Praise for The Town Built on Sorrow

“Oppegaard pens an intense, page-turning, often harrowing nail-biter . . .Pretty gross but pretty great.” -Kirkus Reviews

“Oppegaard weaves together three stories that are very different in tone and substance but make for a unique reading experience that feels fresh, entertaining and more than a little creepy.” –School Library Journal

Oppegaard (The Firebug of Balrog County, 2015) is not one to shy away from darker subject matter, and his newest unsettling endeavor is a multi-era examination of the history and contemporary happenings of Hawthorn, a town built on a history of terrible events. Harper is not exactly one of the popular girls, especially after she falls for Olav Helle, an awkward boy and descendant of the family of Sofie Helle, one of the town’s founding families from the 1860s. But what teen thriller would be truly complete without the presence of a serial killer and a spiritual connection to godlike individuals from the past? Within a small number of pages, Oppegaard chronicles the hardships of a nineteenth-century pilgrimage, and contemporary life in the town of Hawthorn, against a backdrop of murder and school drama. At once deeply disturbing and life affirming, his twisting narrative is one that fans of horror, mystery, and teen drama alike will be sure to devour.

— Rob Bittner, Booklist


“There’s a ghost in the story, scary old mining tunnels and some mysticism. In the end, all the threads come together in one of the most heart-stopping, creepiest conclusions in Y.A. fiction.” –Twin Cities Pioneer Press

Praise for The Firebug of Balrog County, a 2016 Minnesota Book Award Finalist!

“Oppegaard creates a believable portrayal of the different ways that loss affects a family, with small decisions building into far-reaching consequences…A well-realized setting and Oppegaard’s resistance to tidily resolving the story’s conflicts both contribute to the novel’s solid sense of realism.” -Publishers Weekly

“The main character is a wholly likable, though tortured malefactor, and readers will root for the success and escape of the firebug as much as they hope for Mack’s family life to improve”-School Library Journal

“Oppegaard’s book is beautifully written and full of honest characters, but probably its finest virtue is giving an authentic and powerful voice to a young man in pain.” -VOYA Magazine

“The Firebug of Balrog County burns hot and fast, gazing into the heart of a tragic moment and the odd ways in which we confront it. Mack is a marvelous narrator, full of humor and self-awareness and insight despite his many flaws. He inhabits the weirdly insular world we all did as teenagers, and even if we didn’t all turn arsonist, there’s plenty to identify with.” -San Francisco Book Review

“Drinking, F-bombs, and humor abound, but so does a genuine sense of mourning and growth” -Kirkus Reviews

“A darkly funny look into the world of a grieving teenage arsonist.” -Bustle

If you like the 80’s movie HEATHERS…

Praise for David Oppegaard’s previous work:

“Eloquent prose and haunting characters lift Oppegaard’s astonishing debut…” -Publishers Weekly (starred review for The Suicide Collectors)

“Oppegaard demonstrates a terrific sense of the macabre with absorbing sequences featuring feral children, a house papered in suicide notes, and other relics of a dying society. He also articulately ponders why such a plague might materialize.” -Kirkus Reviews

“Just when it seems that there are no new plots left to write about, David Oppegaard has come up with a doozy. His “The Suicide Collectors” takes us to a startling theme we haven’t encountered before, with every page a thrilling new surprise.” -Stan Lee, writer, editor, and the former president and chairman of Marvel Comic

“David Oppegaard’s THE SUICIDE COLLECTORS is a wonderfully creepy debut novel filled with unnerving twists and turns! Unsettling, bleak and dangerous.” -Jonathan Maberry, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of PATIENT ZERO

Starred Publisher’s Weekly Review of And the Hills Opened Up
The Eastbay Review review of And the Hills Opened Up
Hellnotes review of And the Hills Opened Up
Washington Post review of The Suicide Collectors
Starred Publisher’s Weekly review of The Suicide Collectors
Book Reporter review of The Suicide Collectors
The i09 review of The Suicide Collectors
The Boston Globe Review of Wormwood, Nevada
The Rumpus Review of Wormwood, Nevada
The AV Club Review of Wormwood, Nevada
The Kirkus Review of Wormwood, Nevada

More reviews of Wormwood, Nevada:

Within hours of their arrival in sun-blasted, hardscrabble Wormwood, Nevada, Tyler and Anna Mayfieldwatch a meteorite crash into the parking lot of the Taco Thunder Mexican restaurant. It’s a dramatic introduction to their new hometown, and as the community bakes under a sun as fierce as “the angry eye of God,” some of the natives begin to reveal themselves as deeply dotty. One mounts a chaise lounge next to the crater to await the End. Tyler is invited to join the Visitation Society, which plans to welcome wise aliens who will teach earthlings about peace and happiness and mediate their arrival with nervous Russian and Chinese militarists. And everyone tries to cope with loneliness and the need to believe in something.

For Oppegaard, less seems to be more. His style is matter-of-fact, even when Tyler has a one-sided conversation with an alien, and he only hints at the nature of the angst troubling the citizens of Wormwood. Even so, readers who take the genre-bending journey to Wormwood will be glad they did.

— Thomas Gaughan, Booklist

“In the end, this beautifully written story, which may or may not include extraterrestrials, becomes a meditation on Tyler and Anna’s love and on community”

-Mary Ann Grossman, St. Paul Pioneer Press

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