Young Adult Novels
A.S. King's novels are for ages 14 and up and are available through any major retailer.
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A surreal and timely novel about isolation and human connection from Michael L. Printz Award winner A.S. King.
Time has stopped. It's been June 23, 2020 for nearly a year as far as anyone can tell. Frantic adults demand teenagers focus on finding practical solutions to the worldwide crisis. Not everyone is on board though.
Javelin-throwing prodigy Truda Becker is pretty sure her "Solution Time" class won't solve the world's problems, but she does have a few ideas what might. Truda lives in a house with a switch that no one ever touches, a switch her father protects every day by nailing it into hundreds of progressively larger boxes. But Truda's got a crow bar, and one way or another, she's going to see what happens when she flips the switch.
★ “King explores the meaning of time and the toxicity of family secrets. This inventive, surreal novel’s dedication, ‘For the class of 2020,’ makes a direct address to real-life teens’ ‘lost’ COVID-19 year.” —Horn Book, starred review
"A work of literary genius."—Booklist
"Printz Award winner King returns with another surrealist masterpiece."—Kirkus
MARCH 26, 2019
★"King’s narrative concerns are racism, patriarchy, colonialism, white privilege, and the ingrained systems that perpetuate them. [Her] trademark surrealism and trenchant prose will speak profoundly to a generation of young people who are waking up to the societal sins of the past and working toward a more equitable future.” —The Horn Book (starred)
"A.S. King challenges readers from the first page to the last. Dig will make you question the confines of your comfort zone--if you have one. An incredible addition to an already impressive body of work."--Erin Entrada Kelly, New York Times bestselling author and Newbery medalist
★"This visceral examination of humanity’s flaws and complexity […] cultivates hope in a younger generation that’s wiser and stronger than its predecessors.”—Booklist, starred
“[This] strange and heart-wrenching tale is stunningly original.”—Kirkus
The Dust of 100 Dogs
In the late 17th century, famed pirate Emer Morrisey was on the cusp of escaping pirate life with her one true love and unfathomable riches when she was slain and cursed with the dust of 100 dogs, dooming her to one hundred lives as a dog before returning to a human body—with her memories intact.
Now she's a contemporary American teenager, and all she needs is a shovel and a ride to Jamaica.
Still Life with Tornado
"Moving, unapologetically strange, skillfully constructed. Read this book, whatever your age. You may find it’s the exact shape and size of the hole in your heart.”
—New York Times Book Review
Sarah can’t draw. This is a problem, because as long as she can remember, she has “done the art.” She thinks she’s having an existential crisis. And she might be right; she does keep running into past and future versions of herself as she explores the urban ruins of Philadelphia. Or maybe she’s finally waking up to the tornado that is her family, the tornado that six years ago sent her once-beloved older brother flying across the country for a reason she can’t quite recall.
After decades of staying together “for the kids” and building a family on a foundation of lies and violence, Sarah’s parents have reached the end. Now Sarah must come to grips with years spent sleepwalking in the ruins of their toxic marriage. As Sarah herself often observes, nothing about her pain is remotely original —and yet it still hurts. Insightful, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful, this is a vivid portrait of everyday abuse and survival that will linger with readers long after the last page.
I Crawl Through It
"King’s devotion to a passionately experimental style, in a genre often beholden to formula, is inspiring. Kurt Vonnegut might have written a book like this.”
—New York Times Book Review
Four accomplished teenagers are on the verge of explosion. The anxieties they face at every turn have nearly pushed them to the point of surrender: senseless high-stakes testing, the lingering damage of 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 build an invisible helicopter to fly themselves far away from the pressure…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.
Glory O'Brien's History of the Future
"Maybe there are writers more adept than King at capturing the outrageous and outraged voice of teenagers, but it’s difficult to think of one. Her Glory is a wondrous creation, sarcastic, witty, sensitive, insightful."
—New York Times Book Review
Graduating from high school is a time of limitless possibilities—but not for Glory, who has no plan for what's next. Her mother died by suicide when Glory was only four years old, and she’s never stopped wondering if she will eventually go the same way...until a transformative night when she begins to experience an astonishing new power to see a person’s infinite past and future. From ancient ancestors to many generations forward, Glory is bombarded with visions—and what she sees ahead of her is terrifying.
A tyrannical new leader raises an army. Women’s rights disappear. A violent second civil war breaks out. And young girls vanish daily, sold off or interned in camps. Glory makes it her mission to record everything she sees, hoping her notes will somehow make a difference. She may not see a future for herself, but she’ll do everything in her power to make sure this one doesn’t come to pass.
In this masterpiece about freedom, feminism, and destiny, Printz Honor author A.S. King tells the epic story of a girl coping with devastating loss at long last—a girl who has no idea that the future needs her, and that the present needs her even more.
"A.S. King is one of the best Y.A. writers working today. She captures the disorientation of adolescence brilliantly."
—New York Times Book Review
Gerald Faust knows exactly when he started feeling angry: the day his mother invited a reality television crew into his five-year-old life. Twelve years later, he’s still haunted by his rage-filled youth—which the entire world got to watch from every imaginable angle—and his anger issues have resulted in violent outbursts, zero friends, and clueless adults dumping him in the special education room at school.
Nothing is ever going to change. No one cares that he’s tried to learn to control himself, and the girl he likes has no idea who he really is. Everyone’s just waiting for him to snap…and he’s starting to feel dangerously close to doing just that.
In this fearless portrayal of a boy on the edge, highly acclaimed Printz Honor author A.S. King explores the desperate reality of a former child “star” who finally breaks free of his anger by creating possibilities he never knew he deserved.
Ask the Passengers
☆ "King continues to expertly plumb the lovely numbness of a young person struck by emotional paralysis...Another thoughtful, and often breathtaking achievement."—Booklist (starred)
Astrid Jones copes with her small town's gossip and narrow-mindedness by sending her love to the passengers in the airplanes flying overhead. Maybe they'll know what to do with it. Maybe it'll make them happy. Maybe they'll need it.
Her mother doesn't want it, her father's always stoned, her perfect sister's too busy trying to fit in, and the people in her small town would never allow her to love the person she really wants to--another girl named Dee. There's no one Astrid feels she can talk to about this deep secret or the profound questions that she's trying to answer. But little does she know just how much sending her love--and asking the right questions--will affect the passengers' lives, and her own, for the better.
In this unmistakably original portrayal of a girl struggling to break free of society's boxes and definitions, Printz Honor author A.S. King asks readers to question everything--and offers hope to those who will never stop seeking and sharing real love.
Everybody Sees the Ants
☆ "Blending magic and realism, this is a subtly written, profoundly honest novel" --Booklist (starred)
Lucky Linderman doesn't want to wake up.
Lucky 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 daily 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 might just 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.
Please Ignore Vera Dietz
☆ “The book is deeply suspenseful and profoundly human.”—Publishers Weekly (starred)
Eighteen-year-old Vera's spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she's kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything.
So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, or even the police. But will she emerge and clear his name? Does she even want to?
An edgy, gripping story, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is an unforgettable novel: smart, funny, dramatic, and always surprising.
Anthologies & Collections
COMING OCT. 4, 2022
What does the future hold? Ten speculative short stories by leading young-adult authors imagine what the world could be through the lens of technologies emerging today.
When the modification industry transforms how humans look, sound, and interact, a nonbinary teen braves the “reinvention room” to accept a gift from the dead. In an accidental city in space, a young apprentice holds neighborhoods together with braided carbon filaments until distraction and inspiration arrive in the wake of a visitor. Entitlement-fueled drug use alters the landscape of white privilege, robots remember the Earth, and corporate “walkers” stroll for unknown subscribers—until one hacks the system.
In tales buzzing with possibility, hope, innovation, anger, and tenderness, Tasting Light offers a dazzling challenge to connect with open minds, hearts, and senses in a fast-changing world.