cover image Thin Air

Thin Air

Kellie M. Parker. Razorbill, $19.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-5935-2600-2

A dozen high schoolers are traveling to Paris aboard a private plane when, a few hours into the flight, teens begin turning up dead. The passengers are all students handpicked from elite schools across the country, each participating in an academic competition for a four-year, all-expenses-paid scholarship to an Ivy League college and a postgraduate mentorship. This would be life-changing for Emily Walters, who attends a boarding school in Connecticut on a needs-based scholarship; since her father stopped paying child support, Emily lives in the family Subaru with her unemployed mother when she’s not at school. On the plane, Taylor, a student from Boston, is targeted via her nut allergy; she’s saved with an EpiPen, but Paige from North Carolina isn’t so lucky. It seems that someone is taking out the scholarship competitors one by one. And while Emily is desperate to obtain the prize, she must decide whether winning this deadly game is worth sacrificing everyone on board. Emily’s empathetic first-person narration, rendered in assured prose, is a steadfast vehicle that drives readers from one suspenseful, if familiar, scare to the next. There are no snakes on this plane, but the dangers are real in this ticking-clock thriller by Parker. The cast is racially diverse. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)