Friday, November 25, 2016
Girl on a Plane
by Miriam Moss
288 pages, ages 12 & up
HMH Books for Young Readers, 2016
Fifteen-year old Anna is a "Forces" child. Her dad, in the army, has been stationed in Bahrain. Now, after spending summer vacation with her family, Anna is traveling back to her English boarding school.
The year is 1970 and hijackings have been in the news. Anna is worried that her plane might be hijacked, but her mom assures her that it hardly happens. At the gate, mom gives her one last hug, telling Anna to "stay safe". Anna walks across the tarmac to the waiting plane. It is 10:30 am and she's thinking of the seven-hour flight to London.
Anna's not the only kid on the plane; plenty of other military dependents are heading home to schools. The boy next to her is carrying his treasured terrapin in a tin. Another, older boy sits nearby. Mothers with children are heading home.
Then a man with a gun in his hand screams at everyone to sit down. The plane has hijacked by the Palestinian Liberation Front. They will land in Jordan, he says. On the "Revolutionary Airstrip" somewhere in the desert. They are hostages.
As noted on the cover, this book is based on the true story of a hijacking. Miriam Moss was a passenger on that plane, heading home to boarding school in the UK. But this is a work of fiction, she emphasizes in her notes at the back of the book. Yes! There is Back Matter! (you know I love back matter, especially in historical fiction novels). Moss writes about her search for the Revolutionary Airstrip and her journey back to Jordan to visit the site where she spent three hot days as a hostage. She also answers questions about which parts of the story are true, and which are fictional.
You can read an excerpt from the first chapter here. You can read more about the hijackings here and watch a video about the events here. Review copy provided by the publisher.