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Black Helicopters

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Black Helicopters Cover

ISBN13: 9780763661465
ISBN10: 0763661465
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A teenage girl. A survivalist childhood. And now a bomb strapped to her chest. See the world through her eyes in this harrowing and deeply affecting literary thriller.

Im Valkyrie White. Im fifteen. Your government killed my family.

Ever since Mabby died while picking beans in their garden — with the pock-a-pock of a helicopter overhead — four-year-old Valley knows what her job is: hide in the underground den with her brother, Bo, while Da is working, because Those People will kill them like coyotes. But now, with Da unexpectedly gone and no home to return to, a teenage Valley (now Valkyrie) and her big brother must bring their message to the outside world — a not-so-smart place where little boys wear their names on their backpacks and young men dont pat down strangers before offering a lift. Blythe Woolston infuses her white-knuckle narrative, set in a day-after-tomorrow Montana, with a dark, trenchant humor and a keen psychological eye. Alternating past-present vignettes in prose as tightly wound as the springs of a clock and as masterfully plotted as a game of chess, she ratchets up the pacing right to the final, explosive end.

Review:

"This brief but razor-sharp novel from Woolston (Catch & Release) is as unpredictable as the bomb strapped to the chest of the girl at its center, 15-year-old Valkyrie White. Raised in isolation in remote Montana, Valkyrie was four years old when her mother was killed tending the garden after black helicopters passed overhead. She and her brother are brought up by their father, who believes in being a free and free-thinking person, and who is happy to deliver violent messages for a price, such as targeting an 'activist' judge. It's a path that, following more tragedies, finds Valkyrie dressed as an ordinary girl, an explosive hidden beneath her hoodie, riding in a U-Haul truck headed out into the world. Valkyrie makes every word count in her narration, which makes sense coming from a girl who grew up with such rules as 'Never waste an opportunity to conserve resources.' The ambiguities and of-the-moment realism of Woolston's story muddy the lines between right and wrong, while giving provocative insight into the mindset of those who see modern government as an unnecessary evil. Ages 14 — up. Agent: Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Blythe Woolstons first novel, The Freak Observer, won the William C. Morris debut fiction award. She lives in Billings, Montana.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Beverly B, May 3, 2013 (view all comments by Beverly B)
Black Helicopters is a short but insightful and riveting thriller. Valley is a very bright, responsible teen and a completely unreliable narrator. Her point of view is born of 15 years of almost total isolation from the world and being raised by a paranoid, unstable father. She has been brainwashed by her father to believe all aspects of the government and the media are evil, the government is going to kill them, and no one can be trusted. Valley has never been to school, the library, a mall, a park. She has never been allowed to talk to kids her own age, go to the movies, have friends, ride a bike to town, get to know the neighbors, or play. When her father is gone (which he is frequently) Valley and her brother hide in an underground bunker. When her father dies, Valley is convinced it is the government declaring war on her family, and she is ready to retaliate with a horrific act of violence. She is determined to make the government suffer as much pain as she is suffering and do exactly what her father taught her to do. There are no glimmers of hope that her father's death may set her free and lead her to a healthier life. There is nail-biting tension and an exciting ending.
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Candace @ LoveyDoveyBooks, March 20, 2013 (view all comments by Candace @ LoveyDoveyBooks)
How often do we want to admit that our heroes or heroines are the bad guys? It's always been a struggle for me to view the main character as the one in the wrong or the one with any faults at all. Blythe Woolston really increases that struggle as she tells Valkyrie White's thrilling story. Black Helicopters chronicles what brings Valley to this present day with revenge on the forefront of her mind and a bomb strapped to her chest.

Black Helicopters is considered a literary thriller, mostly because it makes you think about Valley's upbringing and why she makes some of the choices she makes. Her father trained her and her brother, Bo, the ways of life through chess and he taught them how to survive. It's easy to see that their father wasn't a man living an honest life because of all the secrecy and paranoia. Their hiding from the black helicopters actually seemed a very small part of the novel, but it set the foundation for the story's tone: dark and devastating.

One thing that I wish this story had was more depth into supporting characters. There weren't many scenes about Valley's brother Bo or Mabby. Sometimes it feels like the story is missing some filling, that information that could provide answers to those many unanswered questions readers will likely have by the end of the book. However, final thoughts about Valkyrie and what happens to her can be inferred from Woolston's writing, which is moving and dramatic.

Woolston keeps you on your toes in Black Helicopters. You never know what you'll find out about Valley's life or what might happen next in her story. It's a novel definitely worth reading and afterwards you'll want to explore some of Woolston's other works!
*Book provided in exchange for an honest review*
Also posted on Lovey Dovey Books
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780763661465
Author:
Woolston, Blythe
Publisher:
Candlewick Press (MA)
Subject:
Situations / Violence
Subject:
fiction;extremists;suicide bombers;terrorism
Publication Date:
20130331
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 9
Language:
English
Pages:
176
Dimensions:
8 x 5.75 x 0.68 in 0.625 lb
Age Level:
from 14

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Related Subjects

Children's » Family » Alternative Family
Children's » Situations » Physical and Emotional Abuse
Young Adult » Fiction » Social Issues » Violence
Young Adult » General

Black Helicopters Used Hardcover
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$10.95 In Stock
Product details 176 pages Candlewick Press (MA) - English 9780763661465 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "This brief but razor-sharp novel from Woolston (Catch & Release) is as unpredictable as the bomb strapped to the chest of the girl at its center, 15-year-old Valkyrie White. Raised in isolation in remote Montana, Valkyrie was four years old when her mother was killed tending the garden after black helicopters passed overhead. She and her brother are brought up by their father, who believes in being a free and free-thinking person, and who is happy to deliver violent messages for a price, such as targeting an 'activist' judge. It's a path that, following more tragedies, finds Valkyrie dressed as an ordinary girl, an explosive hidden beneath her hoodie, riding in a U-Haul truck headed out into the world. Valkyrie makes every word count in her narration, which makes sense coming from a girl who grew up with such rules as 'Never waste an opportunity to conserve resources.' The ambiguities and of-the-moment realism of Woolston's story muddy the lines between right and wrong, while giving provocative insight into the mindset of those who see modern government as an unnecessary evil. Ages 14 — up. Agent: Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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