Review: Black Helicopters by Blythe Woolston


4-18-2013 8-06-32 PMTitle: Black Helicopters

 Author:  Blythe Woolston

 Genre:  Young Adult

 Publisher:  Candlewick

 Publication Date:  March 26, 2013

Description: Ever since Mabby died while picking beans in their garden — with the pock-a-pock of a helicopter overhead — four-year-old Valley knows what her job is: hide in the underground den with her brother, Bo, while Da is working, because Those People will kill them like coyotes. But now, with Da unexpectedly gone and no home to return to, a teenage Valley (now Valkyrie) and her big brother must bring their message to the outside world — a not-so-smart place where little boys wear their names on their backpacks and young men don’t pat down strangers before offering a lift. Blythe Woolston infuses her white-knuckle narrative, set in a day-after-tomorrow Montana, with a dark, trenchant humor and a keen psychological eye. Alternating past-present vignettes in prose as tightly wound as the springs of a clock and as masterfully plotted as a game of chess, she ratchets up the pacing right to the final, explosive end.


This is a chilling short novel that’s devastating and thought-provoking. It’s written well and is easy to follow even though it jumps back and forth between past and present. That said, the entire time I was reading it, all I could think of was that I would not want my 14 or 15 year old reading this because it’s so disturbing.

I don’t think it’s a book that young adults would like but I do think it would be a good choice for any adult who is looking for an intense reading experience. Available on Barnes & Noble.