Cover image for Summer hawk
Summer hawk
Savage, Deborah.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston, MA : Houghton Mifflin, 1999.
Physical Description:
298 pages ; 22 cm
When her rescue of a baby hawk takes fifteen-year-old Taylor to a raptor rehabilitation center in rural Pennsylvania, their offer of a summer public relations job seems a step toward her dream of becoming a journalist.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.0 11.0 29542.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



M. Taylor Armstrong-Brown. It's a good name for a journalist. When Taylor moves to the remote town of Hunter's Gap from Philadelphia, she copes by being an impartial observer. She plans on biding her time until she can escape to prep school and college. But, unexpectedly, Taylor finds herself rescuing an orphaned baby hawk and getting to know a boy she'd never imagined being friends with. When she meets the woman who runs the nearby raptor rehabilitation center, Taylor's journalistic reserve begins to break down. As the hawk heals and grows stronger, Taylor is drawn closer to the boy she'd considered a redneck - and to the passionate "Hawk Lady," whose many secrets awaken deeper emotions in Taylor than she understands. Words begin flowing from her pen, but they are not the objective notes of a news reporter. They are the stirrings of a heart taking wing.

Author Notes

Deborah Savage is the author of a number of books for young adults, including, Summer Hawk, winner of the Boston Authors Award for young adult literature 2000, To Race a Dream, and Under a Different Sky, which School Library Journal called in a starred review, endlessly fascinating and appealing." She lives in western Massachusetts."

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 7^-10. Fifteen-year-old Melissa Taylor Armstrong-Brown is Missy to her dad, but she wants to be called Taylor now. She is so headstrong and full of feelings that she cannot untangle. There's her love for her gentle, distracted sculptor father and her fear of and for her small, tightly wound psychologist mother, who only occasionally leaves her Philadelphia practice to come to the inherited family homestead in very rural Hunter's Gap, Pennsylvania. Then there's Taylor's admiration for the hawk lady, Rhiannon Jeffries, director of the Raptor Rehabilitation Center, and Taylor's disgust at Rail Bogart, the only other smart kid in the tiny local school. Taylor wants to be a reporter and thinks that requires being free of feelings. She finds a metaphor for her own unruly emotions in a young hawk she rescues and brings to Rhiannon. There are too many threads here: Rail's Vietnam vet dad lost in his nightmares; the dance between Rhiannon and Taylor's father; Rhiannon's terrible, hidden loss. The language, which tries to soar, often attempts too much and wobbles instead. But both the raptor lore and Taylor's recognizable struggle to become the person she thinks she wants to be hold your attention. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido

Publisher's Weekly Review

Savage (Under a Different Sky) paints a convincing portrait of her teenage heroine, a city girl "exiled" to a backwoods community, but overdoes the other players in this sometimes florid contemporary drama. Taylor's sculptor father is supposedly perceptive ("He could look into people.... As if he could see the shape of their deepest dreams.... He chisels right past the outside, straight into [people's] hearts"). But, having dismissed his family's misgivings about leaving Philadelphia for Hunter's Gap, his home town, he neglects wife and daughter while he becomes engrossed in his art. Taylor's mother is a workaholic career woman (a psychoanalyst, she is labeled "psychopath" by the locals), and she is too cold to elicit much sympathy√Ąeven though her complaints about the narrow-mindedness of Hunter's Gap citizens are amply confirmed by Taylor's first-person narration. Another key figure, "the hawk lady," a biology professor who helps save a fledgling, becomes a mother figure for Taylor, but she also has an affair with Taylor's father; she is too self-consciously tragic, as is Taylor's first boyfriend, Rail, the son of a shell-shocked Vietnam vet. The most involving (and least melodramatic) aspect of this novel is Taylor's immediate dilemma. Should she attend the prestigious boarding school her mother graduated from or stay in Hunter's Gap and adopt her father's more relaxed approach to education? Although the author works hard to convey both sides of the argument, her bias is as obvious as the line she draws between rednecks and progressives. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-10-Taylor and her family have recently moved from Philadelphia to the small Pennsylvania town in which her sculptor father grew up. After coasting through one year of public school, she is looking forward to starting 10th grade at her psychoanalyst mother's alma mater, an exclusive boarding school. However, the aspiring journalist must do a summer research paper in order to participate in its honors writing program. After the teen finds an abandoned young red-tailed hawk, she and her classmate Rail take it to a neighbor who runs a raptor-rehabilitation center. This provides Taylor with a subject for her research paper; she is also hired by the center's earthy and charismatic director, Rhiannon, to handle public relations for the facility, which is facing opposition from local residents. Taylor grows more estranged from her mother, who is rarely there, and grows increasingly closer to her new friends. Her world collapses when she discovers that her father and Rhiannon are having an affair. After her parents work through this crisis, Taylor decides to stay where she is, editing her high school's first literary newspaper and spending time with Rail. The author uses raptors, and especially the red-tail, as metaphors for the heart's yearning to be free and strong, and to be a survivor, as Taylor and her hawk both are. Savage skillfully addresses the myriad themes and issues that weave through this novel-conservationists vs. hunters, dual-career families, ambition, fidelity, the importance of family, a budding first romance, and mental illness. Fast paced yet thoughtful, the book is satisfying on all counts.-Ellen Fader, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.