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Everybody Sees The Ants Hardcover – 3 Nov 2011

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers US; 1 edition (3 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316129283
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316129282
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,243,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


* "The unusual and occasionally comic juxtaposition of the POW experience with Lucky's victimization... [offers] compelling food for thought about the things we can control and the things we can't, and how that distinction ultimately determines the need for action." ""The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books," starred review""

Book Description

A fresh take on coping with bullying - and taking control of your life - from a 2011 Printz Honor recipient.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Millie2014 on 28 Feb. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book is ok I suppose. Not my favourite read and to be frank it could have been a bit longer. The story is promising but it fails to deliver. It's almost as if the author tired of it and finished it early. What I really object to though is paying for a book only to find the final 30 pages are taken up with random chapters from the author's other books. It's a cheap shot and for this reason alone I won't buy any more from this author.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Shamma on 1 Mar. 2012
Format: Hardcover
I first bought Everybody Sees the Ants because it had such great reviews and an even better synopsis.

A boy that retreats into his dreams to escape reality, and finds himself in war-ridden jungles? A place where he can be anyone he wants to be, a better version of himself even? A place where it becomes so easy to submerge yourself into, rather than live your life? How awesome does that sound? I thought for sure this book is going to be worth the read.

Sadly, it wasn't.

Yes, as many reviewers have stated, this book deals with a lot of important topics such as abuse, bullying, sexual harassment, feminism etc. that readers may find interesting and appealing. But just because a book deals with such issues does not a good story make.

Here's what you need to know about our protagonist Lucky, who, as it happens, is anything but. His dad is what he calls a 'turtle' due to the fact that he hides in his shell and has no backbone, and his mom is a 'squid' due to her obsession with swimming laps to escape her life.

Lucky makes the mistake of asking the students at his school if they were to commit suicide, what their method would be for his course project. This one question makes everyone think he needs help as he must be prone to suicide. Lucky's life takes a turn to the worse as Nader McMillan (the school bully...no scratch that, the town bully) makes his life completely unbearable to the point where his mom packs their bags and decides they need to leave town for a little while.

In those dreams Lucky escapes to, he meets up with his grandad who has been MIA since 1972. He believes that it is his mission to save his grandad and bring him back home.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By kath on 9 April 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought this for my granddaughter, she loved it. I read a chapter and i was surprised at how easily i got into it so i'm waiting to borrow it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 66 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Read this book. It's heavy stuff, but important 20 Sept. 2011
By M. Fuller - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Beautiful, Candid, Believable. Everybody Sees the Ants is an exceptional book covering important topics for both parents and teens. Lucky Linderman is a fairly typical teen, he does fairly well in school, has a few friends, feels a little scrawny sometimes, but overall he is pretty adjusted to his life. The problem is Nader McMillan, the local punk, seems to have taken to bullying Lucky since they were both seven. As the reader, your heart hurts for Lucky and his attempts for normalcy, which include tolerating the horrible Nader. You see, Lucky has tried to get help with the bully situation, but the adults in his life offer little advice that helps. Lucky feels so hopeless, that when he actually needs help and is severely emotionally scarred; he has stopped talking to people about his bully problems. I think that is what has struck me the most after reading this book- the adults were not really able to help Lucky when he needed it and left him feeling like he was the one who wasn't normal. "Instead of shutting me up over it [asking what the point of living is in a hard world], why can't they just answer me? ...I think it's because they feel bad for not making it fair. Rather than actually fix it, they freak out on kids who say thinks like, `I'd rather suck truck fumes than go through one more day of this place.' Or say things like `I'll understand when I'm forty.' But I want to understand now." (p. 130) I just wanted to scream at everyone and tell them to admit to Lucky that life is HARD and awful sometimes and that it is okay to feel that way rather than guilt him and make him feel weird for hating it sometimes.

Thankfully, he is surrounded by adults who are messed-up just badly enough for him to start to draw some helpful conclusions on his own. I wish that every kid had a set of parents who have successfully navigated life and can then help lead their children through the tough maze called living, but unfortunately, most adults carry baggage and problems that can leave them scarred and left licking their own wounds. As Lucky and his Mom begin to bond during their escape trip to Arizona, a turning point comes for Lucky as you see him realize that his family all has problems. While patching up the back patio he thinks, "It would be nice to be able to fix my life the way I'm fixing the patio. I wonder, is there enough terracotta-colored cement to fill the hole where my Father should be? Or where my mother's spine should be? Or where my guts should be?" (P. 129) Thankfully, (I suppose) Lucky realizes that he is going to have to stand up for himself, that it is up to him to stop Nader, to face his own demons so he can move forward. I was so proud when his mother also learns some of that for herself too. This realization for Lucky then frees him to love his parents- weird quirks and limitations included. He is a victim, and life is definitely not fair, his parent's sortta suck- but Lucky isn't giving up and this will not continue to limit him. A.S. King has written an important book here. In order to keep this review short, I have skipped over all of the Ants, POW/Grandpa, and hair model Ginny portion of this story, which is also wonderful. Read this book. It's heavy stuff, but important. Who knows, you might just feel a little more "normal" once you are done. This review is from an ARC copy I received from the publisher.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Another brilliant novel from King 30 Sept. 2011
By Rachael Stein - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Dysfunction can be defined in many ways, and some of these definitions might be accompanied with a picture of Lucky Linderman. At least, that's the way Lucky sees it sometimes. He sees himself stuck in a life that he'd rather not have, with a barely present father who never got over his own father's disappearance in the Vietnam War, a mother who swims laps in the pool to avoid confrontation, and half a lifetime's worth of bullying from Nadar McMillan. Sometimes it seems that the only place that things are okay, even when they're clearly not, is in Lucky's dreams, because that's where Granddad Harry is. In Lucky's dreams, he has a purpose: to rescue Granddad from the jungles of Vietnam. In his dreams, he knows what dangers await him and how to avoid or defeat them. But no matter how real these dreams are, they don't make up all of Lucky's life. He can't hide with Granddad forever--he can't give up hope on everything else.

I have absolutely loved each and every of the three novels that the spectacular A.S. King has thus put forth, but I've come to realize that I don't necessarily love reviewing them. I always find it a little hard to articulate the raw brilliance and power behind her words, though I attempt to anyway. Most of what I love about King's writing, especially in Everybody Sees the Ants, is that it is both literary and accessible. I would attribute the literary side to the incorporation of certain elements, such as Lucky's dreams of Granddad or the ants, that, taken out of context, would sound really bizarre, but mean so much more within this story, either as developments to complicate the plot or a symbols and metaphors. The accessibility is without a doubt due to Lucky's voice, which is so painfully honest in sharing his hopes, fear, and frustrations. Despite the very particular details of Lucky's circumstances, there will be something about him that every reader will be able to identify with. That is what I believe this novel really comes down to. At some point, everybody has wanted to escape their life. At some point, everybody has had something bad happen to them. In the words of King herself, everybody sees the ants. But at the same time, perhaps that's what unifies us.

Fans of A.S. Kings first two novels, The Dust of 100 Dogs and Please Ignore Vera Dietz, will not want to miss her spectacular third. I'd give other recommendations, but I'll be perfectly honest: I think everyone should read King's books, especially Everybody Sees the Ants.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Another amazing and original book from A.S. King. 28 Sept. 2011
By Joanne - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I see the ants.

This is a touching, funny and nuanced story about Lucky Linderman, a fifteen year old who has a long legacy of being bullied by a horrible kid that no one seems to be willing to stop. But that's not all it's about; there is so much in this book that I bet everyone who reads it gets a little something different out of it. Here's what I took from it: Lucky Linderman is a good kid in a bad situation. He's a good kid who finds himself the victim of Nader McMillan, the community bully/jerk/a-hole. Lucky is also the son of clueless parents who don't mean to be neglectful, but kind of are due to their inaction. He's a good kid who is a product of the crappy things that go on in his life until he realizes he doesn't need to be. I'm not going to talk about the magic realism in this book, because I don't want to take away from it, but through certain scenes, Lucky realizes what life is about, no, what HIS life is about and how he needs to be an active participant in it if he wants it to change.

There's so much I loved in this book, from the character Lucky himself, to Ginny and Lucky's mom, to the little things that made it so different from anything I'd read before, like Lucky's healing wound, frank talk about the Vietnam War draft lottery, the way Lucky sees his parents and...well I could go on and on, but I'd rather leave it up to you to discover. Another great book from A.S. King!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Hit or miss, but it missed for me, unfortunately 3 July 2014
By DJ - Published on Amazon.com
The book was definitely well conceived. It was creative and I had high hopes for it. But King's protagonist, Lucky, has his air of mild lunacy and independence that forced some disconnect between us. I didn't particularly like him in any way. Yes, I felt sorry for him. He was horribly bullied and he is certainly an quirky, interesting character. But he was so aloof and sulky that reading "his voice" was a bit annoying. I struggled to follow his train of thought, his dreams and stories. That also brings another point. I didn't enjoy reading about the Vietnam-themed dream missions. I felt that Lucky approached the whole thing too lightly, and though that was intentional of the author, I did not enjoy reading it.

Overall, I don't feel any need to critique the readers who liked the book. I get it. I just didn't, and I hope that people get that.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Touching Story, Heavy Content 30 Dec. 2011
By Reading Teen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I wasn't sure what to think about "Everybody Sees the Ants" when I first started reading it. It was kind of a strange story and it took me a while to figure out what was happening. Maybe I just wasn't paying close enough attention. By the time I finished the book, I thought it was a great story (if you can read around all the language) as well as a very important topic.

Lucky Linderman is a short, scrawny 15 year old sophomore in high school. He is an only child who is called a "mama's boy" by some of his peers. Lucky refers to his dad as a turtle because he is physically and emotionally distant from his family. He is a man who is afraid to face life and because of this he is unable to be of any help to his son and wife. Lucky's mom has called herself a squid because she deals with life by swimming over 200 laps a day. Both love Lucky but feel inadequate to help him.

By the time Lucky was in the 2nd grade, he was the target of bullying by Nader McMillan, a classmate. Anytime Lucky happened to encounter Nader, he ran the risk of having some sort of abuse inflicted on him. Although Lucky informed his parents and others in authority, there were never any consequences that were strong enough to stop Nader. When Lucky "told on him", Nader might get in trouble but would take it out on Lucky the next time he saw him. Lucky wasn't the only target of Nader. Girls and other smaller, weaker kids were also abused.

One of the ways that Lucky dealt with the abuse he faced was by living through dreams. His father's father was a POW/MIA who never came home from VietNam. On her deathbed, Lucky's grandma told him that he needed to rescue his granddad because Lucky needed a dad. Lucky internalized this as his mission in life and through his dreams he lived this out. He spent his nights creeping through the jungle in an attempt to rescue his granddad. The conversations that the two of them shared in these dreams helped Lucky to face up to the real dangers he faced in real life.

One day Nader smashed Lucky's face into the hot cement of the swimming pool causing a deep gash in his cheek. While Lucky's face is on the ground he notices the ants in front of him. The ants talk to Lucky and react to whatever is happening to him. His dead granddad helps him to realize that anyone who has been victimized by anything in life "sees the ants". Following this incident of abuse, when Lucky's dad again refuses to intervene on his son's behalf, Lucky's mom packs the two of them up and goes to visit her brother and sister-in-law in Arizona. During this visit, Lucky makes great strides in growing up. He sees that his family isn't the only one that is dysfunctional but also that there is a possibility of being a "normal" family. Lucky has interaction with a young woman who helps him to see himself as a worthwhile human being who can stand up for himself. The results of this trip become clear when Lucky and his mom return home and he must face his father and Nader again.

This is a story about a serious topic and has a strong message. It is totally unacceptable for young people to be bullied and feel that no one has their back. At the end of the book I felt very proud of how far Lucky had come in his life. He was able to understand that he was stronger emotionally than his father and had the ability to face the demons in his life. I would recommend this book to older teens (because of the language) and would also hope that reading it would open up avenues of conversation within families.

Profanity: Heavy
Sexual Content: Heavy
Violence: Heavy
Other Notables: Smoking
For more information, check out Everyone Sees the Ants on ParentalBookReviews.com

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