by Dance, Jennifer

Hawk, a First Nations teen from northern Alberta, is a star athlete until a serious illness yanks him out of competition and into a fight for his life. Struggling to recover, he comes across a young osprey trapped in a tailings pond, helpless. Rescuing the bird gives Hawk a new purpose in life, if he can survive to see it through.

Jennifer Dance was born in England and holds a B.Sc. in Agriculture and Animal Science from the University of the West Indies. She migrated to Canada in 1979. With family in the Native community, Jennifer has a passion for equality and justice for all people. Her first novel, Red Wolf, was endorsed by Giller Prize–winning author Joseph Boyden. An avid environmentalist, Jennifer lives on a small farm in Stouffville, Ontario.


Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada

Less than an hour ago, I was Adam, the long-distance runner. Now I’m Adam, the boy who...
I can’t even bring myself to say it.
The car engine dies, and I realize that we are in the garage, yet I have no recollection of the drive home from Dr. Miller’s office. I stare through the windshield. The walls of the garage swim around me. My thoughts won’t move past this can’t be happening.
Angela walks around the car and opens my door. She’s my mother, but I never call her that. I figure she hasn’t earned the title. She didn’t raise me. Neither did my father. Most of the time, I don’t call him anything, but when I have to use a name, I call him Frank. I enjoy rubbing both their noses in the fact that although they are my biological parents, that’s as far as it goes. They never were and never will be Mom and Dad. They left me up in Fort Chipewyan when I was a baby, and they didn’t reclaim me until I was eight! Like I was a piece of lost luggage.
“It will be okay,” Angela says. “It will be okay.”
I climb out of the car and follow her into the house like a zombie. She’s like a zombie too, stuck on a repeat cycle of it will be okay.
I kick off my shoes and leave them where they lie. Angela puts them on the mat alongside hers. A question hits me like an arrow in the heart: how much longer will Angela have to deal with my mess? How much longer will she have to deal with me?
I feel strange, like I’m floating, not walking. Angela hands me the mail, and I put it on the kitchen counter. It’s the same routine as before, but nothing is the same as before. Everything is different. An hour ago, I would have pounced on the McDonald’s flyer, stuffing the coupons in my pocket, but now I couldn’t care less.
Life as I know it is over.

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