ARC Review: When We Were Vikings

This is precisely the kind of book that we read and discuss at our YA Bookish Society Round Table. Teen Round table offers kids the chance to hang out with like-minded readers and have grown up style delving and debate.

 “there are people around the poker table of life whose hands aren’t perfect and they see what they have and fold right away. They don’t even bother playing.”

This is a story about Gert and Zelda, brother and sister orphaned at a young age, shifted to a not so great Uncle Richard, and how they navigate the world.
Twenty-one year old Zelda has fetal alcohol syndrome and lives her life by what she feels are the rules of the Vikings. Zelda is on an epic quest to be a modern-day Viking warrior. Her journey includes building a “tribe,” and experiencing new adventures (a new job at a library).
Gert has his own issues with drugs and alcohol addiction. Although he tries to do the right thing, it takes Gert and Zelda together to get out from under some trouble with a drug dealer.
Most of the reviews I’ve read paint Gert as being Zelda’s caretaker when I see it more as they are both damaged by their upbringing and are equals. I loved that in Zelda’s mind, she is a warrior and that she brings those ideals to her modern life. She is the quirky heroine I’ve wanted to read about for a long time.
PSA: I wouldn’t hand this one off to anyone under the age of fifteen, as the story contains a lot of graphic language and adult situations.

Expected publication: January 28th 2020 by Scout Press

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