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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Unaccompanied Minor: A Novel

I picked up Hollis Gillespie's Unaccompanied Minor because it was made to seem like a thriller--instead I was treated to a book that exceeded all of my hopes and dreams in a fantastically hilarious piece of work.

April Mae (not May) Manning is a fourteen-year-old WorldAir legacy--as far back as she knows, her family has served the airline faithfully. April considers herself an honorary flight attendant; after all, they are her friends and she basically knows how to fly the plane. When her life starts to go wonky because her sociopath step-father (a pilot) manages to get full custody from her mom (a flight attendant) with no logical explanation, April goes on the run, bouncing between the coasts in the air with no one noticing she's gone. One problem--the flight she is on is being hijacked. Whoops.

Oh holy hell. Mother of pearl. OMG. Bloody Mary. Butter my butt and call me a biscuit. I ripped through this book harder than a free taco after a four day fast. JEEBUS LOUISUS. I would argue that this is the best thing since sliced bread. Hollis Gillespie, where have you been all my life? Be besties forever, maybe?

Seriously, there was not anything in this book that I did NOT like. I adored all of the characters, except of course the bad ones. But you're not supposed to like them, so that's okay. I adored the protagonists and heroine, April, and I adored that Gillespie created such a smart and young woman as well, albeit not entirely realistic one. But it doesn't matter; what I loved most about this book was precisely the lack of realism. It lent to itself so hilariously to a suspension of disbelief. I laughed, I cried, but mostly I laughed. Hard. Aloud. In public places.

All I want in my life is a good story and strong characters. From Captain Beefheart to Officer Ned, from Flo to April's attempted kidnapper, I loved them all. Even MacGyver plays a role. That's what I want--I want a story that draws me in and makes me part of its world. The only thing that makes it better as a writer who truly understands the absurd qualities of life and how to weave it into a narrative that is not only funny but is absurd and it's on meta-awareness. Gillespie gave me this. And for that, I think her.

This is supposed to be and a YA novel, but no way. This book was more than perfect for what I needed in my life right now. Seriously, Hollis, I was not kidding about the best friendship. Pretty please?

Kindle version on left, hard copy on right.

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