1. Kept my attention while I was miserably, epically sick last week. Seriously. I felt so terrible that I couldn't read, couldn't watch tv, couldn't play Diablo III, couldn't surf the internet, couldn't sleep, couldn't talk, couldn't do anything but lie in bed and stare at the ceiling and wish for sweet, sweet oblivion. I picked up and gave up on more books than I'm comfortable admitting to: Unaccompanied Minor was the only one that held me.
And NOT ONLY DID IT HOLD ME, but for a few brief hours, it turned me into a human being again! The entire time I was reading it, I wouldn't shut up! I kept turning to Josh and saying, "I LOVE THIS BOOK! DID YOU KNOW THAT <insert weird airplane fact>? I DIDN'T! I MEAN, THIS IS FICTION AND ALL, SO MAYBE SOME OF THIS STUFF IS MADE UP? HAVE I MENTIONED HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS BOOK?"
Then, when it was over, I sunk back into my regularly-scheduled misery.
2. IT MADE ME WANT TO REVIST MACGYVER. I ask you.
Fifteen-year-old April Mae Manning, plane crash trivia junkie and MacGuyer superfan, is stuck in the middle of a vicious custody battle between her mother and her stepfather, who is at best a complete bastard and at worst an actual sociopath. Since they live on opposite coasts, April spends so much shuttling back and forth—they both work for the airline, so April flies for free—that she doesn't go to traditional school: she attends an online academy.
Things are bad enough as they are, but the kidnapping attempt is the last straw, and she runs away. For the last few weeks, she's been hiding in plane (<--AHAHAHAHAHAHA SEE WHAT I DID THERE?) sight, using her mother's identity to hop from flight to flight while she tries to figure out what the hell is going on.
AND THEN THE PLANE SHE'S ON GETS HIJACKED.
ALSO, THERE'S A BOMB.
On the hijackers' side: Pretty much everything.
On April's side: another unaccompanied minor, complete with emotional support pet (a pit-corgi named Captain Beefheart); a cop who's been giving her the side eye for weeks; a chain-smoking, heavy-drinking 67-year-old flight attendant; and, of course, all of her MacGuyer know-how.
Things that work: As long as you aren't looking for something SUPER realistic—the bad guys are all mustache-twirlers, for example—almost everything! It's funny, fast-paced, smart, witty, and just totally entertaining across the board. Extra points for the phrase "psychotic Bobbsey Twins".
Things that are odd, but I gave a pass because I was enjoying myself that I just didn't care: April is fifteen, but reads quite a bit younger. So much so that I wondered if she was originally written as a plucky twelve-year-old and that her age was changed at the last minute for some reason.
Things that don't: There's a lot of shifting in format, lots of interviews and documents and whatnot, but there's very little in the way of visually aiding the reader in navigating it: some judicious bolding, even, would be much appreciated in a future edition.
Book source: Finished copy from the publisher.