Before Takeoff by Adi Alsaid
Genre: Young Adult Literary Romance
Publishing Date: June 7, 2022
About the Book
The Sun Is Also a Star meets Jumanji when two teens meet and fall in love during a layover-gone-wrong at the Atlanta airport in this thrilling new novel from the author of Let’s Get Lost!
James and Michelle find themselves in the Atlanta airport on a layover. They couldn’t be more different, but seemingly interminable delays draw them both to a mysterious flashing green light–and each other.
Where James is passive, Michelle is anything but. And she quickly discovers that the flashing green light is actually… a button. Which she presses. Which may or may not unwittingly break the rules of the universe–at least as those rules apply to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta.
Before they can figure up from down, strange, impossible things start happening: snowstorms form inside the B terminal; jungles sprout up in the C terminal; and earthquakes split the ground apart in between. And no matter how hard they try, it seems no one can find a way in or out of the airport. James and Michelle team up to find their families and either escape the airport, or put an end to its chaos–before it’s too late.
About the Author
Born and raised in Mexico City, Adi Alsaid is the author of several young adult novels including Let’s Get Lost, We Didn’t Ask For This, and North of Happy, a Kirkus Best Book nominee. He’s also the editor of Come On In: 15 stories of immigration and finding home. He currently lives in Chicago with his wife and two cats, where he occasionally spills hot sauce on things (and cats).
In the author’s acknowledgments, he mentions that this is a “weird trip of a book.” And I think that’s apt for Before Takeoff. I made a lot of notes while reading this, so bear with me because this review might be a bit messy.
Let’s talk about James and Michelle. Michelle is so very funny that I liked her instantly. She helped to bring James out of his shell, and we see a young man with many thoughtful things to say. He gives Michelle’s funny bone a run for her money. But she’s going through some things right now, and she has her moments of reflection. It’s careful and deep. This story is so much about their friendship, getting to know each other than just the airport. However, the airport is truly an adventure, highlighting many societal issues we’re facing today.
The characters were richly detailed. I liked Roger and his font of positive vibes. I think when he finally met up with our crew, it felt complete.
Randomly, I found myself asking, How is the PA system working? Until I remembered that this is labeled fantasy, and we were going on an adventure of sorts. Without a doubt, this is a unique book. The directions taken are what make this book shine. I feel this book will appeal to upper YA and adult readers alike. Overall, this is an amusing and thoughtful read, nicely done.
“James would really rather not be here either. Where are the rom-coms, you know?”
“He can feel her coursing through his veins, and he wonders if his earlier rant about love was bullshit.”
“I’m starting to think we might not catch our flights anytime soon.”
“The longer life goes on, the more it feels like the odds increase for you to encounter tragedy. How quickly everything can go wrong.”
“It’s hard to keep believing in something that you see no evidence of.”
Interested in the full tour schedule? Be sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour.
Many thanks to TBR Tours for this fun and quirky blog tour.