A snowstorm on New Year’s Eve closes Denver International Airport, canceling flights and stranding passengers; for Ryn, immobilized by grief since the death of her best friend, Lottie, a year ago, getting stuck might be just what she needs to move on.
Ryn has a meet-cute with Xander, a fellow stranded passenger and the attractive, biracial son of celebrity psychologists (white mom, African-American dad), when they accidentally exchange cellphones. Once the white teen has verified her phone still contains Lottie’s last, unread message, the two wander the airport, eat, talk, separate, and meet up again. In between, Ryn rescues Troy, a 13-year-old white child prodigy and Harvard grad student who’s on a mission to locate clues said to be secret code predicting an Illuminati-generated apocalypse. The three attend an impromptu party in an airport hotel room that their airport-employee hosts, Siri (black) and Jimmy (white), have decorated creatively with airport gleanings. As night wears on, Ryn and Xander probe each other’s secrets with interesting results. An assault of flashbacks to Ryn’s friendship with Lottie weighs down the briskly entertaining plot. Unlike the lively, multicultural airport employees, denizens, and strandees, Lottie’s a stock character, the wild white party girl, maddening but lovable, beautiful and rich, now tragically deceased. Readers, like grounded travelers, are stuck in the past with Lottie or, later, in glum therapy sessions with Ryn when they’d rather be checking out Illuminati clues with Troy or playing Stranded Passenger Bingo with Siri and Jimmy.
Enjoyable light romance with emotional baggage—call it an early winter beach read. (Fiction. 13-16)