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Release Date
July 30, 2019
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Cassie, Tim, Emily, Brandon, and Jay are on their way back from a camping trip, flying from Idaho to New York City on Cassie's family's private plane. This might be a usual thing for the others, but for Jay, it's only his second time ever on a plane. And what starts as a normal flight soon veers desperately out of control. One of the regular pilots is sick, so there's a replacement. Cassie has suddenly fallen ill for no reason. And Jay notices the plane is flying west instead of east. As the military works feverishly on the ground to find out what's going on, the friends are trapped thirty-seven thousand feet in the air on a plane that's clearly been hijacked. Only no one knows who's in control or why it's happening. Their only chance to survive is by working together, but when everyone is a suspect, trusting the wrong person is a deadly mistake. With each passing minute, the gas gauge drops, alliances shift, and danger rises. Will anyone make it off Flight 21 alive?

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1 review
Terror on a private flight
Overall rating
Writing Style
Six students from an elite private school are returning home after a camping trip on the private plane belonging to Cassie's father's business. The regular pilot is ill, so there is a substitute, and not long into the journey, the teens realize the plane is heading west instead of east. They have a security person, Reeva, with them, and she is not overly concerned. At the same time, we see Michelle Okolo at work as an intern at the National Air Traffic Investigation Center. She took the job because her father was killed when a storm popped up and his plane wasn't alerted, so the job is personal to her. Things start to go badly very quickly on the plane-- Cassie suffers a bad allergic reaction, and it's soon clear that she has been poisoned. Was it the replacement pilot? Reeva? One of her friends? When the plane goes offline, NATIC is brought in, and Michelle starts investigating the social media feeds and background of the people on board, trying to figure out who is responsible. Things go from bad to worse, there are more deaths on board, and it looks like no one will survive. Will Michelle be able to make a difference this time?
Good Points
Aside from Moss' Girl on a Plane, I can't think of too many books that deal with highjackings of planes. It's one of those topics, like murder, that enthralls middle grade readers. The suspense, the mystery, the life-and-death feel of the entire adventure are all good things. It was especially interesting to see behind the scenes in the air traffic offices as the plane went offline, and to see how the workers there investigated the people on the plane, the path, etc.

The privileged aspect of the group of friends is intriguing. They are off on a vacation, Cassie is showing her bravery and perhaps foolhardiness scaring her friends while climbing, and then inexplicably, things go very, very wrong on their way back home. It seems like a good idea to be able to have enough money to charter a private plane, but maybe not! To paraphrase Fitzgerald, the rich are very different-- they have more enemies.

There definitely need to be more suspense books for teens, and this joins the ranks with Evans' Michael Vey series, McEwen's Camp Valor, McNab's Traitor series, and Coben's Micky Bolitar novels.
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