I Crawl Through It by A.S. King
Released: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown
A boldly surreal novel from one of the best YA writers working today.
Four talented teenagers are traumatized-coping with grief, surviving trauma, facing the anxiety of standardized tests and the neglect of self-absorbed adults--and they'll do anything to escape the pressure. They'll even build an invisible helicopter, to fly far away to a place where everyone will understand them... until they learn the only way to escape reality is to fly right into it.
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I Crawl Through It was my first dip into the surrealism genre. And it was a great first read. It took me a little bit to get into at first, but then the rest of it flew by. It's a bizarre book, but in a good way. It definitely stands out from everything else I've read.
The story mainly follows four characters: Stanzi, Gustav, China, and Lansdale. Stanzi is a girl who feels as if she's two people crammed into one body. She loves dissection and thinks her mother is Hawkeye Pierce. Gustav is a boy who's building an invisible helicopter able to be seen by very few (even Stanzi can only see it on Tuesdays). Lansdale is a compulsive liar whose hair grows like Pinocchio's nose. China is a girl who sometimes turns herself inside out. She writes poetry to be heard.
The plot is simple, but it's the details that really make the story. Everything about it is short and to the point, but poetic. It's a story about not fitting into boxes (or in this case, ovals) and understanding the questions before you can know the answers.
As for the characters, I can't pick a favorite. They were all so unique. I did feel incredibly sorry for each of them, though. The adults in this book were absent, negligent, and avoided tough topics to the point of letting the teens stew in their own guilt and grief. You're never quite sure what exactly happened to each of them throughout the book until the end when everything starts to piece together, and I loved that.
Overall, it was a fantastic read. I'd love to be able to compare it to another book or two, but it's impossible to categorize since the whole story is about not being categorized. So I'll recommend it to everyone. Once you accept the fact that you can swallow yourself or let your hair grow ten feet in one night or fly an invisible helicopter, you'll hardly even notice the time passing.
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