I received a free ecopy from NetGalley in exchage for my honest review.
Emily is on a plane to France to compete for a scholarship—one she desperately needs as she and her mother live out of her mom’s car. The problem is that she’s not supposed to be there. And once the plane leaves the ground, dark secrets are revealed. People are killed. And this becomes a game not of wits, but of survival.
Thin Air began somewhat expectedly: the MC steps into this scholarship already acquainted with a handsome, charming crush and at least a couple of suspicious characters. Multiple inner conflicts are set in place immediately, and mildly weird happenings are enough to put the reader and the MC on edge, and then the threats appear. I had to do some disbelief suspension (to me, aspects of this scholarship seemed too sketchy to be legit), but still, this was fun to follow, if familiar, and the pacing kept us moving along nicely.
Then—about a third of the way through, something happened (no spoilers!), and my jaw hit the floor. It was absolutely brutal. I knew I needed to find out the ending as soon as I could.
I’ll admit, after that, the book dipped a bit for me for the next third. At moments, the fast pacing worked against the story because it felt like there wasn’t enough time to let the shaking events—I’ll say it, murders—sink in. Don’t get me wrong: the murders were absolutely addressed and impactful to the reader and MC. Soon after it’s done, though, we’re shoved forward to the next stage of the scholarship competition or relationship development, while I was still reeling and couldn’t follow the change of attention (and sometimes mood).
In addition, the multiple conflicts may have oversaturated the story. We had the life situation, the mother, the best friend, the guilt, the MC’s dissatisfaction with her personality, the love triangle, the unsettling boyfriend of the best friend, the scholarship, and the murders. That’s a lot to tackle on an eight-hour plane ride, and I think the story would have benefitted from trimming a few and laser focusing on a couple core.
Then we got to the last third. Let’s just say I was literally checking behind me in the dark while reading that. I have not been that affected by a scene in going on a year.
I was duped. The twists were fantastic. I could not figure out what was going on. My heart was racing. There were moments when the casual, sometimes humorous writing style took me out of it for a brief second, but then we were back, and I was anxious.
The big reveal came—and that also dipped a bit for me. Moments of foreshadowing came to light, but they felt rather sparse, so the culprit seemed to come out of nowhere, more of an unexpected surprise to me than a gut-punch shock; the choice of person was fantastic but would have, I felt, been stronger with more foreshadowing, more involvement, more interweaving versus explaining using an oft-used resolution trope (I can’t reveal without spoilers). Following, the final chapter had that element of “having moved on to the next thing” that I didn’t quite click with that quickly.
Don’t forget though—this book made me scared of the dark for a few minutes. The suspense and danger scenes are absolutely exquisite, and I absolutely recommend Thin Air for a fun book with some chilling moments.