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Flight #116 is Down

by Caroline Cooney

School Library Journal Gr 7-10-- Patrick, 17, finds it ironic that he needs to request hall passes to go to the library, while as an emergency medical technician he can deliver babies and save lives without such childish restrictions. Wealthy Heidi longs to feel competent at something and close to someone. Daniel, 15, must escort his younger brother to a wedding he desperately hopes won't take place. Spoiled Darienne can only focus on the small, insignificant negatives of life. All of these disparate personalities and more are thrown together by the cataclysmic crash of a 747 on Heidi's rural estate. Don't expect the unity or finely brushed characterization of Cooney's Don't Blame the Music (Putnam, 1986). This time, her third-person narration and rapidly shifting viewpoints have awkward results, much like a shooting sequence for an action-packed TV movie. However, it is these very qualities that may engage the attention of unsophisticated or reluctant readers. The author has done her research on emergency rescue; the crash scene and its evolving confusion are vividly detailed, and a great deal of information is conveyed. Human frailty and strengths are counterpoised. For every overdone character flaw (even the dogs don't like Darienne), there are rewarding bits and the importance of being loved and contributing to the welfare of others is reaffirmed. Sure to be popular.-- Cindy Darling Codell, Clark Middle School, Winchester, KY

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Book list Gr. 7-10. Be prepared for swarms of teens requesting this page-turner. Bill Dodge's exciting dust-jacket illustration will capture their attention, and Cooney's engrossing plot about rescue operations for a downed 747 will ensure that they'll keep reading. Although the action spans only eight hours, readers will experience a roller coaster of emotions as rescuers battle flames and harsh conditions to free 400 trapped passengers. They'll feel the sights and sounds of the crash, the terror and pain of the passengers, and the exhilaration, fatigue, and frustrations of the rescuers. The story focuses primarily on 16-year-old Heidi Landseth, who reports the crash, and on 17-year-old Patrick Farquhar, the first trained emergency medical technician to respond to the emergency. Cooney dedicated the book to her daughter Louisa, a trained EMT at age 16, and the detail and clarity of her descriptions of the rescue operations reflect her interest, knowledge, and respect for emergency medical and rescue teams. A great choice for a booktalk or for use with reluctant readers. ~--Chris Sherman

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Using her trademark lightning pace, Cooney depicts the drama and human interest inherent in disaster. A full 747 jetliner crashes late one Saturday night in the tiny upstate New York town of Nearing Falls. The rescue crew, including teen ambulance drivers and paramedics, must battle prejudice, resentment and fear to discover their own brand of bravery. Cooney ( Don't Blame the Music ) captures the lives of both rescuers and passengers with a facile but not unpleasant touch. Her cast includes several conventionally troubled youths, including two brothers en route to their father's second wedding, a spoiled and glamorous rich kid and a runaway on her way home. The author's fluid command of action and suspense, however, redeems these stylistic shortcomings. Like The Poseidon Adventure and Airport , this story will keep even the least bookish readers glued to their seats. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.