Author: Kym Brunner
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Fiction
Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Mercer Buddie wants two things in this world: a girlfriend and the chance to prove to his master falconer father that he’s not a flake. With hunting season fast approaching, fourteen-year-old Mercer has only a short time to work with Flip, a red-tailed hawk he irreverently named to show his dad that falconers don’t have to be so serious all the time.
When Mercer meets Lucy, he falls hard for her gorgeous looks and bubbly personality. He thinks his love life is about to take flight, until he discovers that Lucy and her family belong to a fanatical animal-rights organization called HALT—a group that believes imposing any sort of restrictions on animals is a form of cruelty. Mercer soon realizes that if he wants to keep seeing Lucy, he’ll need to keep his love of falconry and his family’s raptor rehabilitation center a secret from her, and Lucy’s involvement with HALT from his family.
With humor and honesty, Mercer’s story shows how growing up means making difficult choices…and sometimes, being rewarded in unexpected ways.
Ahh! This book was really good. It had me laughing so loud at times that I’m pretty sure my neighbors could hear me. I could not put this book down from the moment I received it. After reading so many YA books about Fantasy it was very refreshing to read a contemporary fiction that revolves around something more than evil plots by villains.
Brunner does a wonderful job of capturing teen love, sibling rivalry, moral values and finding ones self.
All of the characters seemed so real. I had such a fantastic time getting to know each and every one of them. One of the best things about this book is that Brunner took a story with issues as serious as those of Romeo and Juliet, and implemented enough hilarity that the topic doesn’t seem so gruesome. There was definitely a lighthearted feel to this.
Mercer Buddie and his family (mostly his dad) run a rehabilitation center for injured wild birds. They release the ones who are ready to go back into the wild and continue to care for those who are permanently injured. Mercer, Lincoln (older brother), and their father all have a passion for Falconry. They love it, it’s what they do. At fourteen Mercer is determined to show his family that he’s not a kid anymore. While he still portrays all the characteristics of an average adolescent boy, he’s very motivated. Motivated to win that Best Apprentice Pin with the new Red-Tailed hawk he just captured, Flip. Which is sure to show his dad that he can take Falconry just as seriously as he does.
That is until he walks into the pet shop and sees the girl of his dreams. That’s right, it’s your classic case of “love at first sight.” Lucy ❤ adorable name, is a beautiful young girl with blond hair and who’s eyes are “sage green with light flecks of yellow in them.” Lucy and her family have a passion of their own as well. They’re animal rights activists and are part of a serious group named HALT.
Mercer and Lucy’s up and coming romance has Mercer’s head and ideals all in a twist. Suddenly he’s just as eager to please Lucy as he is to please his father. Even going so far as to take an interest in joining HALT itself! What would his father think? Especially after HALT does some extremely questionable things to their family. Now Mercer is lying to Lucy and lying to his family. Yikes.
I felt a little bad for Mercer, he’s barely a teenager after all. He tried very hard to prove himself. He just wanted his old man to be proud of him and to treat him as an equal. After all, his father doesn’t treat Lincoln (older bother) like a kid. He also just wanted Lucy to like him and to make her happy. Unfortunately this poor guy just can’t have it all. By the end of the book Mercer definitely learns a few lessons the hard way, but her learns them. He’s actually very honest and brave. It takes a lot of courage for anyone to own up to their mistakes. Also he finally learns to stand up for himself! That’s something I was very eager to see change in him and I was so relieved when it finally did.
This book had such fine detail! Brunner herself took part in some very heavy hands on research of Falconry. In the acknowledgements she goes on to tell us a little bit about her experience at a special sanctuary in Illinois where she learned everything she could about American Raptors.
This was such a rewarding read that I have so much respect for Falconers now. In fact my respect for authors themselves has grown tremendously as well. The bar for that was already extremely high, now it’s through the roof! The lengths that our authors go through to ensure we enjoy every word is so touching ❤
SO a huge huge thanks goes out to HMH Books, Kym Brunner, and Rock Star Book Tours for giving me the opportunity to be part of this tour ❤
A good 4 out of 5 for me 🙂
If you haven’t heard of this book I hope you’ll check it out when it hits the shelves! I’m telling you guys you’ll love the break from typical Fantasy as you shift into something a lot more lighthearted and real.
***I received a copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion.***
Kym Brunner dreams entire novels in her head, but needs about a year to write it all down. She wishes there was an app for this. She’s addicted to chai tea, going to the movies, and reality TV. When she’s not reading or writing, Kym teaches 7th grade full time. Her article, Cracking Down on Multiple POVs: Surrender and Nobody Gets Hurt, appeared in Writer’s Digest online (July, 2014). She is the author of the three YA novels listed below. She lives in the Chicago area with her family and her two trusty writing companions, a pair of Shih Tzus named Sophie and Kahlua. Keep in touch by following her on her website, http://www.kymbrunner.com.
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