…On Everybody Sees The Ants by A.S. King

Posted April 16, 2012 by Asheley in Uncategorized / 19 Comments

Everybody Sees The Ants
by A.S. King
Published by Little, Brown BYR

Publish Date:  October 3, 2011
279 Pages
Source:  Library

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 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 just might be worth living. But how long can Lucky keep hiding in his dreams before reality forces its way inside?
 -(summary excerpt from Goodreads.com)

Everybody Sees The Ants by A.S. King 

My Thoughts:  I actually kind of shocked myself when I picked this book up at the library. I read it – a LONG time ago. And I still have it. And it’s wildly overdue because I’ve reread parts of it over and over. I’m still trying to figure out my thoughts on it exactly. 

The first thing you need to know is this
No, I haven’t read Please Ignore Vera Dietz yet. 
I know you guys are going to ask that question. Y’all remember that I’m new to this contemporary thing, right? I totally have Vera on my mental TBR and totally intend to read it. I’m very serious. I just am SO NEW to this, I haven’t gotten around to it yet. That being said…

The second thing you need to know is this
I found this book so hard to read.
I don’t mean that in a bad way. I mean that in a “it-needs-to-be-read” way.
I’m sure that when everyone reads a book – at least some books – they all can take different little pieces from it. The large chunk of what I grabbed from Everybody Sees The Ants is the bullying that went on toward Lucky Linderman and how he felt powerless to stand up to it. Not only did he feel powerless to stand up to it, but he felt like he had nobody there to support him or help him stand up to the awful guy that was terrorizing him – his friends certainly didn’t back him and he couldn’t even count on his parents to help him out because they had some pretty intense issues of their own that they shouldn’t have placed before the needs of their son. 

I also really had a hard time reading this because of some of the other characters and their issues. There are several female characters in the book in supporting roles: specifically Lucky’s mom, Lucky’s aunt, and Lucky’s friend Ginny. These characters are all flawed in their own ways and I could see a little too much of myself in them. And UGH I hate that. (This is one of the reasons that I have stayed largely away from contemporary books in the past – I don’t like to see negative features of myself in book characters. No need to go any further with that. Just, UGH.) 

The third thing you need to know is this
I LOVE how developed EVERY character was in this book. 
If you follow anything I review, I tend to talk a lot about character development – specifically development of the main character across the story and/or development of the secondary cast. While I cannot relate to a teenage boy on a personal level, I was able to connect with Lucky emotionally (he broke my heart and frustrated me so!) and I watched him struggle to develop from the beginning of the book to the end. He had a hard time, but he did it! Most of the YA books I read have female leads that may or may not develop in character, so it was nice to see this in a young male lead. 

The secondary cast was brilliant in this book. Every single one of them had their own issues – BIG ISSUES – and they were so three-dimensional that I felt like I knew them in real life by the end of the book. I’m sure this is why I had a saw myself in some of the characters and had a hard time reading the book – because they were so REAL. There was never a point where the main focus of this book strayed – the story always centered around Lucky – but the other characters had such full lives around him. 

The fourth thing you need to know is this
I was not aware of bullying to this degree. 
I was not FULLY aware of examples of guys bullying other guys. 
I’ve always thought of bullying in terms of young kids being bullied by other young kids that are just a little bit older, maybe taking their lunch money or name-calling. Or maybe girls bullying other girls – girls can be so cruel, you guys. But the bullying that went on this book made me sick to my stomach and made me mad at myself that I have been so naive or thoughtless. And I felt so, so sad for this character – because he is representative of real life young guys who deal with this crap all the time. It is absolutely unacceptable that this goes on, and it is also unacceptable that I didn’t really know about it. A.S. King is awesome for tackling this subject as a female writer – writing about a tough subject from a young male perspective – that a lot of us females aren’t really given insight to. How awesome is she, you guys?


Everybody Sees The Ants is very relevant to life today, I think, considering all we hear in the media about bullying. We’re bombarded by it at times, be it by the news or movie-specials or whatever. When I finished reading this book, I certainly wasn’t smiling and happy. I didn’t hug the book or want to re-read it again immediately. I had to think about it for a long time and am still thinking on it, actually. I’m still not entirely sure of my thoughts, I just know that I HAVE THEM. Everybody Sees The Ants speaks loudly and needs to be read. 

I loved the writing. I loved the characterization. I loved the character development. I even loved the story, despite being hard for me to get through. I was a little bit confused by the parts of the story that dealt with Lucky’s grandfather in Vietnam visiting him in his dreams, but I’m okay with that confusion. I think that what I took away from the book more than made up for it. 

I highly recommend this book for fans of YA contemporary fiction if you haven’t read it already – but I think I would recommend it to older YA readers and YA-loving adults because of some of the language. I think it is unforgettable and important.

Everybody Sees The Ants will appeal to fans of
Young Adult Contemporary Fiction
Books with Issues: Bullying
Character-Driven Stories
Everybody Sees The Ants by A.S. King
 is currently available for purchase.


About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!


19 responses to “…On Everybody Sees The Ants by A.S. King

  1. I've never heard of this one before Asheley! But a huge YAY for fantastic character development in not only the main characters, but the secondary ones as well. Love it when extra care is given to the secondary characters, they can elevate a story to the next level I think. I'm with you in that contemporary isn't my go-to genre, but it's always fun to try something new I think, so this is going on the list!


    Glad you liked it!

    That is all.

    • I know you loved this one! I'm glad and I'm glad you told me why you loved it because it helped me understand it a little better. And maybe like it a little better too.

      I have a feeling we'll be blown away with Vera Dietz when we read that one.

      Also, this is my favorite Adam comment EVER!!

      That is all.

  3. I have seen this book around before but it never really piqued my interest…UNTIL NOW! Wow, the issue of bullying is something I've never really encountered in fiction yet AND it has fully-developed characters too! Double-sold!

    • I never would've picked it up (particularly with that Al Pacino Scarface-looking cover) except that I saw a blog post on it and randomly picked it up at the library. And when I read it, the bullying in it kind of hit me in the gut. And yes, the characters – so great and well-written. It might be a good one for your book club, actually, if you ever do YA.

  4. Haha as soon as I saw your first paragraph I thought 'I'm going to ask her if she's read Vera'. 🙂 It's one of my favorite books ever. This one is hard to read and you hit the nail on the head about everything. The bullying aspects are so horrifying and make you feel powerless, but like you said it needs to be read. Great review!

    • Thanks Lori! I already had Vera kind of high on my list because I'm thinking Vera is an award-winner, right? And I need to add some award-winners to my reading for Jacinda's challenge soon! But this one just sort of stunned me because I wasn't expecting that level of bullying or intense writing. Seriously, it's been WEEKS and I'm not over it yet. I can see why you love A.S. King.

    • You know what, Meg…I think you'd like this one. It's not happy-feely cherry-on-top great, but it is great because it's just GREAT. I can totally respect excellent writing, an excellent story, and fantastic characters. You should add it to your TBR and read it when you get the chance. 😉

  5. Wow I hadn't really looked into this book before I had no idea it was this good. I love a good in depth book with great characters like this. It sounds really amazing I definitely have to add this to my list! Fantastic review Asheley!!

  6. Thanks Giselle! This is definitely outside of my normal reading but I've been trying to reading outside of my norm lately. It's good and it makes you think a great deal. Excellent characters, and I know that is important to you – so, yeah, you might want to pick it up if you're ever in the mood for an issue-related contemporary. 😉

  7. I haven't read Vera Dietz yet either, actually this author just popped up on my radar very recently and I was like, what's all this about? But after reading your review I definitely want to know more. I a big fan of Contemp. YA (also a recent development) and I wish, wish, wish my library stocked this book. Not only for me to borrow but because, yes, it seems absolutely relevant in today's world.

    And yes! Girls can be SO mean! I tell my sons that all the time;)

    Stunning review Asheley, really.

    • Thanks Heather! Maybe your library could buy a copy if you request them to? My library actually JUST bought it – I was the first person to check it out! It's worth it to be on their shelves. There may be some kid that actually would benefit from reading it, some kid actually going thru the same things Lucky Linderman went thru.

  8. Your reaction to this book reminds me of a point in TFiOS where Hazel, the main character, says that she's not sure what she's feeling, she only knows that there's a lot of it. I kind of love when I see that kind of reaction to something. Not knowing how you feel about something is what keeps it in your head and continues to make you think about it. I'm new to the contemp thing too! I'll probably read Ver Dietz before I read this one, partially because of how hard this one sounds to read. I know that's kind of cowardice, but it's also hard to pick something like that up, even knowing it's going to be worth it.

    • Heidi, YES! That's exactly what I feel! Didn't I see on your blog that you're doing Award Winning Reads Challenge, or am I dreaming that? Vera Dietz qualifies for that…or at least I think so. I may be dreaming that too. haha

      It was hard to read but the payoff was good. For me, it helped to have somebody to bounce thoughts off of too, particularly since Contemps aren't my go-to genre.

      I DO highly recommend. 🙂

    • I AM doing the Award Winning Reads Challenge! And yes, I'm planning to read Vera Dietz for it. Or rather listen to it as it's available on audio from my library. I've almost checked it out at least once already, and went for Abundance of Katherines instead.

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