Flip The Bird by Kym Brunner Review

“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.”

   Flip the Bird by Kym Brunner was a pleasant surprise filled with likeable characters, good theme, and a surprising second half. Barring some cringy dialogue, it is a thoroughly entertaining book.

   Marcus has always wanted two things: a girlfriend and to prove himself to his father, a master falconer. Throughout the novel, he encounters some hardships that turn him into a much stronger and mature kid. I swear he is the living embodiment of Murphy’s Law. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong for Marcus. Albeit, it largely his doing. During the novel, he is very naive thinking he can get the girl while impressing his dad with falconry. While that could be possible, it just so happens the girl, Lucy, is part of an organization called HALT, the sworn enemy of his family. He is a fundamentally flawed protagonist and I loved it. Brunner did a great job making Marcus feel like a teenager, his growing pains, his decisions, they seemed to be atypical to a 14 year old. He had to make some tough choices, choices that did always end up being what he originally wanted and he grows, as a result. I did find some dialogue to ne cringey particularly between Marcus’ friends, Charlie and Reed, but did not detract from the book too much. I thought Lucy was a good character who got increasingly better bt the second half and shared nice moments with Marcus. Charlie was a complete bro while Reed came off as a bit whiney, but I could understand why he did what he did.

   The first half of the book had a fairly predictable plot, but I found the second half to be surprising with a climax that had some grim implications. The falconry aspect certainty separates it from other YA books and  I found it quite interesting. The care that Brunner took on the birds was a bit refreshing. 

   In conclusion, Flip The Bird was a surprisingly emotional and entertaining novel. Marcus was a flawed, yet likeable protagonist who behaved his age. The plot while standard at first resulted in a climax with a darker tone. I was genuinely surprised at how much I loved this book and I definitely recommend it to others especially teenagers.

Rating: Must Buy



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