Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a great book for any boy who has been bullied and who feels as though his parents (and, ok, most others) don't quite understand him. Lucky's life has been filled with trying to avoid Nader, the school bully, and dealing with his chef father's near disappearance from his life. Complicating all this is the fact that his grandfather was declared MIA during Vietnam, something his father and paternal grandmother never quite got over.
Most readers will have seen the MIA/POW flags and stickers, but because the war ended so long ago (although I remember the marches and "War Is Not Healthy..." buttons, as well as the POW bracelets) they may not know what that means. However, that's not the main thrust of the book - the war, and his grandfather's MIA status serve as a vehicle for him to explore growing up and getting male advice.
So, what about the ants? They appear after the Big Incident, and their Greek Chorus-like appearance for the rest of the book is really quite funny. Example: Lucky is in church and he's just been semi-introduced to this perfect, gorgeous girl. The ants' comment? She's so out of your league that she's playing a completely different sport.
The problems of bullying and Lucky's family life are dealt with humorously, and I can see this appealing to both boys and girls, no matter what their situation is.
ARC provided by publisher.