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Now a National Bestseller!

When She Flew "Examining people willing to sidestep the rules in pursuit of a greater good, Shortridge's fourth novel recalls Barbara Kingsolver's Pigs in Heaven..."
   —Publishers Weekly

Read more praise here.

When She Flew, Jennie's fourth novel, is the fictionalization of true events, and after much research, she let her imagination run wild to create this evocative story of an Iraq war vet raising his daughter in the wild and the single mom/policewoman who breaks all the rules when ordered to separate them, risking everything to help them escape. This story explores the issues of raising children in today's world, living within the system as opposed to rejecting it, the toll of war on families, and introduces a young heroine raised in the forest who thrives through the worst of circumstances.

How the publisher describes it:

Police officer Jessica Villareal has always played by the book and tried to do the right thing: She's worked hard at her job and even harder at her family. Despite all that, she finds herself approaching midlife divorced, estranged from her daughter, alone... and completely unhappy. And she's wondering if she ever made a right choice in her life.

But then Jess discovers an Iraq vet and his young daughter living off the radar in the Oregon woods, avoiding the comforts—and curses—of modern life. Her colleagues on the force are determined to uproot and separate Lindy and her father, but Jess knows the damage of losing those you love, and believes the pair is safer and happier together.

Jess recognizes her chance to make a difference by doing something she's never dared. Because even though she's used to playing by the rules, there are times when they need to be broken...

NAL/Penguin trade paperback November 2009, ISBN: 978-0451227980

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Reading Group Guide
Listen to Jennie read the prologue:

Courtesy of Carol Frischmann (, bird expert for When She Flew: Barn Owl Webcam



When She Flew Check out BLOGGER REVIEWS!

"...A taut, beautifully rendered novel about an injured war veteran, his bright young daughter, and a street-smart police officer who has lost almost more than she can bear. When their lives become entangled, what results has all the urgency of a thriller and offers a moving exploration of parental love and the lengths to which one person will go to take care of another."
—Marisa de los Santos, New York Times bestselling author of Love Walked In and Belong to Me

Indie Next List Logo Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Winter 2011 Reading Group List

"Jennie Shortridge has done it again. Her novels are delightful and compelling stories of real-world characters in mildly dysfunctional lives struggling for wisdom. This one, the story of a courageous and independent woman cop and a remarkably insightful feral girl, will grab you from the start and warm your heart with its originality and honesty. You'll want to share this story with your friends."
—Selden Edwards, author of The Little Book

More Logo WHEN SHE FLEW is one of the books being buzzed about at!

"A novel with real heart that takes the big issues of returning war veterans and child custody, the hard social choices that make us human, and explores them on an intimate scale. The voice of thirteen-year-old Lindy, interspersed throughout the story, is a welcome addition to the world of child narrators."
—Erica Bauermeister, author of The School of Essential Ingredients

"A mesmerizing tale of love, damage, and resurrection, propelled by a girl whose gifts are a marvel of the human spirit."
—Randy Sue Coburn, author of A Better View of Paradise

"Jennie Shortridge's heartfelt new novel takes the reader on a journey into the wilderness of the human spirit and the meaning of home. Against an evocative Northwest landscape, her beloved characters struggle with the ties that bind, ultimately finding the answer to what sets us free."
—Heather Barbieri, author of The Lace Makers of Glenmara

"Jennie Shortridge has based her novel on the true story of a homeless man and his daughter and uses it to write about a woman who finds her life after losing it and who wants to help a lost family keep theirs. The book is filled with a wonderful supporting cast...When She Flew asks, What is a family? What is safety? How do we love? And ultimately, how do we find our wings and fly?"
—Shelf Awareness (read the full review here)

"Seattle writer Shortridge's novel is inspired by real-life events surrounding an Iraq vet and his 13-year-old daughter discovered living in the woods outside Portland. There's truth to the story about a girl and her father living in a park off the grid and a police officer's decision to become involved in their lives. But the author's portrayal of Villareal, a middle-aged cop and grandmother, adds a personal, grounding element to a suspenseful story."
—The Seattle Times