Hello readers! Welcome to my stop on TBR and Beyond Blog Tours for Before Takeoff by Adi Alsaid. Thank you to the author, the publisher and TBR & Beyond Tours for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this tour.
Title: Before Takeoff
Author: Adi Alsaid
Genre: YA, Mystery
Published: June 7th, 2022 (Alfred A. Knopf BYR)
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.
Thank you to the publisher, Alfred A. Knopf BYR, and TBR and Beyond Tours for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
James and Michelle meet at the Atlanta airport while on a layover. With flights delayed all around, they decide to explore and find a strange flashing green light which turns out to be a button. Michelle presses it and while there is no effect that they can see immediately, they soon realize that the Atlanta airport has more or less been turned upside down. There are jungles growing in one terminal, snow and rain in another, and worst of all, no way to get out of the insanity that the airport is turning into. James and Michelle team up to locate their families who have mysteriously vanished in the havoc and find a way to stop the chaos.
This book has been on my TBR for quite some time now, so I was thrilled to be able to join this blog tour. I really enjoyed the last book I read by this author, Come On In, so I was very curious to see what this would be like, especially with the switch in genre. From the sound of the premise, I expected a read that would be on the more lighthearted side and action-packed given the comparison to Jumanji, so this story really took me aback when it went in a completely different direction. Despite that, it was interesting how it got pretty deep in places, reflecting on human nature and societal issues. Slower paced though it was, this book was still an adventure and a fun read and a look at how people might react under such bizarre and inexplicable circumstances.
James and Michelle were both likeable characters and the style of the narrative made it so that the can really get inside their heads and see what they are thinking through the whole crazy experience. The switches between the two POVs were nicely handled and the story moved between the perspectives seamlessly. In depth character development was not really something I expected from this book, but both their arcs were written so well. The narrative also does switch focus to other adults in the airport from time to time which was an interesting choice in a YA novel and it added an fascinating perspective to the story.
I felt the pacing was rather slow however, and the story dragged a lot in the middle, where not much was happening and there was just a lot of descriptions that didn’t really seem necessary. I found myself skimming a lot in those sections, just waiting for the story to move along, which was quite annoying.
Before Takeoff was an engaging read with a very unique concept and I enjoyed it. I would recommend this book for fans of any genre and it is the type of story that would appeal to readers of both YA and adult fiction. I’m looking forward to seeing what book this author writes next!
Before Takeoff releases on June 7th, 2022.
About the Author
Born and raised in Mexico City, Adi Alsaid is the author of several young adult novels including Let’s Get Lost,We 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).
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!