Title: Unaccompanied Minor
Author: Hollis Gillespie
Publisher: Merit Press
Publication Date: January 1, 2014
Source: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Fourteen-year-old April May Manning spent her life on airplanes with her flight attendant parents. When her father dies in a crash, April's mom marries a pilot who turns out to be an abusive jerk, and gets Mom confined to a psychiatric hospital. So April takes off, literally, living on airplanes, using her mother's flight benefits, relying on the flight crews who know she's been shuttling between divorcing parents for a year. Then, there's a hijacking, but why is April's "dad" on board? April flees to the cargo hold with another unaccompanied minor she's met before, and they fight to thwart the hijackers, faking a fire, making weapons from things they find in luggage. At last, locked in the cockpit with a wounded police officer, the boy, and his service dog, April tries to remember everything her parents said to do in a crisis above the clouds. But she knows it won't be enough.
Unaccompanied Minor and I got off to a bit of a rocky start. At first the main character, April, really rubbed me the wrong way. She was super snarky and had no respect for authority (which, to be fair, authority doesn't always do the right thing).
However, as the book continued, I began to enjoy the story and April a lot more. I'm not sure if she got less snarky or I got more used to it or I just saw her other traits that made me like her a lot more.
One thing about this story is that it felt really unrealistic. April goes through more crap before her 16th birthday that anyone should in their whole life. I know people have hard lives, but it felt like such a huge level of crazy that it didn't really feel real to me. However, if I set all of my disbelief aside, Unaccompanied Minor is a very entertaining read. I mean, it's a pair of teens (and company) saving a hijacked plane with only a their wits, a flight attendant manual and an impressive knowledge of MacGyver.
The secondary characters are probably my favorite part of this book. Flo is just awesome and so funny. Officer Ned is such a great guy, despite his gruff persona.
Give this one a try if you like snarky young protagonists who know how to take care of themselves or airplanes.
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