The entire novel takes the span of one Saturday afternoon, from 5:05 PM until 12:48 AM the following day, approximately eight hours. Through Cooney, we are able to enter the minds of the major characters in the beginning of the novel - from the rescuers to those boarding the plane that will eventually crash. We learn a great deal about them, such as their personality, behavior and character.
Heidi is a sixteen year old girl, who resides in the Dove House mansion. This is the site of the plane crash, and at the time she is the only one home. She is very independent and courageous, but she doesn't have many friends. Patrick, a seventeen year old senior who feels as though he is under appreciated, and yearns for a chance to put his rescue skills to work. Laura and Ty are two inexperienced rescue juniors, who arrive to help at the scene.
Brothers, Tuck and Daniel, victims of the crash are on their way to New York, where their father will wed again. Tuck is the younger of the two and obedient, while Daniel is more outspoken and rebellious. Darienne is a self centered, egoistical girl who refuses to help at all after she comes out of the plane, unharmed. The last two victims of the crash are Carly, a misunderstood teen who is returning home after following a gang; and Teddie, a little girl headed home back to her parents after spending some time with her grand-parents. All of these disparate personalities and more are thrown together by the tragic crash of a 747 on Heidi's rural estate.
Quarter to six on Saturday afternoon alone home, Heidi hears a series of loud noises, loud like an exploding planet, or a war, she thought. Struggling as to figure out...