Uncrashable Dakota

Andy Marino. Holt, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9630-9
The example of the Titanic shows that it’s just asking for trouble to call a ship “unsinkable”—or an airship “uncrashable” in this alternate history from Marino (Unison Spark). So learns Hollis Dakota, the 13-year-old scion of Dakota Aeronautics on the 1912 maiden voyage of the Wendell Dakota, the “world’s first metropolis in the sky.” The flagship of the Dakota fleet carries Hollis, his mother Lucy, stepbrother Rob Castor, and passengers that include the cream of society on a journey that begins with luxury and celebration and ends with hijacking and a desperate attempt to keep the craft airborne. The occasionally slow-moving plot is interwoven with Civil War–era flashbacks about Hollis’s grandfather Samuel, which explain how he discovered the secret of air travel (it involves moonshine, tree sap, and beetles). Adult characters are largely flat—it’s unclear why Lucy would have remarried—but the relationship between Rob and Hollis as they negotiate friendship, brotherhood, and a vicious family feud is soundly drawn, and Hollis’s ally Delia Cosgrove, an apprentice beetle-keeper, is a delight. Ages 12–up. Agent: Elana Roth, Red Tree Literary. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/14/2013
Release date: 11/12/2013
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-8050-9958-4
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