AS King

"Moving, unapologetically strange, skillfully constructed. Read this book, whatever your age.”
New York Times Book Review on Still Life with Tornado


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"Moving, unapologetically strange, skillfully constructed. Read this book, whatever your age.
You may find it’s the exact shape and size of the hole in your heart.”
New York Times Book Review 

A heartbreaking story of a talented teenage artist’s surreal awakening to the horrifically unoriginal brokenness of her family from critically acclaimed award-winner A.S. King.

    Sarah can’t draw. This is a problem, because as long as she can remember, she has “done the art.” She thinks she’s having an existential crisis. And she might be right; she does keep running into past and future versions of herself as she explores the urban ruins of Philadelphia. Or maybe she’s finally waking up to the tornado that is her family, the tornado that six years ago sent her once-beloved older brother flying across the country for a reason she can’t quite recall.

    After decades of staying together “for the kids” and building a family on a foundation of lies and violence, Sarah’s parents have reached the end. Now Sarah must come to grips with years spent sleepwalking in the ruins of their toxic marriage. As Sarah herself often observes, nothing about her pain is remotely original —and yet it still hurts. Insightful, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful, this is a vivid portrait of everyday abuse and survival that will linger with readers long after the last page.

See cover reveal with interview here


Booklist Top of the List winner—Youth Fiction 2016
 Shelf Awareness Best Teen Book 2016
Bookpage Best Teen Book 2016
New York Times Notable Children's Book 2016
Barnes & Noble Best Young Adult Books of 2016
Bustle's Best YA Books of 2016

School Library Journal best book of 2016
Publishers Weekly best book of 2016
A Junior Library Guild selection
An Apple iBooks Best book for October
Bustle best book of October
Teen Vogue best book of October
PopCrush Top Ten Most Anticipated Books of October

"Moving, unapologetically strange, skillfully constructed. Read this book, whatever your age. You may find it’s the exact shape and size of the hole in your heart.”—New York Times Book Review

"Surreal and thought-provoking."—People Magazine

* "King's ingeniously crafted, deeply engaging Still Life with Tornado will have readers by the collar..."--Shelf Awareness (starred review)

“King’s brilliance, artistry, and originality as an author shine through in this thought-provoking work. […] An unforgettable experience.”--SLJ, (starred review)

* "Lack of original ideas is not something found in work by A.S. King, who blurs reality, truth, violence, emotion, creativity, and art in a show of respect for YA readers."--Horn Book Magazine (starred review)

"One of the things that sets Sarah’s existential crisis in motion is her art teacher’s comment that there is no such thing as an original idea; clearly, Miss Smith has never read one of King’s novels. The presentation of the surreal as real, the deeply thoughtful questions she poses, the way she empowers her teenage characters to change the trajectory of their lives—King writes with the confidence of a tightrope walker working without a net."--PW (starred review)

“A.S. King is known for crafting deeply sympathetic portraits of teenagers in crisis, and Still Life with Tornado is no exception.”--Bookpage

"A deeply moving, frank, and compassionate exploration of trauma and resilience, filled to the brim with incisive, grounded wisdom."--Booklist Magazine (starred review)

King understands and writes teen anxieties like no other, resulting in difficult, resonant, compelling characters and stories. --Kirkus Reviews

"Books about abusive families generally follow the problem-novel script of recognition, admission, and solution; in her inimitable style, King takes a totally different tack, exploring (through interpolated sections from Sarah’s mother as well as Sarah’s narration) the way abuse warps and gnarls a family over time into a thorny growth of anger and denial that becomes a daily norm, even for members who aren’t direct victims.... Readers won’t have to live with abuse firsthand to recognize the taut, invisible coils of family dysfunction and the difficulty of gaining perspective on it, let alone breaking free."—BCCB (starred review)

from Listening Library

Read by Karissa Vacker

WInner of Audiofile magazine's Earphones Award!

"The skills of author and narrator make a seamless transition into magical realism."




"A.S. King has penned an absorbing Rorschach test of a book that, as you turn its pages, manages to read you."
Entertainment Weekly

"King’s devotion to a passionately experimental style, in a genre often beholden to formula, is inspiring. Kurt Vonnegut might have written a book like this.”
New York Times Book Review 

Our big explosion is coming any day now.
Can’t you hear the ticking?
Four accomplished teenagers are on the verge of explosion. The anxieties they face at every turn have nearly pushed them to the point of surrender: senseless high-stakes testing, the lingering damage of trauma, the buried grief and guilt of tragic loss. They are desperate to cope—but no one is listening.
So they will lie. They will split in two. They will turn inside out. They will build an invisible helicopter to fly themselves far away from the pressure…but nothing releases the pressure. Because, as they discover, the only way to truly escape their world is to fly right into it.
The genius of acclaimed author A.S. King reaches new heights in this groundbreaking work of surrealist fiction; it will mesmerize readers with its deeply affecting exploration of how we crawl through traumatic experience—and find the way out.



The Horn Book Best Books of 2015
A Booklist Best Book of 2015
BookPage Best Books of 2015
A Junior Library Guild Selection
Bookpage October Top Pick
A Nerdy Award Winner

"A.S. King has penned an absorbing Rorschach test of a book that, as you turn its pages, manages to read you."
Entertainment Weekly

"King’s devotion to a passionately experimental style, in a genre often beholden to formula, is inspiring. Kurt Vonnegut might have written a book like this.”
New York Times Book Review 

"This is King's masterpiece...Brilliant, paranoid, poetic, funny."
--Andrew Smith, Printz Honor author of Grasshopper Jungle

"It’s bizarre, compelling, and not like anything else."
--PW (starred review)

"This novel is an ambitious, haunting work of art."
--SLJ (starred review)

"Masterfully written and brilliantly bizarre, this is King at her most innovative yet."
--VOYA (starred review)

"Beautiful prose, poetry, and surreal imagery combine for an utterly original story."
--Booklist (starred review)

* "[an] ambitious and affecting work, which suggests that the personal tragedies and trauma we internalize change the ways we see and operate in the world."
--The Horn Book (starred review)

"A meditation on grief, guilt, and survival. Readers [will be] rewarded with the self-actualization of finely wrought characters. Absolutely worthwhile."
--Kirkus Reviews

* "Master of contemporary surrealist fiction A.S. King offers a smart and wholly original new YA novel."
--Shelf Awareness (starred review)

Check out the trailer!


If you order any of my books from my local independent bookstore, I'll sign it and personalize it for you.

Fast (international) shipping, friendly service, and you're shopping local from your own living room. What could be better?

It's True. There are TWO MORE BOOKS Coming in 2016 & 2018!

King Does Double at Dutton--Publisher's Weekly 1/26/15

A.S. King signed a two-book, world English rights deal with Andrew Karre at Dutton Children’s Books. The deal, Karre’s first as executive editor at the imprint, was brokered by agent Michael Bourret at Dystel & Goderich. The novels, scheduled for 2016 and 2018, respectively, are currently untitled. King, who used to live in Ireland and now resides in Pennsylvania, won the L.A. Times Book Prize in 2012 for her YA novel Ask the Passengers (LBYR) and received a Michael L. Printz Honor in 2011 for her YA novel Please Ignore Vera Dietz (Knopf).


 Glory O'Brien's History of the Future
  In paperback now!


Graduating from high school is a time of limitless possibilities—but not for Glory, who has no plan for what's next. Her mother committed suicide when Glory was only four years old, and she’s never stopped wondering if she will eventually go the same way...until a transformative night when she begins to experience an astonishing new power to see a person’s infinite past and future. From ancient ancestors to many generations forward, Glory is bombarded with visions—and what she sees ahead of her is terrifying.

A tyrannical new leader raises an army. Women’s rights disappear. A violent second civil war breaks out. And young girls vanish daily, sold off or interned in camps. Glory makes it her mission to record everything she sees, hoping her notes will somehow make a difference. She may not see a future for herself, but she’ll do everything in her power to make sure this one doesn’t come to pass.

In this masterpiece about freedom, feminism, and destiny, Printz Honor author A.S. King tells the epic story of a girl coping with devastating loss at long last—a girl who has no idea that the future needs her, and that the present needs her even more.


New York Times Editor's Choice
A Junior Library Guild Pick for Fall 2014
ABA Best Book 2014
A Winter 2014/15 Indie Next Pick
An ABC 2014 Best Book
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2014
A School Library Journal Best Book of 2014
Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2014
New York Public Library Best Books for Teens 2014
The Boston Globe's Best YA Novels of 2014
BookPage Best Teen Books of 2014 Top 25 Young Adult Novels of 2014
Holiday Book Selections: Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune
Mashable's 10 Best YA Books of 2014
Booklist Editors' Choice 2014
A Cybils Award Nominee in Speculative YA
A Nerdy Award winner
2015 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults pick
2015 YALSA Top Ten Amazing Audiobooks pick
2015 Amelia Bloomer list pick
2015 CCBC Choices pick
 2015 Indies Choice Award Nominee
2015 Capitol Choices Pick
2015 NAIBA Best Book Winner
2015 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Winner
2015 Carolyn W. Field Honor winner

"Maybe there are writers more adept than King at capturing the outrageous and outraged voice of teenagers, but it’s difficult to think of one. Her Glory is a wondrous creation, sarcastic, witty, sensitive, insightful."
New York Times Book Review

* "King’s distinctive approach to fashioning a story of adolescent strife results in a book that’s not only thoroughly original but also uniquely compelling and deeply memorable." 
Horn Book (starred)

* “Imbuing Glory’s narrative with a graceful, sometimes dissonant combination of anger, ambivalence, and hopefulness that resists tidy resolution, award-winning King presents another powerful, moving, and compellingly complex coming-of-age story.”
Booklist (starred)
* “A novel full of provocative ideas and sharply observed thoughts about the pressures society places on teenagers, especially girls.”
Publishers Weekly (starred)
* “As with King's other protagonists, Glory's narration is simultaneously bitter, prickly, heartbreaking, inwardly witty and utterly familiar.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred)
* “King returns with another wholly original work of magical realism. Beautifully strange, entirely memorable.”
School Library Journal (starred)

* "King skillfully weaves together two novels: one about a girl struggling to come to terms with her mother's suicide, and another about a future, war-torn America."
Shelf Awareness (starred)

* "King continues to be one of the most original (yet accessible) YA writers today, and the magical realism element accentuates the humanity of the narrative by looking past people’s momentary selves to place them in times both past and future."
BCCB (starred)


Check the TOUR PAGE for more info.

Available in paperback now: REALITY BOY

“Timely, incisive, compassionate. All of A.S. King’s novels are must-reads.” —Matthew Quick, New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook

Gerald Faust knows exactly when he started feeling angry: the day his mother invited a reality television crew into his five-year-old life. Twelve years later, he’s still haunted by his rage-filled youth—which the entire world got to watch from every imaginable angle—and his anger issues have resulted in violent outbursts, zero friends, and clueless adults dumping him in the special education room at school.  

 Nothing is ever going to change. No one cares that he’s tried to learn to control himself, and the girl he likes has no idea who he really is. Everyone’s just waiting for him to snap…and he’s starting to feel dangerously close to doing just that.  

 In this fearless portrayal of a boy on the edge, highly acclaimed Printz Honor author A.S. King explores the desperate reality of a former child “star” who finally breaks free of his anger by creating possibilities he never knew he deserved.


A New York Times Editors' Choice, A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2013, A School Library Journal Best Book of 2013, A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2013, Winter 2014 ABA Kids' Indie Next List Top Ten, A Junior Library Guild Selection, Amazon Best Books for October 2013, A Publishers Weekly Book of the Week, A 2013 VOYA Perfect Ten Book, A 2013 Association of Booksellers for Children Best Book for Children, A 2014 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Book, A 2014 YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers Book, A 2014 Tayshas High School Top Ten Reading List Pick...

“Fearless and brilliant, a seething pressure cooker of a masterpiece.”
—Andrew Smith, author of Grasshopper Jungle and Winger

"A.S. King is one of the best Y.A. writers working today. She captures the disorientation of adolescence brilliantly."
—John Green, New York Times Book Review

"Heart-pounding and heartbreaking...This is no fairy-tale romance, but a compulsively readable portrait of two imperfect teens learning to trust each other."
—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

"As always, King’s societal critique is spot-on and scathing, this time examining the dehumanization wrought by reality television on its “stars” and on its viewers in order to feel better about themselves. Put down the remote and pick up Reality Boy—it’s a showstopper." The Horn Book Magazine

* "This is a story about healing, and although Gerald stumbles as he takes his first steps, his candor invites sympathy from the first page."
Publishers Weekly (starred)

* "King’s trademarks–attuned first-person narrative, convincing dialogue, realistic language, and fitting quirkiness–connect effectively in this disturbing, yet hopeful novel."SLJ (starred)

"We all know at least one teen who needs a book like this; I didn't know I needed it until I turned the last page."

"The TMZ-level draw of the premise will definitely pull readers in, but they’ll find a surprising amount to relate to in this smart and sympathetic story about breaking free from the world’s expectations." —The Bulletin

"Reality Boy showcases King's talent, telling a story that is as much about parental depression and denial as it is about teen rage. It's also about first love, celebrity, therapy and finding your own narrative despite the story your family--and sometimes the world--tells about you."—Shelf Awareness (starred)

"The hallmarks of [A.S. King's] strong work are there: magical realism, heightened emotion, and the steady, torturous, beautiful transition into self-assured inner peace."—Booklist

* "King’s writing is...better than ever—not one unneeded word slows the reader in racing through this intense and incredibly fresh plot. Kudos, Ms. King. More please."—VOYA

"An emotional and difficult read, this story is also thought-provoking and ultimately optimistic."
—LMC (starred review) 

"Her books shouldn’t be shelved under ‘young adult,’
they should be shelved under ‘human.’"
--Liberty Hardy, BookRiot 


“A.S. King at her best, and maybe then some. This book is tough and funny and smart as hell.”
Chris Crutcher, author of Period 8 and Whale Talk
“REALITY BOY is a powerhouse of insight and empathy toward the people who cruise the fringes of acceptable behavior. A.S. King takes all kinds of risks and every single one pays off. Highly recommended.”
Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of ROT & RUIN and FIRE & ASH 

“Reality Boy is A.S. King's best work to date. Touching and teeth-clenchingly emotional, this story is an important reminder that behind every reality show...may be a totally different reality.”
Jennifer Brown, author of Hate List and 
Thousand Words


Books on Audio from Listening Library

Go to the A.S. King page at Random House Listening Library for a selection of audiobooks. 

Reality Boy & Glory O'Brien's History of the Future
& I Crawl Through It 
(read by the author)
are available through Hachette Audio Here.





This print, "Corona I" ©1994 Mark D. Thellmann, has been hanging above my desk since I started writing. Mark was a professor of mine at the Art Institute of Philadelphia back when cameras had film.

It's an enlarged reproduction of a manipulated Time-Zero Polaroid, which means the original was hand-manipulated as opposed to computer manipulated, and exists as a one-of-a-kind.
Probably somewhere in New Jersey.