“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.”
From the first moment I saw Flip the Bird on the catalog for HMH, I KNEW that this book would be a must read for me. It’s sounded unique, funny, and with a title like that, how could I pass it up? Every year when I go to ALA, I make a ‘hit list’ of fall books I MUST get a hold of. Flip the Bird was one of only three hit list titles from HMH, that I INSISTED on getting. (the others being Ever the Hunted and Girls Like Me)
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. I actually got worried that I’d missed the galley drop, but I finally saw a small stack of them on Sunday. It made me so happy to see it!
Anyway, back to the book.
TI actually LAUGHED out loud on page 24. Later there was a description of what the breath of a hawk (Flip) smelled like. I immediately knew I’d picked good.
I think the middle of the book had a noticeable slump, but I’m still happy I took the chance on this little gem.
The laugh at the beginning wasn’t the only one it got out of me. Another point, is that the depth of research that went in to the birds (and falconry in general) was astonishing. And fascinating! I rarely read a book that’s so engrossing. It was so factual, without coming off as boring non-fiction. For reals. The only other book I’ve read with falconers in it, was Hawksmaid by Kathryn Lasky. (a book that definitely isn’t recommendable.)
Another highlight of the book, was Mercer’s relationships. With family, friends and his crush Lucy, all of them were well done. But I think the greatest among Mercer’s relationships, was with his brother Lincoln. (And to a smidgen-smaller extent, his father.)
I don’t have a brother, but the relationship came off as 100% genuine. It is a rare-ish find in YA (and at that, most brother-brother relationships aren’t with the main character.) Which I feel is an injustice to male YA readers everywhere.
His coping with his simultaneous adoration, and disgust for his brother was brilliant.
Another rare high point, were the present-parents…well, they were present for the most part. These parents weren’t absent all the time, but also, weren’t correct all of the time. They made mistakes, and showed that sometimes, (even in reality) a kid can be the adult in the situation.
Overall, I found Flip the Bird to be highly satisfying, and a sincere coming of age/first love story. I can’t recommend it enough to those looking for a book off the beaten path of YA. And also, for boys in general. A great rounded read.
Also, I’ll be hosting an interview with Kym in just three days! (the 28th of October, 2016)
So I’ll be coming back to enter in a link so ya’ll can read it.
Here’s the interview with Kym!
Oh! I almost forgot my FTC disclaimer again! Gosh. I’m trying to remember that better.
*FTC Disclaimer* I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It has in no way affected my opinions about the book.