Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Book Review and Giveaway: When She Flew by Jennie Shortridge

Using the true story of a war vet and his 12 year old daughter found living in the forest as inspiration, Author Jennie Shortridge has written a powerful work not only about the bond between parent and child but also about doing the right thing, even when that’s a hard thing.

The fictional tale is told in alternating chapters - some from the point of view of 12 year old Lindy who lives off the grid with her PTSD-plagued father and some following police officer Jessica Villareal, a grandmother already at 38 who is estranged from her 19 year old daughter, as she responds to the call that a transient preteen has been seen in the woods.

Lindy’s chapters are spare yet haunting as she describes her life in the forest as well as her “capture” and subsequent ordeal. In some ways, Lindy is mature beyond her years, in others, completely na├»ve and Shortridge absolutely pulls off the voice. That Jessica’s chapters feel so completely different – down to earth yet pulsating with that mix of frustration and compassion that adulthood brings – is a testament to Shortridge’s skill.

Oddly, though Lindy’s chapters are first person and Jessica’s are third, I felt I got to know Jessica much better. Lindy remains a bit elusive, much like the blue herons she so loved to catch a glimpse of.

I enjoyed this one immensely and highly recommend it to those who like modern day stories with fully fleshed characters and a compelling storyline.

WHEN SHE FLEW is available in paperback now. Find out more about it on the author’s website.

This review is part of the TLC blog tour for WHEN SHE FLEW. See other stops on the tour at the TLC website.

I have one signed copy of the book up for grabs - to enter for it, simply tell me what news story you think would make a good jumping off point for a novel. Since it's coming directly from the author, this one is US and Canada only and I'll keep it open until 11:59 PM CST on January 11th.


Anna said...

Glad you enjoyed this one, and it sounds great. I've heard a lot of good things about Shortridge's books, and I'm happy to hear that she nails the different characters' voices.

As for a news story that would make a good book...maybe the balloon hoax family and why they'd put their kid through all that just for 15 minutes of fame.

Diary of an Eccentric

Beth Kephart said...

In a very similar vein, I have following the story of the tent community now living in the Pine Barrens region of New Jersey—a story told to me by a man who began an organization designed to help these people live through winters such as the ones that we are now having—live through any season, every season.

I think about them every day, these families living in their tents among wolves in a national preserve.

When She Flew sounds incredible.

Readingjunky said...

Sounds like a fascinating book. I recently heard a couple of reporters from my area speak about a book they co-author on a similar subject. It is based on homeless (many veterans) living in the woods near here. You never hear about children, though, much less their side of the story.

Another story idea might be to highlight the recession in a YA novel from the point of view of a teen.


Literary Feline said...

I really enjoyed this one too. I like your comparison of Lindy to the heron. That is so true!

No need to enter me in the giveaway. I'm afraid most of the news stories that come to my mind are all crime related--murder, in particular. I must be in the mood for a mystery.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anna- the balloon boy family. I will never understand those people and their parenting style!

Thanks for a great review, Lenore.

Jennifer said...

I'd love to read this book!

News story: This story happened near where I live. A woman disappeared on 9/11/01 and her husband was recently convicted of her murder, although her body has never been found. It was such a strange case!

js1997 (AT) gmail (DOT) com

Cecelia said...

Ahh! Anna took my thought. Well...she's more punctual than I am, actually. There were so many bizarre things about the balloon boy story - and I imagine starting a story about 8 years down the road, when he's a teenager, and what's befallen the family in that time, etc. I'm not so interested in the fame bit, but what happens when the family's torn apart, and will people still be able to identify this kid. Also, balloons? Cool subject.

Thanks for the chance to win!


Valerie Kemp said...

This sounds like a really interesting book! I would love to check it out.

I would love to see a story about the girl who disappeared in South Carolina after lying to her parents about where she was going. (She was from New Jersey or someplace, told her parents she was spending the night with a friend and then snuck off on spring break with her friends.) She went outside one night and was never seen again. Very intriguing.

D Swizzle said...

Looks frightening.

kathrynjankowski said...

Sounds like an interesting book.

I'm intrigued by a recent news story that involves "Cleopatra's Underwater City".

Simply Stacie said...

I recently heard a story about people travelling in Oregon over the holidays and following their GPS directions. They went down a service road as their GPS told them too. It turned out this road wasn't plowed and they ended up getting stuck there for 3 days.

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

Jonnie (JB) said...

This book sounds good. I think the Jon and Kate Gosselin drama could make a good movie.


A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

I think that the landing of the plane in the Hudson River earlier this year would make an interesting movie. Thanks for the giveaway.


Unknown said...

I think the story about the 5 year old girl who was missing [but people think the mom killed her 5 year old girl] would make a great story, and the person who would be narrating the story should be a fictional teen boy or girl next door who is too quiet to say anything.


Lucy @ Delightful Reviews



bermudaonion said...

This book sounds wonderful. I love alternating points of view because I feel like I get the whole story that way. No need to enter me.

Kailana said...

I really like the cover to this book. I keep seeing it around.

justpeachy36 said...

This looks like an interesting book. Please enter me in the giveaway.

I've been following a quirky little story in our local newspaper that I think would make a hysterical comedic book lol... Apparently, a father and son duo broke in the local animal hospital and stole of all things a bearded dragon. Then they proceeded to try to pawn the bearded dragon and/or barter it for alcohol. LOL... struck me as very funny and an interesting thought for a story.

Violet said...

When She Flew sounds excellent! :)

I think the Harrison family's bicycle adventure would make a great snapshot-of-America-from-a-unique-perspective book. They are a family of five (with three kids under ten) riding a five-person tandem bicycle from Kentucky to Alaska. Such an unusual adventure & an interesting way to experience the country, I think it could make intriguing book.

You can see news coverage about them here -

Jessy said...

I think a good news story would be about the homeless and how they came to be in the position there in. Where I live there are thousands of them living in what they call "Tent City" in a patch of woods. I don't think I've read or heard much about the homeless and their struggles

Zibilee said...

I have heard from others that this is a great book and I see you agree! I really want to read this one, so please do enter me in the giveaway, and I would have to say a good news story to turn into a book would be a story about the various homeless population that lives in the woods near our church. They have gotten news coverage in the past, and I think it would be really interesting to find out just where some of them came from.

Anonymous said...

This one's been on my wishlist for awhile. Great review!

Dorthy said...

this sounds like a wonderful book. I'm going to have to add it to my wish list.

A news story that would make a good book?. . . I honestly can't think of one off the top of my head.

But I will be adding this book to my wish list. Thanks!

MarionG said...

I think the Dec 25 plane attempted terrorist attack would make a good jumping off point for a book.
I'm a follower.

Would love to read this book. polo-puppy-fluffy AT hotmail *dot* com

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.

Reading said...

I think the thwarted attempt to blow up the plane on Christmas day would make a good jump off point for a novel.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Teri K said...

How about the presidential gate crashers? It could be funny, or ironic, suspenseful, etc. And yes please enter me in your give-away.

E.J. Stevens said...

Today in local news the Blue Moon (full moon) combined with a huge winter Nor'Easter coming off the ocean is creating record breaking storm tides off the coast of Maine (where I live) and causing flooding. This could be a great beginning for a supernatural story. :)[at]gmail[dot]com

Unknown said...

I think Cleopatra's city they just uncovered from underwater would make a great book.
amandarwest at gmaildotcom

dsandyboy said...

I have just heard a news story about a cougar attack on a child. This could be a good jumping off point.

FrankSandy said...

A young woman visiting the Bahamas accepts motorcycle ride from a young Bahamian. The next day her body is found.

The Lovely Reader said...

I think the story of Drew Peterson would make an amazing book, from all the mystery and wonder surrounding him and his wives.

Thanks for the contest
barbrafl737 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Wendi P said...

This one has been on my list to read so thanks for the great review.

I would love to read a non-fiction story about all of the people that just vanish. It is truly bizarre and troubling to me that so many people go missing each and every year.

Sarah E said...

Please enter me in this giveaway! This book sounds excellent!

I think a good jumping off point for a novel would be the current legislation being considered in Uganda that would sentence HIV-positive gay males to death or life imprisonment.

saemmerson at yahoo dot com

Sarah Emmerson

cherdon said...

When She Flew sounds like a very good read. Please enter me. Thank you.

A news story that would make a good book is the tragic death of Lucca Romano, the 15-month-old boy who plunged 15 metres to his death from a balcony at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, Nov. 22, 2009.

I never cried so hard in all my life. Such a terrible terrible tragedy.

Nancye said...

There were 2 little girls who were killed when they were walking home from swimming lessons. The girls were 5 and 6. They were cousins and best friends since birth. It was a hit and run. Our community still hasn't healed from this tragedy. I think this would make a truly heart-wrenching and unforgettable story.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net