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When She Flew

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3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  356 ratings  ·  94 reviews
A new novel about faith, family, and finding the courage to do the right thing from the author of Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe.

Police officer Jessica Villareal has always played by the book and tried to do the right thing. But now, she finds herself approaching midlife divorced, estranged from her daughter, alone, and unhappy. And she’s wondering if she e...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 3rd 2009 by NAL Trade (first published September 29th 2009)
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Community Reviews

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Jenny
This is my first book by Jennie Shortridge, though she has written a total of 4 and I've heard wonderful things about her other books. While When She Flew didn't blow me away, it was a nice read and good story.

When She Flew, a fictional story based on true events, is told in alternating narratives by two of the main characters. The third person narrative is used to tell the story from the viewpoint of Officer Jessica Villareal. A divorced woman in her late 30's, with a sadly distant relationship...more
Yolanda
Nov 24, 2009 Yolanda rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: read-in-2009
I recieved this book as an ARC from Library Thing and at first put off reading it as I was into about 3 other books at the time.I picked it up on Friday and finished it Sunday. It is fast paced and a very believeable read.
The book deals with an Iraq vet and his daughter who are homeless and what the system of govt tries to do for them believing they know best. It truly makes you think about what home really is and family and that sometimes in trying to do good the system actually does harm when...more
Cara Lee
This sweet and compelling tale is based on real events. Its fast pace provides an interesting counterpoint to its quiet depth. I felt so concerned about the fate of the girl at the heart of the story that I never wanted to put the book down.

"When She Flew" focuses on a life-changing moment in the lives of two very different people: a girl on the threshold of her teens and a woman on the threshold of middle-age. Lindy is a 13-year-old girl who lives with her father in a camp in the Oregon woods....more
Cheryl
Jessica Villareal is a police officer. She enjoys her job, especially when she can help people. Though, she seems to be at a lost when it comes to her daughter, Nina. Jessica is at her wits end. She doesn’t know what to do. Issues between her and her daughter will have to wait. Jessica has a bigger situation on her hands. Someone spotted a little girl wandering. They chased after her, only to discover and she was not alone.

Ray, a war bet and his daughter, Melinda “Lindy” have been living off th...more
Jen
I was fortunate to see the author read from this novel and discuss the genesis of the book. In 2004, a Vietnam War veteran and her daughter were found living off the grid in a large park near Portland. Their encampment was clean, and the girl was 13 but read at a 12th grade level. People were worried about abuse, but they were just a loving father and daughter. A media frenzy ensued.

What intrigued Shortridge was that one of the officers on the case, a single father, felt that they shouldn't be s...more
Linda
I'm so glad that Robin Beerbower recommended this book. I did a little experiment and read it at the same time as My Abandonment by Peter Rock; both books based on the same story of a father and daughter who had lived undetected for four years in a park inside Portland's city limits. Shortridge approached the story from a cop's perspective, letting things unfold a bit more like a mystery.


Lisa
Jessica Villareal is a cop. She's also a mother but she considers herself a better cop than parent and whenever she talks to her daughter she's reminded of her motherly shortcomings. Regret has a big part in Jess's life. She regrets many things, but mostly the over-protectiveness of her daughter as a teenager that eventually pushed her to go live with Jess's ex-husband, taking her young grandson with her. She would give anything to go back and do things differently. But when you're a cop and you...more
Judith
The beginning of this book was a bit slow and drawn out, but around the middle of the book the action begins to pick up and the story gets more interesting. Much of the plot is predictable; there are no real surprises or twists. But the story is enjoyable and the subject matter is rather interesting. The descriptions of living in the woods were fascinating. The book does a good job of exploring social norms and raising the question as to whether such norms are necessarily "right." The circumstan...more
Dyana
I roamed the library searching the stacks to find a really good book to read. After reading the flyleaf I knew I had FOUND IT! I couldn't put it down. When She Flew was inspired by a real life event and is told from the point of view of two people - a 39 year old policewoman and a 13 year old girl. Lindy Wiggs and her father, Ray, have been living in the Oregon woods in a place called Joseph Woods Wildlife Sanctuary. Ray is a disabled Iraq war veteran who took his daughter from his drug addicted...more
Justine Sof2014
This book is called "When she flew" by Jennie Shortridge. Its about Police officer Jessica Villareal, she has always played by the book and always tried to do the right things. She has worked harder on her job then her family. As she focuses more on her job she is approaching a divorce, estranged from her daughter, now she is all alone and unhappy. She felts like a complete fool for making all those bad decisions. Then she meets a vet and his young daughter in Iraq. She avoids all the comfort an...more
Andrea
This book is definitely a story about doing what you think is right, even when it goes against everything you were taught to believe. And it really pulled me in and made me think. I find myself going back and forth about whether or not Jess did what was right. There is the teacher side of me that thinks that Lindy needs to be in the "real world", at least as far as the education is concerned and that they need a real shelter. But there is another part of me, that thinks that if her father is pro...more
Robin
Even though I have alredy sent this, I am updating for my Best of 2009 list, and this review goes along with Peter Rock's MY ABANDONMENT:

Both of these are based on the true story of the father and pre-teen daughter who lived off the grid in Portland’s Forest Park for four years but each author treats the story a little differently. Rock’s story is told in an almost surreal and disassociated manner and Shortridge delivers more of an emotional punch. Both are interesting and would be great for boo...more
Serena
Dec 28, 2009 Serena rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anna Horner, Anna Eskridge, Sarah Kristensen
Jennie Shortridge's When She Flew is a beautifully written novel about pivotal decisions and their unexpected consequences. Told from the point of view of Officer Jessica Villareal and Melinda aka Lindy Wiggs, the novel shifts from the legal ramifications of Villareal's decision not to split up Melinda from her family and Melinda's experiences with her Iraq War veteran father, her drug addicted mother, and her new home. The novel is peppered with beautiful imagery and a number of passages with b...more
Cheyenne
When She Flew is a story of a somewhat emotionally broken police officer who discovers a little girl, Lindy, who has been living in the woods with her Iraq-veteran father for several years. Upon discovering the small, transient family, Officer Villareal has to decide whether to tear them apart for the sake of "following the rules" or defy her superiors and the regulations of the state in order to keep the girl with her father. When She Flew tells dual tales: that of Officer Villareal as she cope...more
Wendy
The seeds of a story can come from anywhere: a conversation overheard, the sound of a train rolling by, our own life experiences or even a story heard in the news. Jennie Shortridge was inspired by the true life story of a Vietnam Veteran and his daughter who had been living in the woods for a number of years. The daughter was healthy and well-adjusted, home schooled by her father. They had lived in the wooded park for four years, living off the land. Shortridge's wonderings about their life beg...more
Heather
I will admit to being a little nervous when my friend Mary gave be the book When She Flew, by Jennie Shortridge. Shortridge is a childhood friend of hers, and as a result I started worrying about what I would write here if I didn't like the book. (It never occurred to me not to write a review...guess I'm a book blogger for real now!) Thankfully I enjoyed the book, and am therefore let off the hook of having to write a negative review of a friend (which is what it would have felt like!).


When She...more
Bridget
I have an Uncorrected Proofs copy of this book, and reading the little summary blurb on the back cover, I wasn't sure what I would think about the book, or if I would even like it that much.

I think it was good, and I really liked it.

The story details a few days in the life of Officer Jessica Villareal, a police officer in Columbia, Oregon, who has always played by the rules. She is estranged from her only daughter, who lives out of town, and as a result, she seldom gets to see her young grandso...more
Samantha
Jessica Villareal is a police officer, sworn to uphold the law, yet her heart and mind can't reconcile what might happen after a Iraqi-war vet father and daughter are found living in the wilderness of a state park. What lengths will she go to help them stay together, and will it mean risking losing all she holds dear?

At the beginning of this book we see Jess struggling to reconcile her rigid thoughts on how others should live. You either fit in or you don't and if you don't, then you might as we...more
Sarah
This is the third novel of Shortridge's that I've read and I've loved each one of them. She's a wonderful storyteller, creating thoughtful and compelling characters, balancing the forward motion of the plot with the emotional responses/revelations of characters.

Told alternately through the first person narration of Lindy, the 13 year old girl who has been living for years off the grid in the Oregon wilderness with her father, and a limited omniscient narrator who tells the story from the perspe...more
Diane
I had no idea this book was based on a true story until after I had already read the book. Knowing this now just makes the story that much more amazing and one that will remain in my memory for a very long time. An extraordinarily well written and emotionally packed book that deserves a 5 star rating without question. Police officer Jessica Villareal sort of reminded me of the character that Holly Hunter portrayed in that TV series entitled "Saving Grace". A cop who is just so down on her luck a...more
Staci
Jul 13, 2010 Staci rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Staci by: Publisher
Shelves: 2010-reads
Thoughts: I was captured immediately with the description of Lindy's love for birds and her hope to see a blue heron. I anxiously await each year the blue heron that visits my neighbor's pond. I love birds and owls, so I felt an affinity for Lindy. I was scared for her when the police invade her home and try to separate her from her father. I'm always amazed at how easily people can judge someone else and this book really made me stop and think about what is a "proper" home for a child. Who make...more
Florinda
Actual events inspired Jennie Shortridge's fourth novel and provide the base for a moving and suspenseful story that explores family relationships, moral choices, and social responsibility.

Police officer Jess Villareal's dedication to her job is one of the factors in her strained relationship with her daughter Nina, and her relationship issues sometimes influence how she does her job. When her department forms a team to look for a young girl spotted in the woods - possibly a runaway, possibly ki...more
Mary
When She Flew is the story of a police officer who is part of a team who search for and find a father and daughter living in the Oregon forest. The father is an Iraq War vet, unable to find work due to a war injury, keeping his thirteen year old daughter safe the best way he can. The police officer knows that the legal system's way of helping the girl is not really in her best interest so she takes matters into her own hands.

I liked several characters in the book, especially Lindy - the young gi...more
Ti
The Short of It:

When She Flew is a gem of a little book. This story gently unfolds into a beautiful thing.

The Rest of It:

This is one of those stories that flows effortlessly. From the moment I picked it up, I knew it was going to be one of those books. As I was reading about Jessica and her relationship with her own daughter, I was struck with how realistically her life was drawn. The life of a cop, a female cop no less…the need to maintain a game face at all times, the pressure to hold it all t...more
Kelli
Just before picking this book up I watched my mother lose her mom. I've asked myself a million times how I would ever cope with losing mine. Maybe that is why, above all the other more obvious themes of this novel that the glaringly obvious one for me was the bond between a mother and a child - regardless of the miles, and histories between the two.
That alone brought me to tears, more than once.
There was so much layered in this book that it became beautiful and tenderly human. It's a look at t...more
Deon Stonehouse
Real life events in Portland Oregon inspired Jennie Shortridge to write When She Flew. In 2004 a former Marine was discovered living with his 12 year old daughter in Portland’s Forest Park. The young girl was clean, articulate, polite, and doing very well academically being home schooled by her father. She was evaluated and there was no evidence of abuse. The police officer in charge of their case found the man work on a horse farm. It looked like a good ending was in sight when the pair were sp...more
Mmtimes4
A new novel about faith, family, and finding the courage to do the right thing from the author of Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe.

Police officer Jessica Villareal has always played by the book and tried to do the right thing. But now, she finds herself approaching midlife divorced, estranged from her daughter, alone, and unhappy. And she's wondering if she ever made a right choice in her life.

But then Jess discovers a girl and her father living off the radar in the Oregon woods, a...more
Anastasia
This novel is based on the actual event of a father and his daughter who were living, by choice, in a forest. They lived off the land, hid from hikers, took trips to the City to buy food and use the library. The daughter was well-adjusted, intelligent, and homeschooled by her father. Then they were discovered and the authorities got involved. Jennie Shortridge makes an admirable effort, through fiction, to understand not only the motivations of these people but that of the authorities involved i...more
Karen
Quick read fiction novel based on a true occurrence of a father and daughter found living in the woods outside of Portland, Oregon. The father, a war veteran with PTSD can’t find work thus can’t afford a home. He takes his daughter to live in the woods, teaches her using the library and cares for her lovingly albeit simply. Found by birders the story revolves around a female police officer who follows her own needs and beliefs rather than the police and other requirements and laws. Story focuses...more
Dawn
This is a wonderful book! The story of a young girl and her Iraq Veteran father living deep in the woods because he can't hold a job and they can't afford housing. Though the father and child have a plan for staying hidden, she makes a mistake and some hikers see her and report a young girl alone in the woods to the police.

The story is told in chapters by the young girl and by the female police officer who is one of the officers involved in apprehending the father daughter team.

The book is bas...more
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Jennie Shortridge is the author of four bestselling novels: When She Flew, Love & Biology at the Center of the Universe, Eating Heaven, and Riding With the Queen.

She is an avid volunteer and mentor, and is co-founder of Seattle7Writers.org, a nonprofit collective of authors that raises money and awareness for literacy.

Her fifth novel, Love Water Memory, will be published in April 2013.
More about Jennie Shortridge...
Love Water Memory Eating Heaven Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe Riding With the Queen Hotel Angeline: A Novel in 36 Voices

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“Last year a baby orca and its mother wandered too far upriver from the ocean; we saw the story in The Oregonian. They didn’t know how to get back home. Pater said all the fuss from people and boaters and news helicopters was probably confusing them more. He didn’t say he thought they’d never find their way back, but I know that’s what he was thinking. In my mind, I like to think they submerged so no one could see them under all that deep blue, popping up again when they were safely out to sea.” 1 likes
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