Audiobook hours: 7 hours 44 minutes
Genre: Contemporary/Magic Realism
Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers
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.
Summer for 15-year-old Lucky Linderman is spending 8 hours at the local pool watching his mother swim and wondering if his father is ever going to come home from his job a “Le Fancy-Schmancy Cafe” to see them. More importantly, he tries to avoid any more humiliation from his lifelong tormentor Nader McMcmillan. But when Nader’s bullying goes to far, Lucky and his mother travel to Tempe, Arizona and Lucky learns a new perspective on the world he lives in.
The audiobook of this novel is phenomenal. The narrator, Kirby Heyborne does an amazing job with the voice of Lucky. His narration mixes perfectly with King’s honest and heartfelt narrative. I was so absorbed into this audiobook that I ended up listening to it in one day.
This novel plays heavily in magic realism, a subset of contemporary fiction where unrealistic elements exist in an otherwise mundane environment. Lucky has dreams where he visits his grandfather who went Missing in Action (MIA) in Vietnam before he was born. In the dreams, Lucky goes on operations trying bring his grandfather back home for his dead grandmother. Except these are more than just dreams, when Lucky wake he has something from the dream with him.
I found the conversations about the Vietnam war and the Vietnam POWs/MIAs to be so compelling. I’m not familiar with the POW MIA organization and had no idea there were so many soldiers from the Vietnam War that are unaccounted for and how hard people have worked to get them all accounted for. There is an interesting chart in the back that allows you to take your birthday and see what number you would have been in the Vietnam draft. (I would have been 3 ):)
King throws in a feminist themes as well with 17-year-old Ginny Clemens, a Tempe model who is secretly in a production of The Vagina Monologues and sees the version of herself on billboard as having no soul. Ginny was an interesting character and was a nice subversion to the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope.
Everybody Sees The Ants is a brilliantly written, unforgettable story and perfect for anyone looking to read a more literary young adult fiction. I'm so excited to read King's latest book, Ask The Passengers.