This review is part of my Two Weeks of Thanks to book publisher Merit Press. They have generously and continuously provided me with books to review over the past two years.
Airlines, airports and airplanes are in April Mae Manning’s DNA. Her grandfather was an engineer who liked to get his hands dirty; her grandmother, mother and father all enjoyed the traveling life of flight attendants. April knows everything there is to know about life on board, as she has traveled more miles than many a professional. She’s helped her mom’s co-workers study for their various exams, so she has digested everything about the different types of planes, what to do in case of an emergency, and how to get a ride on the jumpseat.
After April’s father dies in a plane crash, her mother remarries. Her new “father” is a pilot who adopts April. Then Ash Manning shows his real stripes: he’s a big jerk who not only decides to divorce April’s mother, but he, with the help of April’s court-appointed guardian, gets full custody of April. April’s mom checks into a mental facility, and April is basically left to fend for herself. Ash is never home when he is to have April, so she assumes that he is doing all of this just to get back at her mother.
So April takes to the skies, knowing that she can use her mother’s badge to get wherever she wants. She has a few friends who look out for her, and she them. But then everything gets really crazy when she realizes that her life is in danger. But why? And, armed with all of her plane protocol/information, can April save the day when her flight is hijacked and all of her friends are aboard?
Whadja Think?: At first, when I read the dust jacket, I thought this book was going to be dry, like reading a training manual or an airplane repair guide. The cover, I must say, is pretty bland and also gives no hints to the truly entertaining book that hides between the boards. April Mae Manning is one of the funniest characters I’ve seen this year.
April is not only a freaking genius who seems to remember everything about flight attendancy and how to get around belowdecks, but she is so wry and honest about her predicament. She’s a problem-solver, and her MacGyver obsession has obviously been put to great use. She doesn’t operate in a vacuum, though; her close friends – another unaccompanied minor named Malcolm (and his service dog, Captain Beefheart); a 67-year-old spunky flight attendant named Flo; and Officer Ned Rockwell – all work together to get the plane landed safely.
To Read or Not To Read: Absolutely. You will enjoy the wit, the mystery, the action and the not-so-friendly skies. (Oh and a best supporting character nod to LaVonda Morgenstern.)
Unaccompanied Minor by Hollis Gillespie was published January 1, 2014 by Merit Press. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Big thanks to Merit Press and the Author.
Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary Action/Adventure Thriller
Ages: 13 and up
You Might Want to Know: Some violence