader McMillan's relentless bullying, which has finally gone too far.

But Lucky has a secret—one that helps him wade through the mundane torture of his life. In his dreams, Lucky escapes to the ...

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Overview

Lucky Linderman didn't ask for his life. He didn't ask his grandfather not to come home from the Vietnam War. He didn't ask for a father who never got over it. He didn't ask for a mother who keeps pretending their dysfunctional family is fine. And he didn't ask to be the target of Nader McMillan's relentless bullying, which has finally gone too far.

But Lucky has a secret—one that helps him wade through the mundane torture of his life. In his dreams, Lucky escapes to the war-ridden jungles of Laos—the prison his grandfather couldn't escape—where Lucky can be a real man, an adventurer, and a hero. It's dangerous and wild, and it's a place where his life just might be worth living. But how long can Lucky keep hiding in his dreams before reality forces its way inside?

Michael L. Printz Honor recipient A.S. King's smart, funny and boldly original writing shines in this powerful novel about learning to cope with the shrapnel life throws at you—and taking a stand against it.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
* Blending magic and realism, this is a subtly written, profoundly honest novel about a kid falling through the cracks and pulling himself back up.
Publishers Weekly
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.)
From the Publisher

A 2012 YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults Title
A 2012 Capitol Choices Noteworthy Book for Teens
A Keystone to Reading Children's Choice Award Winner
A 2014 Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award Nominee

* "Blending magic and realism, this is a subtly written, profoundly honest novel about a kid falling through the cracks and pulling himself back up."—Booklist, starred review

* "King remarkably channels fifteen-year-old Lucky, creating one of the most believable teen male characters in young adult fiction.... This unique coming-of-age story will hold tremendous appeal for reluctant male readers."—VOYA, starred review

* "A smart, funny, and passionate novel that embodies the idea that 'It Gets Better'--when you take action."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

* "King's heartfelt tale easily blends realism and fantasy.... A haunting but at times funny tale about what it means to want to take one's life, but rising above it so that living becomes the better option."—School Library Journal, starred review

* "King's themes of torture, physical and emotional imprisonment, and bullying connect in satisfying ways in this improbably witty and heartwarming story."—The Horn Book, starred review

* "The unusual and occasionally comic juxtaposition of the POW experience with Lucky's victimization... [offers] compelling food for thought about the things we can control and the things we can't, and how that distinction ultimately determines the need for action."—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review

"A resonant, uplifting story about not just getting through, but powering through, the tough times."Kirkus Reviews

The Horn Book
* "King's themes of torture, physical and emotional imprisonment, and bullying connect in satisfying ways in this improbably witty and heartwarming story."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
* "The unusual and occasionally comic juxtaposition of the POW experience with Lucky's victimization... [offers] compelling food for thought about the things we can control and the things we can't, and how that distinction ultimately determines the need for action."
starred review Booklist
* "Blending magic and realism, this is a subtly written, profoundly honest novel about a kid falling through the cracks and pulling himself back up."
VOYA - Paula Gallagher
Lucky Linderman's life is anything but fortunate. His controversial social studies survey landed him in the principal's office, with a bonus visit to the guidance counselor. His dad is a conflict-avoiding "turtle," a workaholic chef who is a POW/MIA activist. His mom, a self-proclaimed "squid," spends her days swimming laps. Lucky is plagued by Nader McMillan, a bully who has tormented him since the age of seven and shows no signs of letting up. After a particularly brutal session of physical abuse, Lucky's mom surprises him with a trip to Arizona to visit her brother and his wife. Meanwhile, Lucky has a secret nightlife—he repeatedly attempts to rescue his POW grandfather in Vietnam via surreal jungle dreams. Then there are the ants, a kind of anthropomorphic Greek chorus of insects that have begun to illustrate his thoughts. King remarkably channels fifteen-year-old Lucky, creating one of the most believable teen male characters in young adult fiction. Readers will empathize with his problems and root for him as he searches for the best way to finally take control of his own life. Ginny, the feminist neighbor and "hair model," proves a good foil. Adult characters fare well here too, as King reveals their strengths and flaws, making them three dimensional in a way that many authors fail to do. Lucky comes to understand that he is not alone in suffering. This unique coming-of-age story will hold tremendous appeal for reluctant male readers. Reviewer: Paula Gallagher
Kirkus Reviews

An involving, if slightly uneven, follow-up to Printz Honor winner Please Ignore Vera Dietz (2010).

"If you were going to commit suicide, what method would you choose?" This smart-aleck survey question developed for a social-studies assignment sends the cruelly mis-named Lucky Linderman's life straight into the sewer. Misunderstood by school administrators, tormented by the school's bully-in-chief Nader McMillan, fretted over by his ineffective parents, Lucky launches the ultra-stoic "Operation Don't Smile Ever" to protect himself, but privately he seethes with rage and sadness. In his dreams—the only place he can exercise any authority or skill—Lucky stages bold, elaborate rescue missions to bring his Vietnam-era POW/MIA grandfather home. After Nader assaults Lucky at the community pool, Lucky and his swimming-obsessed mom decamp to Arizona to visit relatives and recuperate. Readers will fall hard for Lucky's aching, disgusted, hopeful and triumphant voice, but this otherwise deeply realistic story falters a bit whenever elements of magical realism intrude. The titular Greek chorus of ants, a shape-shifting facial scab, the items that accompany Lucky home from his dreams: None of them quite mesh with the story, instead forcing readers to question Lucky's sanity when they should be completely on his side.

Readers who look beyond these problems will find a resonant, uplifting story about not just getting through, but powering through, the tough times. (Fiction. 15 & up)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316129275
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 9/18/2012
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 74,613
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

A.S. King is the author of the highly acclaimed Everybody Sees the Ants and the Edgar Award nominated, Michael L. Printz Honor Book Please Ignore Vera Dietz, described as "deeply suspenseful and profoundly human" by Publishers Weekly and picked as one of Kirkus Reviews' Best Books for Teens 2010. She is also the author of The Dust of 100 Dogs, described as "undeniably original" by Booklist and picked as one of ALA's Best Books for Young Adults. After returning from Ireland, where she spent over a decade living off the land, teaching adult literacy, and writing novels, King now lives deep in the Pennsylvania woods with her husband and children. Learn more at www.as-king.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 13 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Another amazing and original book from A.S. King.

    I see the ants.

    This is a touching, funny and nuanced story about Lucky Linderman, a fifteen year old who has a long legacy of being bullied by a horrible kid that no one seems to be willing to stop. But that's not all it's about; there is so much in this book that I bet everyone who reads it gets a little something different out of it. Here's what I took from it: Lucky Linderman is a good kid in a bad situation. He's a good kid who finds himself the victim of Nader McMillan, the community bully/jerk/a-hole. Lucky is also the son of clueless parents who don't mean to be neglectful, but kind of are due to their inaction. He's a good kid who is a product of the crappy things that go on in his life until he realizes he doesn't need to be. I'm not going to talk about the magic realism in this book, because I don't want to take away from it, but through certain scenes, Lucky realizes what life is about, no, what HIS life is about and how he needs to be an active participant in it if he wants it to change.

    There's so much I loved in this book, from the character Lucky himself, to Ginny and Lucky's mom, to the little things that made it so different from anything I'd read before, like Lucky's healing wound, frank talk about the Vietnam War draft lottery, the way Lucky sees his parents and...well I could go on and on, but I'd rather leave it up to you to discover. Another great book from A.S. King!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 23, 2011

    wonderous

    The kind of book that bebds reality bur never loses reality. A fantastic exploration of family and friendship. Lucky linderman will linger in my head foquite some time, I know it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Must Read!! Review by Bookittyblog

    I usually like reading from a female's POV. For obvious reasons I can identify myself more with them. But reading from Lucky's POV was different. I felt very protective of him. I couldn't get why "mom" and "dad" couldn't protect better their son, but as the book progressed I kind of got why everything was happening. I don't want to get into details because I will spoil the book.



    All her characters were amazing and realistic. One of the characters that impact me the most was Aunt Jodi because it reminds me of someone close to me. It amazed me how much they were so alike (Aunt Jodi and that someone). Oh and the ants!! One of my favorite things about the book were the ants. They were hilarious!



    This book touched my heart, broke it and made me laughed like a crazy person. A.S. King is incredible with words, and I admire that she decided to write about bullying, to educate us about how bad the situations is for some kids out there.



    I want to say something to people who witness bullying, if you see someone getting bullied do something don't stand there and act like nothing is wrong. You might save a life



    VIVA THE ANTS!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2014

    The book, ¿Everybody Sees the Ants,¿ by A.S. King explores a boy

    The book, “Everybody Sees the Ants,” by A.S. King explores a boy named Lucky Linderman and how Lucky tries to overcome his school bully Nader. The conflict in this story is external and character vs. character. Lucky has been repeatingly bullied by Nader since second grad, and now Lucky is in high school. For example, like how Nader says,”Don’t help her” because Charlotte’s bikini top fell off in the pool which shows how rude Nader is. So, Lucky and his mom go to their Aunt Jodi’s house for a vacation from everything, and met a girl there that changes him. The second conflict is Lucky’s parents. Lucky’s mother is absolutely addicted to swimming as it says,”My mother is addicted to swimming. I don’t mean this in a cute, doing handstands-in-the-shallow-end sort of way.” Then, there is Lucky’s father who knows Lucky is getting bullied, but doesn’t do anything about it. Which shows as Lucky says,”maybe she thinks being a squid means she won’t be swallowed by the hole in our family,” […] Dad says was ,: It would have been better if my dad had come home in a bag, because then at least we could know.” Then he transforms into a turtle,” which shows how Lucky’s mother and father are cowards and won’t face their problems.
    I like this book, because how it shows Lucky growing and learning a lesson through all of this. For example, how to stand up for himself and to be independent. Also, it teaches you there can be ups and downs in life. For example, “ NO matter what I do, I can never get away from it. It’s like we’re cursed.” I also like in this book is Lucky can see imaginary ants because that symbolizes his self-concious and how he feels or what he sees. For example,” […] You’re bleeding a little, and hand me a tissue. The ants say: aren’t we all bleeding a little?” Also how Lucky’s scab symbolizes how much hes grown and the more he gets stronger physicaly and emotionaly. For example,” I feel the fresh, smooth parts and marvel at how soft they are. New skin amazes me. New skin is a miracle. It is proof that we can heal.” I would recommend this book to anyone goinig through rough times, getting bullied in high school, or anyone because, “Everybody Sees The Ants,” teaches you a lesson.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 22, 2013

    Better than we thought it would be.

    A book club I belong to had this as their book of the month. No one anticipated we would like it, but we all did. It was entertaining, and we could see ourselves in the characters. The people and dialogue were true to life. The situations were believable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2013

    very well written

    It was a surprisingly good read about a young man's coming off age, dealing with his parents' benign neglect and his experience with bullying.
    I liked it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2013

    Weird

    :(

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2012

    Pretty good(:

    This book is a good read. I can see how some people would not like it but everyone has different tastes and views, so reviews are just oponons... i reccomend giving this book a try :) who knows? You might just like it.

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  • Posted February 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Unfortunately the book's strengths are not complemented by the book's plot

    There are some things you need to know about Lucky Linderman.

    First: His mother is a squid. She swims more than two hundred laps every day. No matter what. Even when Lucky has some new bruises courtesy of Nader McMillan or her husband once again flakes on his familial duties.

    Second: His father is a turtle. Lucky's grandfather never came home from Vietnam and Lucky's dad never recovered. He spends all of his time hiding in his shell or working at the restaurant instead of actually being a father.

    Third: Lucky doesn't smile. Ever. Not since asking one stupid question for one stupid project in Social Studies (the class actually isn't stupid--Lucky kind of likes it). He is definitely not going to smile since that one stupid question brought him nothing but trouble and the renewed hatred of Nader McMillan.

    Fourth: Ever since Lucky was seven he's been having strange dreams. Now the dreams are his only refuge as he spends each night in the war-torn jungles of Laos trying to finally bring his grandfather home from the war he could never leave.

    But even dreams that seem as real as Lucky's can only last so long before it's time to really wake up in Everybody Sees the Ants by A. S. King.

    Everybody Sees the Ants is King's follow-up to her Printz Honor book Please Ignore Vera Dietz. It was also a finalist for the 2011 Cybils in Young Adult Fiction which is how I came to read it.

    There are certain books that I enjoy upon first reading them. But the more I think about them, the more I really look at all of the little details, the more problems I have. Everybody Sees the Ants was that kind of book.

    While not actually a mystery, Everybody Sees the Ants is structured in such a way that readers do not initially get a linear story nor do they get the full story. Anyone looking for a puzzle to put together will enjoy the multiple angles of this book. Lucky is a shockingly authentic* narrator with a voice and story all his own. King's writing is painfully intense and quirky as Lucky drags readers through dense Laos jungle and the even deeper problems of his own life.

    Unfortunately these strengths are not complemented by the book's plot which is filled with numerous holes and seemingly random details that added little to the plot itself. Without delving into specifics, King never fully explains the nature of Lucky's dreams which creates a fundamental problem with the structure of the book. Similarly, readers never really understand why one teenaged boy is able to not only bully but literally terrorize an entire town with absolutely no intervention from any adults or the authorities.** Other moments were easily predicted or simply heavy-handed as King was at pains to make certain points about Lucky's relationships with his parents and the world at large.

    If you aren't looking for a book that needs to answer all of your questions or stand up to a close reading, Everybody Sees the Ants might still appeal.

    *Unlike me, you probably already knew that King was a female author. I didn't know that while reading the book and was completely floored to find out A. S. King was not a man. That's how authentic Lucky's voice is in this story.

    **I maintain my stance that Nader should have been institutionalized as a psychopath long before the events of this book started.

    Possible Pairings: Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen, Liar by Justine Larbalestier, The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga, The Piper's Son by Meli

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted October 9, 2011

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    Posted May 29, 2014

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    Posted September 27, 2013

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    Posted February 27, 2012

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews

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