cover image Stateless


Elizabeth Wein. Little, Brown, $18.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-31659-124-9

This suspenseful murder mystery by Wein (The Enigma Game), set in 1937, centers a group of stellar young pilots competing in a European air race. Striving to promote peace during a period of international unrest, pioneering British female aviator Lady Firth organizes Europe’s First Youth Air Race, comprising 12 pilots aged 17–20 from 12 nations, flying over seven cities. Seventeen-year-old Stella North, Britain’s representative and the only female participant, hides her Russian origins, fearing exposure by the press as a stateless refugee. When one pilot disappears before the first leg of the race is completed, Stella believes she witnessed his murder in the sky. Each contestant—and their respective chaperone—is a possible suspect, and Stella, externally cool and collected, privately worries about potential sabotage to her plane. She also wrestles with misgivings about her competitors, each of whom represents a different facet of the imminent war. Danger and intrigue abound in this historically accurate aeronautic adventure, which boasts a large cast whose unusual and dramatically shifting dynamics make for a savory read. Major characters cue as white; one chaperone is a highly regarded Black aviator. A concluding author’s note details context regarding pre-WWII and aviation history, plus extensive source notes. Ages 12–up. Agent: Ginger Clark, Ginger Clark Literary. (Mar.)