by Sneed B. Collard III
256 pages; age 11 & up
Peachtree Publishers 2011 (reprint edition)
Wildfires have been burning all around Heartwood, Montana, since August and Luther can’t remember the last time he saw blue sky. The air is so bad that coach has canceled football practice and some of the guys from the team invite Luther to join them at the burger joint. But he’s got a job, and besides, he didn’t go out for the team this year.
His job: caring for birds at the raptor center. Hawks and eagles that some folks – including kids on the team – think of as nuisance birds. Targets.
While wildfires threaten his home and his stepfather’s livelihood – just about everyone’s job is touched by the timber industry – Luther struggles to resolve his own conflicts. His love for the raptors gives him a different view of forestry policies, pitting him against former team mates.
He finds a kindred spirit in Alex, a girl new to the school and also a social “outsider”. Things heat up when someone starts shooting the birds from the raptor center and suspicious fires start breaking out too close to town.
This award-winning book is a great mystery for young adults who want something that reflects their world. It’s also a good book to read during National Wildlife Week, which starts today. If you’re looking for ways to get involved in learning about wildlife, check out this Science NetLinks project from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). You’ll find books,videos, apps and more.
Review copy provided by publisher.