Summer Reading Book Idea
Everybody Sees the Ants, by A. S. King
Let’s be clear: Lucky Linderman is NOT lucky. First of all, he’s named after his grandfather, a Vietnam POW who’s presumed dead. Also, because of an ill-worded homework survey intended to liven up the social studies curriculum (“If you were going to commit suicide, what method would you choose?”) he’s on wrist-slashing watch by the assorted powers and teachers-that-be. He’s being seriously bullied by Neanderthal-in-training Nader McMillan, whose blood pressure doesn’t even rise when grinds Lucky’s face into the pavement. And did I mention that his distant parents are too involved in their own middle-aged misery to notice how wretched he is? Lucky hasn’t smiled in over six months, and so far nothing’s tempted him to start up again. The only place where Lucky doesn’t suck is his dreamscape, a humid jungle full of danger where he heroically rescues his grandfather over and over. But he can’t keep hiding in his dreams forever, and when Nader finally goes too far, Lucky begins seeing the ants—tiny heralds who tell him the hard truth about what he needs to do to get his life back. There’s only one problem—Lucky’s not sure he wants it. This darkly humorous book may be one of the best I’ve ever read about how it feels to be relentlessly, aggressively bullied and how adults don’t do nearly enough to protect teens who are being targeted. Lucky’s story is raw, ragged, honest and true and quite possibly happening to you or someone you know. The way to make it end is both the easiest and hardest thing to do—act. Tell. Help. Read. And don’t stop until you see a change
--Jennifer Hubert Swan, www.readingrants.org.