When We Were Vikings

Zelda wants to be a modern day Viking hero so she can save her family from certain danger. I’m so glad that I joined her on this inspiring and quirky quest!

be legendary…

— Andrew David MacDonald

Synopsis:

At first glance, Zelda is your standard 21-year-old basketball-playing, rule-following, Word-of-the-Day loving girl. She’s also on the fetal alcohol spectrum, so the world is different in her eyes. When she discovers her older brother (and only family) is making money in a questionable and dangerous way, Zelda decides to take her destiny into her own hands. She’s going to become a real-life Viking hero and be legendary.

Review:

Knowing that words will scarcely describe how this sweet and simple book touched me in such a lasting way, I’m going to try anyway. Because that’s what Zelda would do.

To boil it down to three words, this book is surprising, original, and endearing.

I loved that When We Were Vikings is told from Zelda’s viewpoint. She’s a wonderfully unique and resilient protagonist. Instead of the story being told about her, which might elicit pity instead of understanding, Zelda reframes her disabilities by telling her own story. We’re able to see her strengths and limitations through her own eyes.

The cast of characters is very diverse (races, sexual orientations, ages, family situations, mental abilities) but it doesn’t feel forced. This charming and quirky bunch of characters brings such candor and breathes life into the pages. They’re awkward and uncomfortable, often failing miserably and are shockingly offensive, but they always try again.

Having some family members with mental disabilities, this book really touched my heart. Not because it merely talks about similar people who struggle with the same life choices, but because it portrays them so compassionately…And with awkward humor for their unflinching comfort with things that make many others flinch. Like sex. Oh my, the conversations about sex that Zelda and her boyfriend have with their family is amazing and so perfectly honest.

Give this book a try, I can’t imagine you’ll be disappointed. There’s laughs, tears, and smiles to be had! I can guarantee that you will fall in love with Zelda, and you might even decide to become your own Viking hero!

TW for sexual abuse and violence / CW for language and sexual language

Thank you to Scout Press for a complimentary copy of this advanced reader’s copy in exchange for my honest opinion. I voluntarily reviewed this book, and all opinions expressed are my own.

 

When We Were Vikings
by Andrew David MacDonald
Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: January 28th 2020 by Gallery/Scout Press

Summary

Zelda wants to be a modern day Viking hero so she can save her family from certain danger. I'm so glad that I joined her on this inspiring and quirky quest! There's laughs, tears, and smiles to be had! I can guarantee that you will fall in love with Zelda, and you might even decide to become your own Viking hero!

— Cassie
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