When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald

When We Were Vikings

A heart-swelling debut for fans of The Silver Linings Playbook and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.Sometimes life isn’t as simple as heroes and villains.For Zelda, a twenty-one-year-old Viking enthusiast who lives with her older brother, Gert, life is best lived with some basic rules:1. A smile means “thank you for doing something small that I liked.”2. Fist bumps and dabs = respect.3. Strange people are not appreciated in...

Details When We Were Vikings

TitleWhen We Were Vikings
Release DateJan 28th, 2020
PublisherScout Press
GenreFiction, Young Adult, Contemporary

Reviews When We Were Vikings

  • Paige
    I absolutely loved being inside of Zelda's mind. Zelda, a high functioning young adult diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome, has something about her that everyone can relate to. While exploring life’s boundaries, she often compares her world to the Viking world. Though others consider Zelda “not normal”, she considers her life a quest and strives to fulfill her legacy while searching for identity, battling for independence, and overcoming ...
  • Susan's Reviews
    What a fine - A VERY FINE!- story Andrew David MacDonald has brought us in When We Were Vikings. That ending was just beautiful. I'm still leaking tears as I write this review. At the end of this epic tale, this talented author did not leave any loose ends untied: we certainly have a lot to learn from Viking lore. "...For [Zelda] the world is a place where courage and being part of a tribe means more than anything else—where we are all Vikings ...
  • Susan's Reviews
    What a fine - A VERY FINE!- story Andrew David MacDonald has brought us in When We Were Vikings. That ending was just beautiful. I'm still leaking (happy/wow) tears as I write this review. At the end of this epic tale, this courageous author did not leave any loose ends untied: we certainly have a lot to learn from Viking lore. "...For [Zelda] the world is a place where courage and being part of a tribe means more than anything else—where we ar...
  • Kathryn in FL
    This highly engaging debut novel is a very original, unique story with interesting, dynamic, primary characters. Told in the first person, Zelda is a special needs person, who is highly functional adult. We watch her get entangled in some very challenging situations that most people would find difficult to work through. Her ability to apply logic and respond based on her sense of what is morally right is both her biggest strength and at times a g...
  • Bon
    Thank you, Netgalley, for an ARC! Wow, what a good read. A story I was into, with real daily life problems being address by an unlikely heroine you can only root for, with her Viking philosophies quick at hand and a desire to write her own legend.I’d certainly compare this to the Curious Incident of the Dog inasmuch as a young, mentally different protagonist leads the story, and the blunt narration made it easy but also immersive to read… But...
  • Kerrin Parris
    When We Were Vikings is an unusual book. For my personal preference, I give it a 3-star rating. The story is narrated by Zelda, a 21-year-old high-functioning young woman who was born on the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum. Her father left home when she was a baby. After her mother died from cancer, she and her brilliant, but thuggish brother, Gert go to live with their uncle. Uncle Richard is truly a terrible person, a Grendel. Desperate to get away from...
  • Viral
    Thanks to Scout Press for the ARC at BEA 2019!This was an interesting, enjoyable, and honestly, empowering book! MacDonald gives us the story of Zelda, a young adult on the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum, who loves Vikings, honor, legends, and wants to have sex with her boyfriend Marxy, who is bit less independent as her. Zelda grapples with her desires to be like the legends of old, while dealing with problems at home that show how classic stories of go...
  • Shelley
    You wouldn't know it by reading the "legends of our own making" blurbs, but this is not an upbeat, uplifting story. At best it's a "intellectually and socioeconomically disadvantaged heroine can kind of cope in the world with a lot of help from savior characters after going through a bunch of really awful stuff." I'm a bit surprised everyone is so overwhelmingly effusive. Is it the novelty of the FAS narrator? Or the tidy-ish ending after what is...
  • Karen
    The main character is a high-functioning young adult diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome, so yay for neurodiverse representation! She also loves Vikings and will fight you if you're a villain.
  • Sheena ☆ Oh, the Sheenanigans!
    If you haven't already picked this gem up, the novel is centre around Zelda, a high functioning young adult diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The heroic heroine is a viking enthusiast and uses "Kepple's Guide to the Vikings", a book Zelda reads obsessively as a handbook to her everyday life. The smooth and easy read told in Zelda's perspective is a phenomenal coming-to-age story filled with love, legends, and self-discovery. It was a pull at...
  • Joann
    First of all, I won this ARC of "When We Were Vikings" in a Goodreads Giveaway. Thanks to ScoutPress for the privilege to read this book for my honest review. I personally am not into Vikings, but found this book to be an amazing read for someone as old as I am. I guess we really can go back to our childhood times if we have a good author writing the book and that was true of this one. Kudos to the author for this debut. We are introduced to 21-y...
  • Anne
    To say I adored this book would be an understatement. It's one of those rare novels that's both heart-warming and heart-wrenching at the same time! Meet 21-yr-old Zelda who was born with fetal-alcohol syndrome and suffers from anxiety and other social issues. She lives with brother Gert who has his own set of problems as he attempts to keep them both afloat and is involved in some shady dealings. The novel is narrated by Zelda who has such a uniq...
  • Andrea
    This book appeared in my inbox. I read the blurb and thought I'd give it a try. Yet another instance when I think the "...for fans of..." is somewhat misrepresented.Is this a YA novel? Perhaps. Didn't much matter to me, nor would it change my opinion. I am in the distinct minority of readers--who raved.About love and family. Zelda, a 21-year old woman with fetal alcohol syndrome is under her brother, Gert's care. She's obsessed with the Viking wo...
  • Keri-Anne
    Thank you to #NetGalley and #Simon&SchusterCanada for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. First and foremost, this is a simple book of strength, love, sacrifice and family. Twenty-one year old Zelda was born with fetal alcohol syndrome. After a rough start to life, we meet her living with her brother Gert and she is wonderfully obsessed with Vikings. Gert is having trouble supporting the two of them which causes troubl...
  • Rick
    Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to preview this book. Zelda suffers from FAS, but is fairly high functioning. She has an older brother, his "girlfriend" and her own friend , Marxy. Interesting story of how she comes with life. Recommended.
  • Craig Fehrman
    I got to spend some time on the road with Andrew when we were both promoting our books. He's a terrific guy, and he's written a terrific book. The thing that stuck with me is Zelda and her voice and perspective, which are sweet and hilarious and very hard to pull off. If you look up interviews where Andrew talks about how and why he wrote the novel, you'll see why he was able to nail Zelda. If you like funny and sincere fiction, this book is for ...
  • Allyson Preble
    My opinion on this book drastically changed as I worked my way through it. It started slow and the writing style took a little getting used to. You read from the POV of Zelda, a girl who is on the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum and obsessed with vikings. In the beginning the viking facts were...a lot. I took away from the story line for me, rather than adding to it. But as you learn more about Zelda and tribe and everything she is dealing with in her lif...
  • James
    The story is not only heart-breaking, but also uplifting; not only gut-wrenching, but also encouraging: there is fear, there is humor; there are heroes, there are villains; lists, books, sex, hatred, love, fury, death, life--in short, When We Were Vikings does it all in one sharply and lovely world created by my new super-duper character in fiction, Zelda. As the Sacramento Kings' good old play-by-play announcer Grant Napear says, "If you don't l...
  • Barb Martin
    Not all of the monsters are outsiders. Sometimes, the grendels can be part of our own tribes.Andrew David McDonald writes "When We Were Vikings" with the same charm as other books featuring a protagonist who is "different." This story, though, is much darker.Zelda loves vikings. She knows the sagas, the language and the importance of the hero's journey. Her tribe includes an older brother dubbed by others as an angry thug, his former girlfriend w...
  • Debi Hawkes
    Enjoyable book. Zelda, the primary character, born on the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum, was not only interesting, but while creating her own "legend", an outstanding example of family (tribe) love, courage, and devotion.I found the first half of the book to be the best, after that things got a bit "tidy".I received an ARC from NetGalley publisher Simon Schuster in exchange for my honest review.
  • Lynne Lambdin
    When We Were Vikings is a story surrounding two siblings that are essentially one another’s life. We have our narrator, Zelda, a grown woman who suffers from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. She loves Vikings and likes rules. Zelda uses the code of Vikings to improve her life and circumstance while also rescuing those she loves. Gert is Zelda’s big brother who supports Zelda solely. He was a young boy pushed into a rough life that can get you into tro...
  • Michele
    When We Were Vikings is one of those unique and rare finds in the book world. I enjoyed it as I read it but am most impressed by how much it has stuck with me since I finished reading. It is told from the perspective of Zelda, a feisty 21 year old woman who is on the fetal alcohol spectrum. At birth, she wasn't given much hope for a future. However, she's proven all the doubters wrong as she is high functioning with a strong moral compass. Zelda ...
  • Laura Hill
    Thank you to Gallery/Scout Press and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on Jan 28th, 2019.Writing: 4/5 Plot: 4.5/5 Character: 5/521-year old Zelda is obsessed with Vikings. Drawing inspiration from Viking lore, she is writing (and living) her own legend, tackling life with courage and loyalty to her tribe. She was also born on the fetal alcohol syndrome spectrum (FASD)...
  • David
    ReviewWhen We Were Vikingsby Andrew David MacDonaldI adored this book. It is beautifully written, tells a terrific story, has some wonderful characters, especially the truly marvelous Zelda, a twenty-one-year-old Viking enthusiast who shares her story with us. I can only hope that author Andrew David MacDomald has a sequel on the way. I read this book courtesy of the author, NetGallery and publisher Pocket Books. In exchange for an honest review....
  • Rose
    ***I'm not sure who to contact about this, but there is an error on Page 256. It says "I feel asleep with my laptop in my lap" instead of "I fell asleep with my laptop in my lap."I'd like to thank Scout Press/Simon & Schuster for providing me with an Advanced Readers Edition of this book for me to read and review. Although there's pretty mature, triggering topics explored, the book is appropriate for Young Adult and older, and it's one everyone s...
  • Marjorie DeLuca
    This was such a touching story of the deep and caring bond between two siblings, Gert and Zelda, and the courage and resilience of Zelda, a young woman with special needs as a result of fetal alcohol syndrome. Zelda has a love of everything related to Vikings and the story opens on her 21st birthday when Gert "hires a Viking" to appear at Zelda's birthday party. The story really kicks into gear when Gert is accepted into college, but soon seems t...
  • Erin
    Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC!This book is beautiful, silly, scary, real, you name it...It had me on a roller coaster of emotions the entire time. When We Were Vikings tells the story of Zelda, a 21-year-old girl who is on the fetal alcohol spectrum. She lives with her brother Gert, who runs with the wrong crowd but does so in order to provide for himself and Zelda. Zelda is a viking enthusiast, and uses a book about vikin...
  • Danielle
    I received an early copy of this book from Net Galley. The story is told from the point of view of Zelda, a woman who was born with mental defects due to her mother’s alcoholism during pregnancy. Zelda lives with her older brother, Gert, who does his best to take care of her, but is having a hard time taking care of himself. Zelda loves Viking legends and decides that she needs to become legendary by fighting villains, going on quests, and even...
  • Barbara
    This is a beautiful story that is narrated by Zelda, a young adult with fetal alcohol syndrome who is entranced by Vikings and tries to live by their values. While she idolizes her older brother, Gert, Zelda ends up surpassing him in courage and morals. Despite some harsh realities, she proves to everyone that she is not as limited as they think she is. Women are the heroes in this story, both Zelda and Gert's girlfriend, Annie, who is on a quest...