From School Library Journal
Grade 4–6—Thirteen-year-old Jimmy, his little sister Julia, and his two best friends embark on a cross-country flight to stay with family in California, where the boys hope to get sponsorship for their skateboarding club. Jimmy helps an elderly knitter with her bag, and learns she is part of a group who is traveling to a knitting convention. When terrorists charge the cockpit and take over the plane, the boys leap into action, killing the hijackers with the help of the women and their knitting needles. They then discover that the pilots are dead and that the plane is out of fuel, and when they crash, the real story begins—survival in the deep forest. It may be highly improbable that the only survivors are the kids, the elderly knitter, and the flight attendant, but the tale remains enjoyable as the silly banter is preserved and the can-do attitude of the youngsters is easy to appreciate. The boys learn from the two adults and Julia, whose girl-scout knowledge gains everyone's admiration, and they make it seem like almost dying in a fiery plane crash can be kind of fun. A true adventure book, with high-spirited and fundamentally good boys as the central characters, Getting Air
should find a wide audience.—John Leighton, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In the opening scene, 13-year-old Jimmy fantasizes about winning it all at the X Games skateboarding championship: a decisive victory, a kiss from his supermodel girlfriend, and a multimillion-dollar sponsorship deal. The first-person novel that follows is only slightly more realistic. Flying to California with his younger sister, Julia, and two skateboarding buddies, Jimmy befriends 79-year-old Mildred, who is traveling to a knitting convention. When the plane is hijacked and a flight attendent killed, the passengers overtake the four terrorists and crash-land the plane in a Canadian forest. Only six survive: the boys, Julia, Mildred, and a beautiful stewardess. Relying on Girl Scout Julia's skills, they struggle to survive, but also find the time and tools to construct a half pipe. Mixing moments of humor with swashbuckling bravado, gruesome deaths, survival tips, and questions about God's existence, the novel never focuses enough to get its footing. Several elements of the story, beginning with the slogan-shouting terrorists, are less than convincing. Still, readers willing to suspend disbelief will find this a fast-paced adventure keyed to today's headlines. Phelan, Carolyn