Unaccompanied Minor by Hollis Gillespie. ★★1/2
I did find Unaccompanied Minor amusing, but I think it had a lot of problems in terms of pace and plotting.
Unaccompanied Minor is a short, YA adventure novel about a fourteen year old girl who comes from a long legacy of airline employees. When her mom’s in a psychiatric hospital and someone tries to kidnap her from her stepfather’s apartment, fourteen year old April Manning survives by living in airport lounges and passing as a flight attendant. Then, she happens to be on a plan when it gets unexpectedly hijacked by the same people who tried to kidnap her earlier. She has to save the day with the help of a wounded police officer, another unaccompanied minor, his service dog, and a 67 year old flight attendant named Flo.
Unaccompanied Minor is told through a compilation of various documents, mainly an after the fact interview by the police. I don’t think this structure worked well. For one, it meant that the entire first half of the book kept suggesting what would happen and referring to future events, which took forever to arrive. This is not a long book – only about 250 pages – but so much of it was spent explaining April’s family history instead of focusing on the main events. That combined with the style led to an ambling mess of a book.
All that said, Unaccompanied Minor was still funny in parts, if not laugh out loud hilarious. There were a few good running jokes – I liked the repetition of “We see things differently.” However, the most interesting part of this book was its setting in the aviation industry (particularly since it was written by a flight attendant…). It led me to wonder how many of the insiders secrets were true, such as the character Flo who had a secret smoking spot on every different model plane.
In the end, I would only reluctantly recommend Unaccompanied Minor as a lighter read.