Unaccompanied Minor is a book by Hollis Gillespie that I would categorize under the thriller genre though it's not necessarily scary. It is also of the mystery genre based on the plot line that the book follows. Despite those genres, the story is extremely light-hearted and at times can be quite comical. The story follows April Manning, a 14 year old girl from a long list of WorldAir employees; her mother is a flight attendant, her father was a pilot and her step-father (Ash) is also a pilot. Her family is a little dysfunctional though, especially since her father was killed in a plane crash. Since then, her step-father has moved across the country from her mother and gotten her mother confined to a psych ward; this leaves April to fly back and forth between her loving mother with no custodial rights and her step-father who could care less that she exists. After horrific events in Ash's apartment, April is left to flee and hide as an unaccompanied minor. But during one flight, things don't go as planned: a hijack, a bomb, Ash, and false coordinates to land. Will anyone on that plane make it back down to the ground safely?
When I first started this book, I didn't fully understand what the book had planned or truly what the concept of it was. I'm not sure if this effected my opinion, but it took me a long time to feel myself immersed in the novel. As I said, I don't know if it was the unclear concept or if the book was just slow to start off. The story is written through April's perspective, but it is also done at times as a series of police reports and interview records. At the beginning of the novel, the point of this writing style is unclear since the main events on the plane have not taken place. Once done the novel, it does make sense, but the delayed understanding did decrease the rating of the story.
One thing I did like was the diversity of characters present in the novel. There is a broad spectrum of ages of the main characters from April and Malcom, who are young teenagers, to Flo, who is a fairly old flight attendant that gets away with everything. Each character has a distinct personality which allows you as a reader to find someone you can relate to and root for throughout the duration of the story. I personally found myself to be similar to Malcolm - he's quiet, reserved, but definitely there for you when you need him; he also has a dog named Captain Beefheart and I would love to have my own version of that dog!
Once I had finished the novel, I read the short author blurb at the back of the book to discover that Hollis was working on a sequel to this novel. I personally don't see how another novel would benefit or enhance the story, as most of the plot had been tied up by the end. But, for the sake of being informative, the follow-up novel is out and called We Will be Crashing Shortly. I likely won't be reading the second story, but let me know if you do.
Overall I would rate Unaccompanied Minor 3.5/5 because it was good, but it could have been better. I understand that publishers don't like prologues anymore, but I think a chapter at the start that gave a preview as to why the story was written as police reports would be extremely helpful in clarifying a few things. But it was still a very good read and I still recommend it.
Until next time,
Happy Reading Fellow Bookworms :)
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