Dirt Bikes, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly



Seventeen-year-old Arlo Santiago lives for the "Drone Zone"--that free, joyful, anti-gravity feeling. He achieves the Zone with risky motorcycle stunts on New Mexico roads, or while playing his favorite video game, Drone Pilot. His gaming skills are so off-the-charts, he's recruited by the U.S. Air Force to remotely operate real-life drones in Pakistan. How can he refuse the paycheck when his little sister's health is at stake? This pull-no-punches novel soars, with poetic style, focus on friends and family, philosophical life-and-death musings, and vividly drawn setting of a land "at the intersection of mesa dust and tractor rust."

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin
Publish Date
September 15, 2015
5.4 X 1.0 X 8.1 inches | 0.7 pounds

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About the Author

Conrad Wesselhoeft has worked on the editorial staff of five newspapers and is the author of another Houghton Mifflin Harcourt title, Adios, Nirvana. He has three children and lives in Seattle, Washington, with a big grinning poodle named Django.


"Readers will worry, laugh and ultimately soar along with Arlo as he finds his way. Nuanced supporting characters and a vivid New Mexico landscape ground Arlo's dilemma, creating a superbly well-balanced narrative."--Kirkus, starred review

"A moving story about loss, love, and learning to let go."--School Library Journal

"Wesselhoeft's mesmerizing descriptions of Arlo's New Mexico home...and giddy exhiliration when he's riding his Yamaha bike...will keep readers in the thrill of the moment."--Publishers Weekly

"Features both a supporting cast lit up with larger-than-life characters and a protagonist who loves flying recklessly close to the edge but makes right choices in the clutch."--Booklist