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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

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 in the author’s life, this is a story about ordinary people facing agonizing horror with courage and resilience. Includes Q&A with the author.…

Girl on a Plane

by Miriam Moss

Overall Book Review:

Given current world events, Girl on a Plane is a relevant and timely piece of young adult fiction.  It isn’t so much a break-neck thriller as it is an opportunity to shadow the victim of a hijacking and terrorism. Author Miriam Moss kept it real for every page of the book. The author even touched on some of the motivations of the hijackers and humanized them, which was an important perspective to include, demonstrating that while some things are wrong regardless of rationalization, nothing is ever simple.

As explained in the author’s note at the end of the book, this book is a work of fiction.  Although the author drew extensively on her memories and actual experience, after 40 years it was impossible to remember exact conversations or names of individuals.

Authentic, pertinent, and thoughtful–spend some time with fifteen- year-old Anna and experience what it feels like to be trapped in a situation completely out of your control.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by HMH Books for Young Readers

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  39 religious exclamations; 6 mild obscenities; 4 derogatory names; 2 scatological words.

Violence/Gore:  Many references throughout the book to various hijackings that had occurred; character is pushed; many threats throughout the book, some verbal, some implied, and some at gunpoint; character is reading a book in which character cuts wrists (passing reference/mention only); repeated threat to blow up plane with a bomb; character recalls killing a snake; character has a frightening dream; character recounts how he witnessed his parents being gunned down when he was 11 years old, brief/non-descriptive

Sex/Nudity:  Girl in a mini skirt worries about others seeing her underwear as she climbs ladder; woman flirts with a man; innuendo about a woman sneaking off with a man; innuendo that something happened between a man and a woman and that he “touched and frightened her”; reference to a man who “touched her”, no specifics, but clear that it was upsetting to female character and unwanted; girl notices that a boy is cute.

Mature Subject Matter:

Terrorism, kidnapping, Palestinian displacement, inhumane conditions (lack of food, water, sanitation).

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Reference to teens smoking; smoking on airplane; drinking on airplane; kids are cigarettes to trade; teenager admits she smokes, but not in front of her parents; character sees kids sneaking a puff on a cigarette; teen smokes. Note: book is set in the 70’s so there is pervasive smoking.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

An accountant and CPA by profession, I found myself a book reviewer for Squeaky Clean Reads by happenstance. When the opportunity came to transform that website into Compass Book Ratings, I was excited to seize it and meld my business background with my love of books. As the mother of three teenage sons, I have read a large number of children and young adult books and I believe that there is great value in a content review service. As much as we would love to read everything our children read, there just isn’t enough time. I also appreciate being able to select books for myself that are really worth my precious and limited reading time. I believe there is a book out there for everyone–they just have to find it!