Review: Unaccompanied Minor

February 17, 2014 book review 3

Unaccompanied Minor by Hollis GillespieUnaccompanied Minor by Hollis Gillespie

Released: January 1, 2014
Publisher: Merit Press
Pages: 256
Format: hardcover
Source: publisher

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 was such an unexpected read. April Manning has been shipped back and forth from one side of the country to the other during her parents very bitter divorce. It’s become such an whirlwind mishap after mishap that she has to go on the run, living at the airport. Her mother is a flight attendant and has learned everything there is to know about the airline life. She can handle anything, that is until the plane she happens to be on is hijacked and it becomes apparent that it’s up to her to stop.

One of the most unique things about this story was that it was told in the form of an interrogation of April by the FBI, NTSB, and a local police department. The opening page captures your attention with somewhat of a gruesome yet intriguing event that takes place, diving the reader into April’s interrogation. April is the talkative type and starts her story from the very beginning, and I do mean the very beginning. She goes into quite the detail about the most minuscule things. This did get a bit frustrating and definitely leaned toward the info-dumping side. However, you quickly get very used to April and her way of painting a picture that you want to learn about all these weird events in her life. It helps you get to know her and why she ends up making the decisions she makes later on in the book.

As the story unravels, the reader gets roped into April’s tale and you can’t help but want to know more. The events that she says take place practically scream impossible but the way in which she tells it has you hanging on to her every word, believing everything. While it does take a while to get to the meat and heart of the story, the hijacking, the events leading up to that will have you reeling. There is some very unexpected, crazy moments that had me glued. If you can get past the shaky beginning, you’re not going to be able to set this book down.

April is 14 and one of the smartest girls I have ever read about. Not only does she and her friend know about every possible airplane crash in history, but like I mentioned earlier, she knows everything you could possibly know about airplanes. She knows what flight attendants are supposed to do when, how the airplane flies, proper protocol for certain situations, mechanics, etc. I learned more in this book than I ever thought was possible. Gillespie is a former flight attendant, and it showed! Yeah, I’m a bit freaked out now, but it was so incredibly cool getting this inside look into what working for an airline is like. On top of all that, she’s witty!

Going into this book I expected a high stakes action story about being aboard a hijacked plane. What I got was so much more. There is a back story and development and events that slowly line up to create this giant scheme that leaves April in a very dangerous situation. It’s written in such a way that lets you know ahead of time that things don’t go horribly wrong, but have you reading until the very end to figure what exactly does happen and why. Gillespie has used her extensive knowledge of working as a flight attendant to create a plot that is possibly too realistic. UNACCOMPANIED MINOR will have you learning more information than you probably want to know, but will leave you amazed at how much this 14 year old girl can accomplish.

4 Thought Clouds

I received a finished copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!


3 Responses to “Review: Unaccompanied Minor”

  1. Cait

    Wow…this looks like something I should read. I saw the title/cover and I was like, “Meh, I won’t be interested.” But I LOVE survival stuff…and I also love stuff that’s a bit out of the norm.

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