Rated 4 stars **** ARC. Published September 13, 2016. Houghton Mifflin. 277 p. (Includes a Postscript and a Q & A with the author).
Anna’s father works for the Army, and has been stationed all over the world. Since she had to move all the time, schoolwork and making friends became challenging. So, 4 years ago, she began going to boarding school in England. That fateful September day in 1970 started out like any other trip to school. Her parents drove her to the airport, she kissed them and her little brothers goodbye, and boarded the plane thinking about how much she would be missing their stay in Bahrain.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take longer before her plane was hijacked by the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine). Seeking public support for their cause, they had been regularly hijacking planes, but Anna never thought her plane would be on their list. “Girl on a plane” is Anna’s story of the four harrowing days spent with the hijackers, without much food or water, not knowing if she and the other passengers would get blown up with the plane in the middle of the desert.
“Girl on a Plane” is a fictional story, based on a real life hijacking experienced by the author when she was 15 years old. During the Postscript and Q & A, readers learn of many similarities between Anna’s story and Miriam’s real life story.
I never knew there were so many hijackings in 1970, which made me very upset that the United States never thought to secure their own planes from hijackers. If they had done so back in 1970, 9/11 would never have happened. Yes these hijackings took place outside of the U.S. while we were busy in Vietnam, but one would think that we would’ve thought about securing our planes. Hindsight is 20/20, but knowing what I now know about these hijackings doesn’t make our inaction any easier to stomach.
Recommended for 14 and older.
Rated 5 stars ***** ARC. Ebook. To be published July 12, 2016. Redhook Books (Hachette).
Lily and her twin sister Abby have always been attuned to each other’s feelings and thoughts, sharing unspoken pacts to always be there for each other. When 16-year-old Lily was kidnapped and held as a sex slave for 8 years, their lives were turned upside down. During those 3,110 days of captivity, Lily gave birth, bore numerous beatings, and learned to be a perfect Baby Doll. Despite his attempts to make her forget, she drew strength from memories of her family, and used that strength to escape the night her captor got careless.
Told through the voices of Lily, Abby, her mother, and her kidnapper, “Baby Doll” takes readers on a roller coaster of emotions as we learn what Lily endured during her 8 years of captivity, and the ramifications it had on her family. Lily’s freedom affects each one differently, but the revenge planned for her disobedience by Rick, her captor, brought goose bumps of horror. This psychological thriller kept me on the edge of my seat, and will do the same for you.
Highly recommended for Adults.
I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Rated 5 stars ***** 2013. Groundwood Books. 186 pp. (Includes “Author’s Note.”)
Taylor lives with her older sister Tannis and her son Mason. Tannis is constantly beaten by her boyfriend, but loves him and is sure things will get better. When he winds up killing her in a fit of rage, Taylor moves in with her grandmother and Mason. Little Mason gives Taylor a goal in life as she helps care for him, but she misses Tannis and her boyfriend Devon. Despite the fact that Devon regularly beat her, wouldn’t let her have friends, and made her call him several times a day to “check in” Taylor loved him, and would do anything to make him happy.
Lily has spent years taking care of her brain-injured mother, helping her recover from abusive boyfriends, but has managed to hide her troubles. She and Taylor become fast friends as Taylor gradually becomes a better student, leaving her to think she can live a normal life, but Devon has other plans.
Unhappy with Taylor’s inability to visit due to finances, Devon decides to unexpectedly show up with his friend Conor and insist Taylor go for a ride. After inviting herself along to keep Taylor safe, the girls wind up being held captive in a freezing cabin in the middle of the snow covered woods. As events unfold, readers wonder if Taylor will ever gain the strength to love herself more than she loves her boyfriend and break the cycle of abuse in her family.
“Lily and Taylor” paints a true picture of the ugliness of domestic abuse in teen and adult relationships. To drive this point home the author includes statistics, tips and hotline information, hoping her readers will make the call that will let them out of their own abusive situations. I hold out the same hope as the author.
Recommended for readers aged 14 and older.
Listed on the ALA (American Library Association’s) Best Fiction for Young Adults list (compiled by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA).
Rated 5 stars ***** ebook. 2012. Merit Press.
The last 9 months and 4 days have been horrible for Sera. Her ex-best friend Ariel turned against her, leaving her friendless and alone her senior year. It didn’t take long for Ariel to spread the word that she was a backstabber, forgetting that Sera had a reason for doing what she had to do that fateful day during their junior year.
However, as far as her parents are concerned, their feud is ancient history and she is forced to go to Ariel’s birthday party. No expenses have been spared for this grand weekend celebration for all the rich kids at New Canaan Country Day School, including having the famous singer Hudson Winters as entertainment.
Soon after the party begins, a group of machine gun toting assassins kill Ariel’s billionaire father and her best friend then hold everyone hostage. Ariel manages to escape into the fireplace which leads to a series of tunnels that wind through the home. With Ariel the main target, the head Assassin plans to keep killing her classmates unless someone tells him where she has gone. Despite knowing where Ariel is hiding, Sera holds firm to their friendship and joins forces with Hudson to try to figure out an escape before all of them meet their deaths. With the clock ticking, and Ariel still missing, it is only a matter of time before more of them meet the Assassin’s bullet.
This gritty thriller with cliffhanger chapter endings is told through the alternating voices of Ariel and Sera. Readers feel their inner thoughts and feelings, as well as the terror of their experiences, bringing their nightmarish experiences to life.
Unfortunately the cover choice brings to mind a girl casually looking through a cracked eggshell, rather than a girl peeking through the grate of a fireplace in fear for her life. I hope future editions of “The Girl in the Wall” will have a more realistic looking cover.
Recommended for ages 14 and older.