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Dirt Bikes, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly Hardcover – April 8, 2014
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From School Library Journal
—Kirkus, starred review
—School Library Journal
"Wesselhoeft's mesmerizing descriptions of Arlo's New Mexico home...and giddy exhiliration when he's riding his Yamaha bike...will keep readers in the thrill of the moment."
"Features both a supporting cast lit up with larger-than-life characters and a protagonist who loves flying recklessly close to the edge but makes right choices in the clutch."
More About the Author
Wesselhoeft began to write for young adults after meeting the acclaimed YA novelist Scott O'Dell (ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS). "When we met, Scott was eighty-five--more than fifty years older than I," Wesselhoeft said. "He was still very active and disciplined as a writer and critiqued my early efforts at writing YA fiction. He taught me many things about writing, but one stands out: Writing is about perseverance--never give up."
Wesselhoeft's ancestors were homeopathic doctors to Emily Dickinson, Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. His three children are in various stages of university study or career exploration. He lives in West Seattle with a poodle named Django. You can learn more about him at conradwesselhoeft.com and adiosnirvana.com.
Top Customer Reviews
If this isn't on a bunch of award lists next year, I'll be shocked.
Arlo is an adrenaline junkie. When he's not playing Drone Pilot, speeding off to White Sands to work with the military, or performing daring motorcycle jumps, this kid is sky diving. Yep, there's a little bit of everything in this book. Amidst all this action and adventure, Arlo is also dealing with the death of his mother, a father who seems determined to drown his sorrows in a bottle, and a sister with a degenerative, ultimately fatal disease. Add in a new girl who steals his heart, and you get a novel packed with emotion. This novel offers up some truly perceptive and poignant observations on family, love and grief. These characters are so complete and complex that they will steal your heart, spark your imagination and leave you wondering what you would do in their situations.Read more ›
Some parts I really, really liked. When Arlo is on his bike, Wesselhoeft makes you feel every bump, crunch and exhilarating emotion.When the author paints the New Mexico landscape you are right there on the mesa or in the canyon. The characters and relationships in this book are well developed and complex. All good things.
Two, maybe three, hang ups
1. This book should really be in classified as a YA, not a children's book. The publisher recommends this book for 12 years and up. I would say that 9th grade would be more appropriate. The language is rough at times and the subject matter is pretty heavy. The main character is 17 years old and he acts and talks like an older teenager/almost man. I believe the story would be most meaningful to a high school student.
2. You are suppose to believe that the US Government secretly recruits this 17 year old and use him for an extremely important mission when:
a. he gets absolutely no training
b. when he makes it clear he is a pacifist (so they try to bribe him)
c. use him when he could be mentally unstable and under the influence (of prescribed medicine)
d. and the military believes he is the only one capable of flying the drone well enough to take the target out.
This part of the plot so bothered me that I put down the book several times because I just couldn't get over this unrealistic portrayal.
3. This is not really a knock, just an observation. It seems like the author spoke both his political and faith beliefs through one character in particular, a high school english teacher. At times it seemed a little heavy handed.
The bottom line: the book is about a young man wrestling with who he is as a man and how that is going to play out in his life.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This seems a book just made for teen boys on the cusp of adulthood who are tech savvy/gamers. I liked it and I'm neither a teen or a male. Read morePublished 21 days ago by sharon burton
I was tricked by the cover. I don't have a ton of interest in dirt bikes, so I had, initially, passed this one by. But, boy, am I glad I picked it up. Read morePublished 3 months ago by EMo
Great novel for boys about video games, air force, sky-diving, thrill seeking behavior and family.Published 3 months ago by Amy M.
It’s a salsa scramble, a monster roar, and a hold-on-tight dirt bike ride that keeps you flying from one page to the next. This is a gripping book.
At one moment during my reading of Dirt Bikes, Drones and Other Ways to Fly, I wondered, "could it possibly happen that the military would seek out boys who play video games... Read morePublished 12 months ago by lindsey c. lane
Arlo Santiago escapes into dirt biking with friends and playing video game Drone Pilot to deal with his current situation of family sickness and death. Read morePublished 14 months ago by ZenWoman