The Eagle Tree by Ned Hayes is a novel that found me at the perfect time. Although I had signed up to be a part of the book tour for this book, I had heard nothing about it, having read only the short synopsis that TLC provided.
Almost from the first page I fell in love with March, a fourteen year old boy on the autism spectrum.
March loves trees. He has a wealth of knowledge that he shares, and even I who know nothing about plants or botany (and have never claimed to have a desire to know more on this topic) loved the different bits of information he shares.
March's father has moved to Arizona. His mother has had to relocate them to a smaller home, which is hard for March. His uncle is an important presence in his life, but he is now dating their new neighbor, who happens to be the person who called 911 to report March, not realizing that he has a disability.
And, March can't stop thinking about climbing the Eagle Tree, a Ponderosa Pine that is slated to be cut down.
Climbing is March's passion. He climbs trees every day, and has taken up tree jumping which is even more dangerous.
March takes the Eagle Tree's future very seriously, and tries to find a way to save this tree from destruction, even presenting to the city council.
March's voice is perhaps the best thing about this novel. I loved reading his thoughts which allowed me to understand the way his brain works. However, this novel is so perfect, it's hard to pick one best thing. I loved the way March's knowledge of trees and nature and ecology are conveyed. I learned a great deal in reading this story without it seeming like that was the point of The Eagle Tree. Hayes has made me curious about the different science topics he has written about. I want to know more about the Ponderosa Pine and the Marbled Murrelet.
There are other novels narrated by a character on the autism spectrum. This one ranks right up there with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon and The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Thanks to TLC Book Tours for providing a copy of this book. The opinions expressed are, as always, my own.