Hyperion, Jun 2002, 15.99, 152 pp.
In San Diego, thirteen-year-old Alexis Castille-Reed attends a pool party where the alcohol flows. An accident occurs, but fortunately no one dies. However, her upset mother "banishes" Alexis for the summer to live with her father in International Falls, Minnesota.
Alexis' dad is the authority on the bald eagles. Currently, he leads a study that is banding eaglets to gain research on their natural habitat. Alexis is put to work, but though she loves the birds, she remains angry with her father for deserting her. On a nearby island, Alexis climbs up a tree to remove a fish lure from an eagle's nest. However, when she lifts an eaglet out of the nest, she drops the bird. That error is compounded when she finds herself stranded on the island protecting the injured eaglet from nasty weather and a bear.
This is a wonderful preadolescent to young teen novel that focuses on Alexis, a person in trouble. She needs closure on her younger brother's death from cancer, but at first is not able to find a way to grieve without guilt for living and without alienating her parents also mourning in their own ways. Through the eaglet rescue, Alexis attains an understanding especially of her father whom she previously loathed as well as personal comfort. Though her parents talking with one another following their estrangement feels strained, WHEN EAGLES FALL is a strong survivalist tale that the young at heart will enjoy soaring with.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner