Pub. Date: November 1, 2016
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Goodreads
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.
Here is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of FLIP THE BIRD. The main character, Mercer, is in a pet store hoping to purchase a mouse to use as bait to lure a Red-tailed Hawk to come to his trap:
“Yo, Pete? I need help real quick,” I shouted, hating to sound like a pushy customer, but my apprenticeship hinged on me trapping this hawk today.
“He went into the back room,” a female voice said from behind me.
“Thanks.” I turned around to see who had spoken. My jaw dropped when I saw her, forcing me to use every ounce of energy I possessed to shut it again. Standing in front of me was the prettiest girl I’d ever seen in my almost fifteen years on earth. She looked to be about my age, with elbow-length hair the white blond color of candlelight. She wore a blue t-shirt with white wording and some graphics, which I was dying to read, but I didn’t want to be a jerk and stare at her chest. Well, not while she was looking at me anyway. I did manage to notice, despite the limited ogling opportunities, that she had more curves than a French horn.
Instead of walking away, she said, “What are you buying?”
Her question startled me. I hadn’t expected someone who looked like they could be in a Victoria’s Secret ad to actually speak to me, but then again, why not? I wasn’t the handsomest guy around, but my little sister, Maddie, and her friend Hannah always giggle and call me “Hottie Pants,” so I figure I’m not too bad––even if the girls are only ten.
“Oh, just a mouse,” I told her, sounding way too cheerful. Then I cringed at how lame it sounded to be buying a dinky little mouse. Why hadn’t I said I was here to b uy rat poison or bear feed––something more manly? If I could somehow slip it into the conversation that I’d be using the mouse to trap a dangerous, flesh-eating hawk, it might make her hang around for a few seconds longer.
“A mouse? That’s so sweet!” Her face lit up like I was the one who had just given her the diamond stud that blinged from the side of her nose. After seeing how excited she was by my buying a mouse, I was glad I hadn’t specified I’d be using it as bait for a hawk’s breakfast after all. “Do you mind if I watch while you pick it out?”
Was she serious? I wouldn’t have minded if she tied me down and poured red ants on my face, as long as she continued to talk to me.
“Brunner writes an impassioned story with real-life moral dilemmas. Abundant details of falconry, the result of the author’s own falconry apprentice lessons… root the story solidly in a fascinating world new to most readers. An engaging story of a young teen finding what’s most important in his life.”
“Lovers of Sterling North’s Rascal, Farley Mowat’s Never Cry Wolf, and Calame’s Dan Versus Nature will flock to this tale about a teen and his hawk. . . Get multiple copies for nature-loving reluctant readers.”
“An exciting adventure into the art of falconry and the heart of a young man.”
—David Lubar, author of Hidden Talents and Character, Driven
About the Author
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 Facebook (Author Kym Brunner), Twitter (@KymBrunner), or at her website, http://www.kymbrunner.com.
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3 winners will receive a finished copy of FLIP THE BIRD, US Only.
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Thanks to Rockstar Book Tours for letting me take part in this blog tour.