Sunday, September 20, 2015

ARC Review: I Crawl Through It - A.S. King

I Crawl Through It 
A. S. King
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Surreal
Release Date: September 22nd, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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This was the most unexpected book I have ever read.

Never having encountered a piece of fiction quite like this -- a YA novel surreal to the core, but still grounded in reality -- it took a few pages for me to get with the program and understand the way it was written. When Stanzi mentions the invisible red helicopter her friend Gustav is building that she can only see on Tuesdays, this does not mean he does not allow her to see it any other day or that it's merely a joke between them. It means he is truly building a helicopter that is invisible to most, and to Stanzi, it is visible on Tuesdays. When China Knowles says she has swallowed herself, turned herself inside out, this is not simply a metaphor for shrinking into herself after a traumatic event. She is genuinely seen as organs on legs by the characters in the book.

The best way to read this book is to take everything literally. In any other book, mentioning a character where her hair was so long you swear it grew a foot since the day before would be taken as exaggeration. Of course it didn't, but it seemed that way because it's just that long and the reader can piece this together. In I Crawl Through It, everything is so surreal, that nothing is exaggeration. Landsdale Cruise's hair grows a foot with each pathological lie she tells, and there is a dangerous man in a bush who gives out chains of letters that are infinitely long and there is an invisible island you can fly to in the invisible helicopter to escape the school where there are daily bomb threats and drills and practice tests.

And it all works so remarkably well. I finished the book not only mulling over what I just read but wondering why I'd never read anything by A.S. King before, resolving to put her at the top of my list of authors to be read soon.

Not only was the story so interestingly woven but it was well written and also had some important points about how we all cope with trauma/stress/bad-things-of-a-serious-nature in different ways. Whether that involves lying and baking or dissecting all the animals in the school or building something no one can see or writing poems about how inanimate objects have more self-esteem than you, this book showed teens compartmentalizing and avoiding their trauma and it also showed them dealing with it in important ways like standing up to an abuser, and it was cool that it wasn't just a weird book with inside out girls. Not that I wouldn't have read that book to be honest.

I briefly mentioned that it was well-written and I want to touch upon that as well. I absolutely loved A.S. King's voice in this novel. Every line seemed so purposeful, so powerful, and so many of them were so beautifully phrased. A lot of the book had an air of gloom and that was cool too because you could feel it coming from the character's words, not the author's, and it reinforced the fact that they were sad and stuck and looking for something.

When I picked up I Crawl Through It, I was expecting a regular realistic fiction YA book about sad, stressed kids in high school. I wasn't expecting anything bad, because regular realistic fiction YA books about sad stressed kids in high school are often books I like, but this was not like anything I've read before and I hope you read it too.

- Noor

Would you rather be inside out or hairnocchio? 
Let us know in the comments!


  1. I love this review! It def was my favorite I have seen about this book as it painted it in a very positive light. I will absolutely be picking this one up!
    ❤️Britt @ please feed the bookworm

  2. Your review just moved this one up my TBR