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Dirt Bikes, Drones, And Other Ways To Fly (2014)

by Conrad Wesselhoeft(Favorite Author)
4.61 of 5 Votes: 2
0544232690 (ISBN13: 9780544232693)
HMH Books for Young Readers
review 1: The title of this book seduced me and I was not disappointed. The main character, Arlo Santiago is witty, smart, emotionally cauterized when it comes to personal relationships, but downright spiritual when it comes to experiencing a moment to it's absolute fullest. He is also crazy reckless. The story begins after the death of his mom, the fulcrum of their family. But like his father, Santiago can't talk through his grief or even think too much on it. Instead he flees into a world of danger on his dirt bike, playing chicken with tractor trailers, and escaping into the virtual world of an arcade game called Drone Zone. There's also a new girl at school that has him curious and reluctantly interested. The dialogue is both snappy and revealing. The New Mexican landscape is a ... morecharacter unto itself--vibrant and changing and vast. Movement is a major theme in the book. The juxtaposition of the virtual hobby with his riding explores movement in different ways. The reader can't help but feel transported into jet stream or zipped along a dirt gully. **Spoiler**Early in the book Arlo's skill at Drone Zone lands garners the attention of the military. It takes a bit of a Last Starfighter turn when he's recruited to fly actual drones to help locate a noted terrorist. While that part stretches the imagination a little, it does provide Arlo a means to support his family and grow to understand what his limits are. Limits are important in the story. He has to learn the limits to his recklessness, also. Some of these lessons are painful, but ring with honesty. This novel is solid high school book club material--discussable and relevant.
review 2: Living in Clay Allison, New Mexico, should mean that Arlo Santiago is into football and keeping the team's legend alive for the community, but football definitely isn't Arlo's game. He spends his time playing the video game Drone Pilot. When he isn't gaming, he is riding one of his dirt bikes stunting with friends in the desert.Another thing that occupies Arlo's time is worrying about family. His mother was tragically killed in a convenience store robbery, his father lost his job when the local newspaper folded, and his little sister has fallen victim to a disease that will soon leave her wheelchair bound for what's left of her short life. Drone Pilot is Arlo's main escape. When he is playing he feels like he is truly flying and leaving his troubles behind.The night that Arlo breaks the all time high scoring record on the game is the night his life changes forever. Little does he know but his ability to play Drone Pilot and his high score has caught the attention of the U.S. government. The next thing he knows he is being invited to the military compound known as White Sands where he will be tested to learn his potential as an actual drone pilot for the USA. When it is revealed that his skills top all others in the test group, he is given an offer he can't refuse. Flying surveillance drones could provide everything his family needs, but it might also come with a price Arlo isn't willing to pay. How far will he go to help his father and his sister? DIRT BIKES, DRONES, AND OTHER WAYS TO FLY explores the meaning of family, loss, and the power of promises. Author Conrad Wesselhoeft shows readers how important it is to stand by one's principles no matter the cost. less
Reviews (see all)
Poetic, poignant, and bombing with pace and voice. Drink the wild air, Arlo!
I received this book through the GoodReads First Reads program.
One of the best books I have read! The action never stops.
The main character's sister is terminally ill.
Really good read. Enjoyed it very much!
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