Title: Critical Eleven
Author: Ika Natassa
Publisher: PT. Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Publication Date: 10 August 2015
Edition Language: Bahasa Indonesia
Pages: 344 pages
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Drama, Fiction, Family, Romance


Dalam dunia penerbangan, dikenal istilah critical eleven, sebelas menit paling kritis di dalam pesawat—tiga menit setelah take off dan delapan menit sebelum landing—karena secara statistik delapan puluh persen kecelakaan pesawat umumnya terjadi dalam rentang waktu sebelas menit itu. It’s when the aircraft is most vulnerable to any danger.

In a way, it’s kinda the same with meeting people. Tiga menit pertama kritis sifatnya karena saat itulah kesan pertama terbentuk, lalu ada delapan menit sebelum berpisah—delapan menit ketika senyum, tindak tanduk, dan ekspresi wajah orang tersebut jelas bercerita apakah itu akan jadi awal sesuatu ataukah justru menjadi perpisahan.

Ale dan Anya pertama kali bertemu dalam penerbangan Jakarta-Sydney. Tiga menit pertama Anya terpikat, tujuh jam berikutnya mereka duduk bersebelahan dan saling mengenal lewat percakapan serta tawa, dan delapan menit sebelum berpisah Ale yakin dia menginginkan Anya.

Kini, lima tahun setelah perkenalan itu, Ale dan Anya dihadapkan pada satu tragedi besar yang membuat mereka mempertanyakan pilihan-pilihan yang mereka ambil, termasuk keputusan pada sebelas menit paling penting dalam pertemuan pertama mereka.

Diceritakan bergantian dari sudut pandang Ale dan Anya, setiap babnya merupakan kepingan puzzle yang membuat kita jatuh cinta atau benci kepada karakter-karakternya, atau justru keduanya.


It’s been awhile since I reviewed a book. Please forgive me about that. To tell you the truth, I have read some books but I haven’t got the time to write the review. I have a lot on my plate that I rarely have time to manage my blog. It’s been hectic days since the new year. So please, do spare me. However, I will try my best to write as often as I can. I do notice I’ve been reading Indonesian novels these days but after I’ve finished them all, I will get back to my English novels. Believe me, they have all been waiting for me to read for years. I seriously need to quicken my reading pace.

Anyway, let’s get back to Critical Eleven. This is an Indonesian novel but I will write my review in English. Basically, because I want to make my English better but if you are from Indonesia and hoping that I write this review in Indonesia too, just tell me in the comment below and I will try to write in dual languages.

So, I will summarise the book in English first because I notice that the synopsis above is in Indonesia. Critical Eleven is a term in the aviation world—three minutes after take off and eight minutes before landing. Statistically, those minutes are the most often time when the aeroplane went for an accident. It’s when aircraft is most vulnerable in any danger. And in a way, it’s kind of the same thing when meeting people. Anya and Ale first met on a flight from Jakarta to Sydney. The first three minutes Anya was interested and the next seven hours of flight they talked and laughed together. Eight minutes before landing, Ale knew he wants Anya. After five years since their first met, now they have to face a big tragedy that will make them questions all the choices of their first meeting.

To tell you the truth, I buy Critical Eleven out of boredom. I was going back home from work, but since my father hasn’t come, I went to my favourite place first, which of course, bookstore! Because there is one bookstore near my office, which is quite exciting, I have to say. I ended up buying two novels, and one of them is Critical Eleven. I buy it because I read a glimpse of the first few pages and kind of curious about it. So I decided to buy Critical Eleven and one other novel. I heard Critical Eleven is a bestseller, so I take it as a yes to buy it. Yep, I am one of those people who buy a book just because they say it was a bestseller. Actually, it’s kind of out of curiosity too. I never really intended to buy this book until I read a glimpse of it. Just a glimpse of it has made me want to read it more. I take it as a sign of a good book. A good book can make the readers want to read the next page and the next page and so on. Aside from the term of Critical Eleven, the synopsis at the back of this novel didn’t really catch my eyes actually. Luckily I am able to read first two or three pages and I became intrigued. And so, I ended up buying it.

And don’t you just love the heterogeneity of bookstores?  Toko buku itu bukti nyata bahwa keragaman selera itu bisa kumpul di bawah satu atap tanpa harus saling mencela.  Yang suka fiksi, komik, politik, masak memasak, biografi, traveling, semuanya bisa ngumpul di satu toko buku and find their own thing there.  Bookstores are the least discriminative place in the world.  Dan itu keren, Le.” – Tanya Baskoro

The first few chapters, Ika Natassa has succeedingly made me want to read more and more. That’s when I thought I have made the right choice to buy this book. Not only first few chapters but until the end of the book, Critical Eleven has made me want to turn the next page without pause. Although I have to admit later, it’s more of curiosity rather than a good story idea. The story is good, but I don’t if it’s that good. Well, it is good until certain points but after that point, I kind of feel like the characters are so bloody annoying. I mean, I get it why, Anya—the main female character—felt the way she felt towards Ale—the main male character. But still, I felt really annoyed when I read the story. I don’t understand the connection between the title and the love story between Ale and Anya. But the title is definitely eye-catching and interesting.

I am in no position to judge about Anya’s situation because fortunately, I didn’t experience such a thing. But according to some reviews that I’ve read, Anya’s reaction to the situation is reasonable at all. Anya’s anger was too made up. So, they say. Like I said, I am in no experience of Anya’s situation, so I don’t know. However, if I am in that situation, I will be so angry but perhaps not like Anya. I mean, 6 months? Seriously? It’s exaggerating. As for Ale, I can’t decide if he’s right or wrong, but I think he’s mostly right, except the part where he told Anya about the thing that begins their fight. He did try to make amends, but Anya always rejects him. In my opinion, the weirdest part is that the solution is too easy. After all these months, the solution is just that? Come on. I mean, I want them to get along, seeing how much Ale loves Anya and shockingly, Anya still loves him too. But, I want more consolidation between the two of them. Not just as simple as that kind of solution. However, the overall story is pretty much satisfying to read.

The synopsis of Critical Eleven is right. We will fall in love or hate those two characters. And yes, I actually did both. I fall in love with one, hate the other. And then one time I will hate the one I love and love the one I hate. It’s interesting to stir up feelings like that. Critical Eleven has indeed a good story, a really interesting one. Ika Natassa wrote the setting and the background story really well. Starting from their job, their family, and all. Everything seems real to me, even though some people might find it exaggerating. I mean, Ale is a petroleum engineer and Anya is a management consultant. I think we can agree that their finance is not a problem here. So, why people think it’s too unrealistic? I still don’t understand. Unfortunately, the downside of this novel is the ending is not strong enough. Even some people said the conflict is not strong enough—no, not ‘not strong enough’ but actually quite wrong enough. I think it is strong enough, but perhaps, more research is needed, perhaps? I don’t know. I really like the idea, but perhaps the execution is just wrong. Not because the writer is inexperienced in writing, but because she never actually felt what Anya has felt. I hope she won’t have to, though! Like seriously, no one should ever experience what has Anya been through. It’s too devastating and sad.

Despite all the flaws, I can’t actually say I don’t like this book. But I also can’t say I love this book either. So I am in between. Fortunately, Critical Eleven is still enjoyable to read and  I definitely can’t stop reading it. Ika Natassa has succeeded in making me curious about the book.  I heard the book is going to be turned into a film and I kind of excited about it. I hope the film can cover the lacks in this book. *fingers-crossed*

Therefore, I will give Critical Eleven 3 out of 5 stars.

😘   Toodle-oo,brenda-rochelle