Teen Book Review: Girl on a Plane by Miriam Moss

Title: Girl on a Plane
Author: Miriam Moss
Publication Date: September 13th, 2016
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction
Pages: 288
ISBN: 0544783999
Source: Publisher

Synopsis (from Godreads):

Bahrain, 1970. After a summer spent with her family, fifteen-year-old Anna is flying back to boarding school in England when her plane is hijacked by Palestinian terrorists and taken to the Jordanian desert. Demands are issued. If they are not met, the terrorists will blow up the plane, killing all hostages. The heat becomes unbearable; food and water supplies dwindle. All alone, Anna begins to face the possibility that she may never see her family again. Inspired by true events, this is a story about real people facing horror with courage and resilience.

Amazon | Goodreads

Miriam is an award winning author of 75 children's books, both information books and fiction. Her fiction includes picture books, novelty books and poetry, and recently short stories for the adult market. Her books have been translated into over 20 languages.

Miriam has had wide experience of working creatively both with children in schools and libraries, and with adults. She offers lively, innovative large group performances, talks, interactive storytelling sessions, readings, seminars, creative writing and poetry workshops.

She was born in England but also grew up in Africa, The Middle East and China. She taught English for eight years in the UK and Kenya before becoming a writer. She now lives in East Sussex.

Fifteen year old Anna Milton is on a plane that's taking her from her home on a little island in the Persian Gulf to England, where she attends boarding school. Shortly after taking off, the passengers discover that there are hijackers on the plane, and they're all rerouted to a desert in Jordan. Hungry, thirsty, hot, and losing hope, Anna worries the hijackers' demands won't be met within the three day time limit, and that she and the other passengers won't make it back to England alive.

I liked the suspense that occurred all throughout the book. When I wasn't in tears (which I was, more than once), I was right on the edge of my seat. Even though I had some ideas from the beginning of what was going to happen, there were still times when I found myself holding my breath. The story was about a life or death situation, and I definitely felt the tension from that.

I think the characters were both my favorite and least favorite part of the book. Least favorite, because I feel that Anna was just a little too understanding of the people who hijacked her plane, the people who were going to kill her. She's 15 and scared; I think she should have been a bit angrier, and a bit less sympathetic. She was almost unrealistically mature, I guess. Favorite, for three reasons. The first is nine year old Tim and his pet terrapin, Fred. Tim is adorable, turtles are adorable, and every scene involving the two was just absolutely sweet. Captain Gregory is up next. He's not even a main character, but even so, I think he's my second favorite, after Tim. His concern for his passengers is touching, and I love that he manages to keep everyone (including himself) calm during the hijacking. I admire his courage. And third, I thought the portrayal of some of the hijackers was really great. The way they're written makes them seem very human, despite the fact that they're the Bad Guys.

One thing I was a little disappointed with was that David and Tim, the two boys who befriend Anna on the plane, are kinda left out at the end of the book. I really wanted to know what happened with them, or at least if they still kept in touch with Anna. A mention of Fred the terrapin would have been nice as well.

All in all, Girl on a Plane was a very fun book, and I’d recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a quick and simple but exciting read.

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