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When We Were Vikings

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3.99  ·  Rating details ·  1,776 ratings  ·  535 reviews
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.
...more
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published January 28th 2020 by Scout Press
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  • When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald
    When We Were Vikings
    by
    Release date: Jan 28, 2020
    *WITH SIGNED BOOK PLATES*

    A heart-swelling debut for fans of The Silver Linings Playbook and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

    ...more

    Format: Print book

    Giveaway ends in: a

    Availability: 50 copies available, 7784 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Feb 03 - Feb 17, 2020

    Countries available: U.S.

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    Popular Answered Questions
    Andrew MacDonald Hi, and thanks a bunch for your patron request! It's Adult, but I know a lot of readers, librarians, and high school teachers have noted that it can…moreHi, and thanks a bunch for your patron request! It's Adult, but I know a lot of readers, librarians, and high school teachers have noted that it can do double duty as a book with crossover appeal. (less)
    Andrew MacDonald Yes! One of Zelda's adult besties is.…moreYes! One of Zelda's adult besties is. (less)

    Community Reviews

    Showing 1-30
    Average rating 3.99  · 
    Rating details
     ·  1,776 ratings  ·  535 reviews


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    Paige
    Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    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 life’s villains.

    “I told him that I was used to it. “
    ...more
    Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest


    WHEN WE WERE VIKINGS is a book that has a very interesting premise but is potentially problematic in a lot of ways. I breezed through it pretty quickly-- normally a good sign-- but when I finished, I found that I had a really bad taste in my mouth. Something about the book really didn't sit right with me. I finished the book on my lunch break and spent the rest of the day with my thoughts on the back burner, trying to figure out, what,
    ...more
    Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
    A book where the main character is obsessed with Vikings?


    Not normally the kind of book that I would jump all over. I actually have no clue what made me want to read this book but whatever/whoever it was...thank you!!

    Zelda is a character that is different. Zelda is a character that I wish the world had more of. She is honest, outspoken for her tribe and knows what she wants. In this story we get to go with her on her quest for a bit.

    Zelda lives with her big brother Gert. She goes to the
    ...more
    Susan's Reviews
    Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: netgalley-arc
    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 paddling together, to the beat of the same drum."

    ...more
    Carolyn
    This is a very engaging debut novel featuring a young adult with a cognitive disability. Born with fetal alcohol syndrome, Zelda is high functioning but is quite guileless and naive, not always understanding social interactions and people's intentions, which can get her into dangerous situations. Her parents both died when she was young and she and her brother Gert were sent to live with their creepy Uncle Richard, who was cruel to Gert and liked to touch Zelda. After a knee injury put paid to ...more
    Lisa
    Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    [3.5] I have mixed feelings about When We Were Vikings. Zelda is a young woman born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, who functions well in a scripted routine. She views everything in black and white, is crazy about Vikings and uses simplistic language with "words of the day" thrown in. Initially the novel felt derivative (Curious Incident) and YA (except for the sex-talk). I stuck with it because I thought the contradictions around her burgeoning sexuality and desire for independence were ...more
    Susan's Reviews
    Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    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 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 paddling together, to the beat of the ...more
    Elyse  Walters
    Audiobook... read by
    Phoebe Strole/ ebook sync.

    I’m not an enthusiastic Viking - reader - in any shape or form. I trusted other readers that this book had very little to do with Vikings, but it was still too much for me.

    I wasn’t interested in Zelda’s tribe, or dressing correctly to get into character.

    Even with a - somewhat lovable character,
    ....Zelda, a high functioning 21-year-old with fetal alcohol syndrome.... I just didn’t really enjoy the story.
    Zelda is an unreliable character >>
    ...more
    Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance
    As a fan of all things Vikings, I was drawn to the cover of this novel and had a certain expectation on how it would follow. If the blurb and quotes did not give it away, I soon found myself questioning if I had the correct book at hand that I so expectantly put on top of my tbr the moment it was in my possession. What I was reading was both plain and endearing in the use of verbiage but also resembled the main adult protagonist of child-like character. How was this supposed to make a leap from ...more
    Book of the Month
    Why I love it
    by Bryn Greenwood

    As a reader, I'm always looking for the same things that attract me as a writer. I love stories that are outside the mainstream, about people who, in other books, might be relegated to sidekicks or one-dimensional sources of inspiration. When We Were Vikings hit that sweet spot for me.

    Zelda is an older teenager on the fetal alcohol spectrum, but she is nobody's disability inspiration. She sees herself as a modern-day Viking with a sacred duty to protect her family,
    ...more
    Suzanne Leopold (Suzy Approved Book Reviews)
    Zelda is twenty-one years old and was born with fetal alcohol syndrome. She is high functioning with her learning disability and relies on repetition to learn her tasks. She lives a simple life and maintains a constant routine to reduce anxiety. Zelda is friendly and attends community classes where she learns life skills such as basic finance and social interaction. She is also obsessed with Vikings and uses their rituals as guidance in her life.

    Zelda lives with her older brother, Gert, who has
    ...more
    Elle Rudy
    Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: giveaways, 2020
    You can’t be brave unless you’ve been afraid. Zelda is a Viking enthusiast who is trying to make her way in a world full of villains whilst figuring out what makes someone a hero. Born on the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum, she thinks and acts differently, but is still relatively high-functioning. Zelda lives with her older brother, Gert, though they’re struggling financially without any parental or family support.

    It would be easy to make her FAS the main adversary in the story, or perhaps vilify her
    ...more
    Susan Johnson
    Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    I needed a book like this desperately. First of all, it has a main character, Zelda, you can unreservedly root for and she has surrounded herself with a tribe that gives her needed help, support, and love. She is a 21 year old who has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and is struggling to establish her independence. Her older brother, Gert, is not ready to let go and he still wants to protect her (who doesn't?)
    Luckily she has the support of Gert's girlfriend, AK47, her doctor and the Community Center she
    ...more
    Bon
    Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    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 this was a young woman’s story, one I was infinitely
    ...more
    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 great weakness. Even in her failures, she learns ...more
    Nick
    Dec 13, 2019 marked it as to-read
    Just got an ARC, might read it soon
    Lori
    Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Great debut novel. Tenderly told from the POV of a young woman named, Zelda. Though she suffers from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum disorder she still manages to face the many challenges in her life with grit and determination to become the ‘hero of her own story.’ Uplifting and inspiring this story will leave you with a tear in your eye & a smile on your face. 4 stars.
    Dennis
    When We Were Vikings is a cute, light, coming-of-age story about a woman named Zelda and her day-to-day life with her older brother Gert. Zelda suffers from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, but she doesn't let the haters get her down. Zelda is a good-natured, funny, protagonist and while this book may sound like it could venture a darker route, it's definitely a fun ride. Zelda is one of the most loveable protagonists I've ever encountered.
    Nursebookie
    Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Amazing!!! Full review to follow.
    Kerrin Parris
    Sep 20, 2019 rated it liked it
    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 him, Gert borrows money from a thug, who is a ...more
    Stephanie
    description

    Things this book is not: Light, easy, simple, purely humorous.

    Things this book is: Endearing, heartwarming, sad, hopeful, quirky, wonderful. I fell in love with Zelda and her tribe. Some of the portions of the book made my heart hurt and some of the themes are dark. But oh man...does love ever win. This for sure earned a spot in my "favorites of up lit".

    Similar to Eleanor Oliphant, our heroine will make you root for her and the pages will fly as you are praying that Zelda gets her happy ending.
    ...more
    Brandi
    Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    When We Were Vikings is a unique story about a young girl and her quest to become a Viking legend. I love when I stumble upon a book that doesn’t check all the typical mainstream marks. Give me something off the beaten path, something a little different and my hands get grabby.

    description

    Zelda has fetal alcohol syndrome, a result of her mother drinking heavily while pregnant. In her early twenties, Zelda lives with her older brother Gert, both parents have passed and after escaping an asshole uncle they
    ...more
    Shelley
    Aug 28, 2019 rated it liked it
    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
    Karen
    Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
    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.
    Viral
    Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    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 good and evil are more complex in real life. Her
    ...more
    Creya
    Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    This was hands down my favorite book of 2020 so far. With characters named Zelda and Yoda, this book was pretty much made for me.

    If you love the Netflix series Atypical, this book is for you. Zelda was born on the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum. While she struggles with certain cognitive functioning, she wants to earn her independence. She wants to be legendary.

    Parts of this book had me laughing out loud, and other parts had me cringing. When Zelda’s brother gets involved with the wrong crowd, how will
    ...more
    Karen Rush
    Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
    3.5 rounded up. This book was a hard one for me to rate. I loved much of it, the compelling inter-relationships, conversations and Zelda’s incredible voice, her quirky Viking mentality and unique point of view. An impressively written debut and one unlike anything I've read.

    So, what didn’t I like? Zelda and disabled friend Marxy are on the cusp of adulthood and are quite focused on a plan to ‘do it’ for the first time. It was hard getting through these pages - uncomfortable and a recurrant
    ...more
    Amy (TheSouthernGirlReads)
    Review to come :

    Final thought. Enjoyable read. (Errrr, enjoyable listen)
    Basic B's Guide
    Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    For those that have ever been told they couldn’t do something or felt constrained due to expectations, this heartwarming debut will warm even the coldest of hearts. If you loved Eleanor Oliphant you will adore Zelda MacLeish. Zelda – you are one bada$$ Viking and I would be honored to be part of your tribe.

    4.5 stars
    Anne
    Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    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 unique voice that endears you to her from the very ...more
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