Before Takeoff by Adi Alsaid

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Before Takeoff

Author: Adi Alsaid

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 3/5

Diversity: Latinx MC, French Thai Switz character, Black characters, Buddhist character, Asian character, Latinx queen character

Recommended For…: young adult readers, thriller, romance, contemporary, magical realism

Publication Date: June 7, 2022

Genre: YA Thriller Romance

Age Relevance: 15+ (cursing, terrorism, deportation, cancer, racism, sexual content, panic attack, religion, HP content, romance, death)

Explanation of Above: There is some cursing in the book. There are mentions of terrorism, deportation, cancer, and racism. There is some sexual content and romance mentioned in the book and some slightly shown. There is a panic attack shown in the book. There is religion that is mentioned very briefly in the book. There is death shown in the book. There is one HP mention in the book.

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Pages: 336

Synopsis: 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.

Review: Overall, this book was interesting. The book is set in the Atlanta airport and if there wasn’t COVID in the air I’d go there and read this book to experience everything firsthand. The book is an interesting case study on how people would handle unexpected or cataclysmic events. The world building was good and the story keeps you on your toes for sure. I’d say that I liked the premise of the book and what it was wanting to offer to me.

However, I had a lot of negatives about this book. The book is weirdly told and it’s very clearly not very well plotted. The character descriptions are lazy, it took me until the near the end of the book that the MC was Latinx, and not well formed. There is a part in the book where a queer character, of unknown age but is clearly older because they work for TSA, is crushing on a freshly 18 year old girl and it gives all the ick vibes but also gives the impression that the queer character is acting that way because they’re queer, which is a no go during Pride month. The only reason I’m not 1 starring this book is because I feel like that was an oversight considering the overall writing of the book. The writing is just bad and this book is not a fun read. I also hated the HP reference in this book and, since this is 2022 and the HP author’s transphobic nature is widely known, there is no excuse for it and a point has been deducted from the book’s rating overall.

Verdict: It’s good, but there’s so many issues that I think a few more rough drafts and rounds of editing could solve.

Book Info:

Before Takeoff by Adi Alsaid

Genre: Young Adult Literary Romance

Publishing Date: June 7, 2022

Synopsis:

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. 

Book Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53961921-before-takeoff

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08VFT3R43/ref=x_gr_w_bb_sin?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_sin_ca-20&linkCode=as2&camp=15121&creative=330641

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/before%20takeoff

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Before-Takeoff-Adi-Alsaid/9780593375761?ref=grid-view&qid=1644335050500&sr=1-2

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/before-takeoff/9780593375761-item.html?ikwid=before+takeoff&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0#algoliaQueryId=0abb455dc59de3a01f8add1b9c45e767

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780593375761

About the Author:

Born and raised in Mexico City, Adi Alsaid is the author of several young adult novels including Let’s Get LostWe 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).

Author Links:

Website: https://www.adialsaid.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AdiAlsaid

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/uhhdee/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4505164.Adi_Alsaid

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/adialsaidauthor

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