This thinly fictionalized tale recounts a hijacking the author survived in 1970.
Fifteen-year-old Anna is grumpy about boarding the plane that will take her from her dad's army posting in Bahrain to her boarding school back in England. Instead, though, her plane is hijacked by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and flown to the Jordanian desert. There, in the unventilated airplane and with scarcely any food or water, Anna spends four days waiting for the British government to release a PFLP prisoner. Blonde Anna, like the majority of her fellow passengers, appears to be white and neither Jewish nor Arab, though a few Arab passengers are let go early. (In this fictionalized account there is no mention of the 56 hostages, primarily Jews, who were segregated from the other passengers and held captive for weeks longer.) A welcome perspective on the difficult historical realities in which terrorism emerges is perhaps overwhelmed by a little too much sympathy; when teen hijacker Jamal asks Anna, if she'd encountered his circumstances, "Might you be here too?" she only thinks, "I can't answer him." Stockholm syndrome is one thing, as is empathy with the expulsion of the Palestinians, but most in Jamal's situation do not, in fact, hijack planes. Meanwhile, several other hijackers exhibit unpleasant Arab stereotypes, including wild or bulging eyes, often screaming in rage.
Nonetheless, a quality nail-biter, if other sources are available to help with the history. (Historical fiction. 12-14)