Announcing our 2021 Award Winners and Top 20 Books of the Year

Summary and book reviews of Dirt Bikes, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly by Conrad Wesselhoeft

Dirt Bikes, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly

by Conrad Wesselhoeft

Dirt Bikes, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly by Conrad Wesselhoeft X
Dirt Bikes, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly by Conrad Wesselhoeft
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Apr 2014, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2015, 352 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Tamara Ellis Smith
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Video gamer and daredevil dirt bike rider Arlo Santiago is recruited by the U.S. military at White Sands to pilot drone missions in Pakistan. When the game becomes all too real, how will Arlo reconcile his duty with the violent death that haunts his family?

Seventeen year-old dirt-bike-riding daredevil Arlo Santiago catches the eye of the U.S. military with his first-place ranking on a video game featuring drone warfare, and must reconcile the work they want him to do with the emotional scars he has suffered following a violent death in his family. Adios, Nirvana author Conrad Wesselhoeft, takes readers from the skies over war-torn Pakistan to the dusty arroyos of New Mexico's outback in this young adult novel about daring to live in the wake of unbearable loss.

Chapter 1

Kenya Man  explodes out of my phone:

L.A. . . . L.A. . . . L.A. Gonna get my junk in play

At the corner of Sunset and La Brea.


I jerk out of REM sleep, level nine. Scramble and find my phone wedged under El Guapo’s ass, punch in.

“Dude,” I rasp, “be right out.”

But instead of Cam or Lobo on the other end, it’s some space cowboy.

“Hello, is this Arlo Santiago?”

Everything about the voice sounds like a jail door clanging shut.

“Am I speaking with Arlo Spencer Santiago?” “Uhhhhhhhmm . . .”

El Guapo—“The Handsome One”—arches his back and starts to hump me, his way of saying good morning. I shove him, and he tumbles ass-over-floppy-ears onto the floor. Then he pops up and grins at me.

He’s always grinning. Humping and grinning. He’s the grin- ningest, humpingest dog in the world. Probably the only stan- dard poodle in all northeast New Mexico.

“Guess so,” I...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Wesselhoeft understands the power of stories. He believes we need them "to learn how to live and to understand who we are." And he knows how to write to achieve this power. Through Arlo, I felt that place of recent grief; a swirling of emotion, like standing on the edge of that New Mexico mesa and feeling the wind blow tough and hard in every direction. Wesselhoeft quotes Walt Whitman when he talks about grief: "Every moment of light and dark is a miracle." This is how Dirt Bikes, Drones and Other Ways to Fly reads. Like a series of small miracles...continued

Full Review (1079 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Tamara Ellis Smith).

Media Reviews

School Library Journal
A moving story about loss, love, and learning to let go.

Publishers Weekly
Wesselhoeft's mesmerizing descriptions of Conrad's New Mexico home...and giddy exhiliration when he's riding his Yamaha bike...will keep readers in the thrill of the moment.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. Readers will worry, laugh and ultimately soar along with Arlo as he finds his way. Nuanced supporting characters and a vivid New Mexico landscape ground Arlo's dilemma, creating a superbly well-balanced narrative.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Conrad Wesselhoeft

BookBrowse's Tamara Smith Interviews Conrad Wesselhoeft, Author of Dirt Bikes, Drones and Other Ways to Fly

Conrad Wesselhoeft worked as a tugboat hand in Singapore and Peace Corps Volunteer in Polynesia before embarking on a career in journalism. He has served on the editorial staffs of five newspapers, including The New York Times. He is the author of the young adult novels Adios, Nirvana (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010) and Dirt Bikes, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014). His ancestors were doctors to Emily Dickinson, Louisa May Alcott, 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 (the "D" is...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Read-alikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Dirt Bikes, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly, try these:

  • Grendel's Guide to Love and War jacket

    Grendel's Guide to Love and War

    by A. E. Kaplan

    Published 2017

    About this book

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower meets Revenge of the Nerds in this tale of a teen misfit who seeks to take down the bro next door, but ends up falling for his enemy's sister and uncovering difficult truths about his family in the process.

  • The Emperor of Any Place jacket

    The Emperor of Any Place

    by Tim Wynne-Jones

    Published 2017

    About this book

    More by this author

    The ghosts of war reverberate across the generations in a riveting, time-shifting story within a story from acclaimed thriller writer Tim Wynne-Jones.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search read-alikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: The Lincoln Highway
    The Lincoln Highway
    by Amor Towles
    Voted 2021 Best Fiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Things look bleak for Emmett ...
  • Book Jacket: The Code Breaker
    The Code Breaker
    by Walter Isaacson
    Voted 2021 Best Nonfiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    What makes humans human? It's ...
  • Book Jacket: Firekeeper's Daughter
    Firekeeper's Daughter
    by Angeline Boulley
    Voted 2021 Best Young Adult Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Angeline Boulley's young adult ...
  • Book Jacket
    A Million Things
    by Emily Spurr
    Voted 2021 Best Debut Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Our First Impressions reviewers were...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    True Crime Story
    by Joseph Knox

    The #1 international bestselling novel. What happens to all the girls who go missing?

Win This Book!
Win Taste Makers

Taste Makers
by Mayukh Sen

America's modern culinary history told through the lives of seven pathbreaking chefs and food writers.

Enter

Wordplay

The Big Holiday Wordplay

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.