Reviewed by Alyssa, Windsor Library
Reading A.S. King’s newest release I Crawl Through It, seemed like a no brainer to me for Printz possibility. She received a 2011 honor for Please Ignore Vera Dietz and is highly acclaimed for her unique plots and writing style incorporating magical realism, and in this case, I Crawl Through It is being described as a surrealist novel.
King tells the story of four teenagers facing the stress of standardized testing and school bomb threats amongst date rape, and loss. Their coping methods? Stanzi, who feels split in two, wears her lab coat every day and finds comfort in dissecting frogs. Gustav is building an invisible helicopter in hopes of escape. China has swallowed herself. Lansdale lies compulsively, which causes her hair to grow like Pinocchio’s nose. It can’t say much more and do the book justice because of how unique A.S King’s delivery is.
The message about “crawling” through and coping with life as a teenager, if you can get at it through the confusion, is really incredible, but message doesn’t indicate quality for the Printz.
The Printz selectors hope the title will have a wide audience (not to be confused with a title being popular). For this title, I don’t think that’s the case. I can see the potential for people putting this book down after 50 pages or not even picking it up at all. It’s almost too far outside of the box.
I think I Crawl Through It is notable for its message, for its risk in writing style, and for #keepyaweird, so I’ll be interested in what kinds of other awards it will pop up for, but I’m not confident it will make the list for the Printz.