Flight of a Starling
Rita and Lo, sisters and best friends, have spent their lives on the wing – flying through the air in their trapeze act, never staying in one place for long. Behind the greasepaint and the glitter, they know that the true magic is the family they travel with.Until Lo meets a boy. Suddenly, she wants nothing more than to stay still. And as secrets start to tear apart the close-knit circus community, how far will Lo go to keep her feet on the ground?

Flight of a Starling Details

TitleFlight of a Starling
Author
FormatPaperback
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 29th, 2017
PublisherElectric Monkey
Number of pages320 pages
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Family

Flight of a Starling Review

  • Dannii Elle
    April 13, 2017
    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Lisa Heathfield, and the publisher, Electric Monkey, for this opportunity.Around this time last year I read, and absolutely adored, Heathfield's Paper Butterflies, (full review can be found here) so was extremely excited to get the chance to read her most recent release! Fortunately, for me, it lived up my highly placed expectations and proved, once again, just how much of a poignant and graceful writer she I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Lisa Heathfield, and the publisher, Electric Monkey, for this opportunity.Around this time last year I read, and absolutely adored, Heathfield's Paper Butterflies, (full review can be found here) so was extremely excited to get the chance to read her most recent release! Fortunately, for me, it lived up my highly placed expectations and proved, once again, just how much of a poignant and graceful writer she is!This is the story of a travelling circus family and the 'flattie' boy who threatens to disrupt their peaceful existence.I loved learning about all of the cultural traditions and superstitious beliefs of this roving community, which felt like an honest insight into a life I have no experience or knowledge of, and I adored the relationship between the two sisters this primarily focused on. Their split perspective and details of their acrobatic expertise made for interesting reading.I didn't fully appreciate the whirlwind romance, however, which dominated much of the plot. I found myself predicting the ending and forgetting the sinister prologue that framed the piece, only to be deceived just as the novel seemed it was about to draw to a guessable close.I should have remembered Heathfield's enjoyment at the torture of her readers, and I crawled my way to the close of this book knowing and yet in utter denial of the inevitable conclusion. Once again her evocative writing style is what really sold this story to me and, once again, the ending spoke of the fragility of life and my broken heart.
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  • Tissy
    July 2, 2017
    What an unbelievably powerful storyteller. What a heart wrenching story. Heathfield makes you stroll through sadness until you realise too late that you're waist deep in pain and then somehow you have to trudge through a crap load of emotions that stick to you long after the book is finished. She did it with a her first book Paper Butterflies and she has done it yet again. I don't want to give too much away but this is a story of a young female circus traveller who falls in a 'forbidden' love wi What an unbelievably powerful storyteller. What a heart wrenching story. Heathfield makes you stroll through sadness until you realise too late that you're waist deep in pain and then somehow you have to trudge through a crap load of emotions that stick to you long after the book is finished. She did it with a her first book Paper Butterflies and she has done it yet again. I don't want to give too much away but this is a story of a young female circus traveller who falls in a 'forbidden' love with a non traveler. It's a muted slow build drama and I say muted only because this type of forbidden love is not the crazy taboo we've started to have shoved down our throats as writers try to outdo each other with wacky plots. It's simple but realistic in that it's about two people from two different stations in society falling in love. It also deals with the burdens and restrictions placed from family loyalties and the secrets that can grow from such ironically close knit relationships. It's beautiful, haunting and realistically compelling as it weaves the reader through the struggles we can internalise from trying to find our place in the world. Amazing, can't wait to read more from this author.(ARC received by NetGalley for an honest review)
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  • Tez
    February 15, 2017
    Thursday 16th February 2017: Reason for adding to wishlist: Have the author's other two books on my wishlist. Intrigued by the trapeze aspect. Somewhat put off by the "heroine rethinks her future because of a guy" aspect, though.
  • Kirsty Hanson
    June 7, 2017
    After reading Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield and absolutely LOVING IT, I was so excited to read more by her, and when I was offered Flight of a Starling from the publisher, I couldn’t wait to get into it. I am literally writing this review 1 hour before it’s meant to be going live because this book… well… it put me in a massive reading slump and it took ages for me to get through it.Rita and Lo, sisters and best friends, have spent their lives on the wing – flying through the air in their After reading Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield and absolutely LOVING IT, I was so excited to read more by her, and when I was offered Flight of a Starling from the publisher, I couldn’t wait to get into it. I am literally writing this review 1 hour before it’s meant to be going live because this book… well… it put me in a massive reading slump and it took ages for me to get through it.Rita and Lo, sisters and best friends, have spent their lives on the wing – flying through the air in their trapeze act, never staying in one place for long. Behind the greasepaint and the glitter, they know that the true magic is the family they travel with.Until Lo meets a boy. Suddenly, she wants nothing more than to stay still. And as secrets start to tear apart the close-knit circus community, how far will Lo go to keep her feet on the ground?There are loads of carnival/circus books going around at the moment, and it sucks because I’m really not a fan of circuses and carnivals… The only book with that theme that I thoroughly enjoyed was Caraval by Stephanie Garber. I think that the thing that really let down this book was that it seemed really slow. There seemed to be lack of a story, lack of amazing characters and lack of a pace. I genuinely feel really bad typing this review because words cannot express how much I loved Paper Butterflies, and it kills to write a negative review about another one of Heathfield’s books.The only part of this book that had my heart racing was the very ending, and that’s just such a shame because I wish that’s how I felt throughout the whole book. Everything just seemed a bit flat. I didn’t really connect with the characters, I thought that Lo was a bit silly for keeping *that secret* from everyone else, especially her sister.“We’re different, us and them” I tell Lo. I’m glad we’re leaving tomorrow so she never has to see Dean again. “Don’t be stupid, Rita,” she says, her voice a bit adrift. “I’m not”“How many eyes have you got?” Lo asks, sitting on her bed. “Two” I say. “Heart?”“One.”“Belly?”“One.”“So have they,” Lo says. “They’re not different at all”“You know what I’m saying.”“I don’t. Because you’re wrong. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that deep down, we’re all the same.”– Lisa Heathfield, Flight of a StarlingThe ending really is the best part of this book though (in my opinion, of course) and even though it was a really good ending and I closed the book having feels, I just felt like I hadn’t really accomplished anything by reading the rest of it… which as I’ve said before, it’s a real shame. Another thing that I liked about this book was Heathfield’s description about the actual circus environment. Her description of the atmosphere, the different acts, the costumes… It was amazing and I felt engulfed. I was engulfed in the description just not the actual book.I have heard brilliant things about Lisa Heathfield’s other book, Seed. So I’ll probably give that one a go and see what I think about that. Even though I didn’t enjoy Flight of a Starling, Heathfield is still going to be an auto-buy author for me just because of how good Paper Butterflies was.Warning: this book contains triggers for depression. Disclaimer: this book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review Released 29th June
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  • Grace
    June 3, 2017
    Just as beautiful and devastating as I expected. I'll need some recovery time, definitely, to sift through my feelings and dust off the magic...
  • Janine
    June 8, 2017
    Lisa Heathfield continues her trend of writing stories that are utterly enchanting and heartbreaking at the same time. Be prepared to find yourself emotionally invested. I was left reeling for a short while after reading this, even though as readers we're told from the beginning what is to come. Less harrowing than Seed or Paper Butterflies, this still deserves a content warning for depression.The setting of this story is the circus, and the author does a wonderful job of weaving in the stunning Lisa Heathfield continues her trend of writing stories that are utterly enchanting and heartbreaking at the same time. Be prepared to find yourself emotionally invested. I was left reeling for a short while after reading this, even though as readers we're told from the beginning what is to come. Less harrowing than Seed or Paper Butterflies, this still deserves a content warning for depression.The setting of this story is the circus, and the author does a wonderful job of weaving in the stunning performances in beautiful prose. I just wish there was more to the story. I want to know more about Spider, about Rob and Lo's Ma, about Ash and Rita, about Margaret. Flight of a Starling is a wonderful snapshot into these unique lives which left me wanting more.Recommended for all YA fans who don't mind a bit of heartbreak!Thanks to NetGalley and Electric Monkey for providing me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kate Ormand
    June 30, 2017
    Sisters, Rita and Lo, perform a trapeze act in a small travelling circus. Their lives seem like magic, a dream – until Lo meets a boy from a town they stop in and doesn’t want to move on. He follows her from site to site before she goes too far. For the first time, Lo questions her place in the circus, her life on the road and the sacrifices she’d have to make to change things.I am learning what to expect from Lisa Heathfield’s books – warm fuzzies followed by utter heartbreak. This is the third Sisters, Rita and Lo, perform a trapeze act in a small travelling circus. Their lives seem like magic, a dream – until Lo meets a boy from a town they stop in and doesn’t want to move on. He follows her from site to site before she goes too far. For the first time, Lo questions her place in the circus, her life on the road and the sacrifices she’d have to make to change things.I am learning what to expect from Lisa Heathfield’s books – warm fuzzies followed by utter heartbreak. This is the third book by this author that I’ve read and loved. Each time I’m surprised and impressed by the spectacular writing and magical storytelling. It makes me want to both slow down and soak up each word, and race forward to reach the end. This was no different – beautiful, heartbreaking.
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  • Sigourney
    June 22, 2017
    Received from NetGalley for review. Flight of a Starling was something vastly different to what I was expecting. I was prepared for circus life, first love, and teenage angst, not so much for the grief, tension, and tragedy that was delivered. I should have known better – Lisa Heathfield’s previous novels have broken my heart and shaken me to the core, and this one was no different. I did feel, however, that the second half of the novel was rushed in comparison to the slow build of the first h Received from NetGalley for review. Flight of a Starling was something vastly different to what I was expecting. I was prepared for circus life, first love, and teenage angst, not so much for the grief, tension, and tragedy that was delivered. I should have known better – Lisa Heathfield’s previous novels have broken my heart and shaken me to the core, and this one was no different. I did feel, however, that the second half of the novel was rushed in comparison to the slow build of the first half; Lo’s feeling of anxiety, confusion, and anger suddenly explode in a dramatic way that lead towards a frantic, tense ending. There’s no denying that this is another excellent story from Heathfield, but I still feel Paper Butterflies is her finest work. The story centres on sisters Rita and Lo – they are part of a travelling circus with their ma and da, and a small host of others who may as well be family. They live, work, and travel together and the sense of family between them is strong – they are loyal to each other and the life that they live, with some being unfairly suspicious of ‘flatties’ (non-circus people). Whilst Rita is completely happy with her life, Lo finds herself wanting to experience something more, something different – her chance meeting with a boy called Dean awaken feelings in her that she’s never had before, the feeling that maybe the circus isn’t everything and she might not want to travel and perform forever. This feeling only grows as she learns of a secret within the circus that could destroy her family and the novel focuses on her increasingly angry and unsure feelings.The narrative is split between Rita and Lo and I loved the two different perspectives – Rita loves the circus and doesn’t understand how Lo could ever want to leave, whereas Lo finds herself overwhelmed by the strength of her emotions, both towards the circus and towards Dean. When Lo sees something she shouldn’t, the very foundations of her life crumble and she finds a steadiness, a new feeling of home, with Dean. I did find some of Lo’s feelings towards Dean silly, but I’m well aware of the power of infatuation and how important someone can seem when you’re young, and fully understood why Lo felt the way she did. Heathfield created a very strong and realistic voice for both Rita and Lo, showing the craziness of growing up and the emotions that come with it.The dramatic turning point in the story was heart-breaking, but felt disjointed. I felt like the first half of the novel was setting up for something completely different – I won’t go into detail but I had a feeling what would happen, it just didn’t happen in the way I expected at all. It seemed a bit rushed in comparison to the rest of the story, although it dealt with loss and grief incredibly well. It may just be me, though, as I can’t fault the writing in any way; I had an extremely strong emotional reaction to this story despite the rushed feeling of the ending, which can’t be a bad thing.
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  • Emma
    June 10, 2017
    Warning - You will need a box of tissues. This is the only book that had me totally sobbing. I first fell in love with Lisa's books with Paper Butterflies, and I believe that I've found myself a new favourite author of 2017.Told in the dual perspective, sisters and kindred spirits, Rita and Lo have been part of the circus all their lives, they were born into it and they will live out their days flying through the air. When Lo and Spider find out 'something', this secret could ruin everything the Warning - You will need a box of tissues. This is the only book that had me totally sobbing. I first fell in love with Lisa's books with Paper Butterflies, and I believe that I've found myself a new favourite author of 2017.Told in the dual perspective, sisters and kindred spirits, Rita and Lo have been part of the circus all their lives, they were born into it and they will live out their days flying through the air. When Lo and Spider find out 'something', this secret could ruin everything they have and she feels obligated to protect Rita and to protect the family she has always known in the circus. Lo feels that what if there was more beyond the big top, to take her away from it all? She finds herself attracted to the outside world and more specifically to a 'flattie' - a non circus being, called Dean. This is my first book based in a Circus, an impenetrable family of talented gymnasts and artists, travelling the world by storm to share their way of life. That's what Lisa did and that's what Lo did to Dean. Rita and Lo have the most precious and unbreakable sisterly bond I've ever read. Lo is a little more daring as you can tell and she gets more so when she meets Dean. Experiencing life beyond the circus sets her flying in a different direction, one so new and fresh, it's almost too much for Lo to bear. Her way of life, is inspiring, everything she see's is so different than how Dean would see it or live it. Lo is almost innocent and that's refreshing to see how something so simple or small could mean so much, like leaving your footprint at the end of their time, so they will always be remembered. It reminds me of my own relationship with my best friend. Plus they both like hot blackcurrant, ha! I love when an author resonates with its readers, that's a sign of a truly brilliant story.I think it doesn't matter whether you're a flattie of circus star, the world continues to revolve around us and it's just how we see it.I don't know what is is about Lisa's writing but she has this way of creating the most touching of characters that you can't help the way it captures your heart and never lets go till well after reading the book. Rita and Lo have found a special place in my heart with this book, it's just utter perfection.I don't know really want to say - there is only emotions and feels for this book and I have them all. Flight of a Starling is Lisa's third novel, and it's as beautiful as it is raw than each of her previous novels. Lisa Heathfield has put her footprint on YA, Flight of a Starling is emotional enthralling, beautiful and uplifting. But don't be afraid to take over your emotions because it will.Rating - 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟Note: this books contains themes that readers may find distressing, elements of suicide.Thank you to Electric Monkey for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Rachel
    July 10, 2017
    Themes: love, secrets, performance, mental health, loss Like Paper Butterflies before it, Flight of a Starling is a lesson in how to write heartbreak. It didn't grip me at all at first as the story felt very slow moving, but I persevered and I'm so glad I did. The language is imaginative and colourful throughout, resulting in a beautiful story. Even though I knew what was coming from the first chapter, the sadness still crept up on me and hit when I least expected it. Flight of a Starling is a m Themes: love, secrets, performance, mental health, loss Like Paper Butterflies before it, Flight of a Starling is a lesson in how to write heartbreak. It didn't grip me at all at first as the story felt very slow moving, but I persevered and I'm so glad I did. The language is imaginative and colourful throughout, resulting in a beautiful story. Even though I knew what was coming from the first chapter, the sadness still crept up on me and hit when I least expected it. Flight of a Starling is a masterpiece.
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  • Nikki Sheehan
    April 14, 2017
    Lisa Heathfield hits that sad, thoughtful, important spot again, with characters you just want to hug and writing to die for. This will be a top book for 2017! Just amazing!
  • Cintia
    June 22, 2017
    Lisa Heathfield didn't disappoint. Still gathering my thoughts on this beautifully heartbreaking book. I cried for a good half an hour!!
  • Megan (YABookers)
    July 7, 2017
    I received this free from the publisher via NetGalleyFull review to come
  • Sandra
    May 26, 2017
    REVIEWAs I had read Seed and Paper Butterflies both by Lisa Heathfield and loved both books this one quickly made it to my "Must Read" List! Also as I had recently read Spectacle by Rachel Vincent which had a "circus theme" to it I fancied reading something else with a similar theme. The blurb also mentioned the trapeze which was always my favourite act to watch at a circus both as a child and as an adult taking my daughter to the circus too.I love the cover! The stark black background, the type REVIEWAs I had read Seed and Paper Butterflies both by Lisa Heathfield and loved both books this one quickly made it to my "Must Read" List! Also as I had recently read Spectacle by Rachel Vincent which had a "circus theme" to it I fancied reading something else with a similar theme. The blurb also mentioned the trapeze which was always my favourite act to watch at a circus both as a child and as an adult taking my daughter to the circus too.I love the cover! The stark black background, the type you would see inside a big top at a circus when looking up at a trapeze act, then the byline "Don't let me fall..." that fits the trapeze, circus theme but also fits various other places within the book too. The brightly coloured starling on the cover represents the trapeze act within the book and the fact they too fly through the air and wear brightly coloured costumes with feathers. There are also the feathers being shed from the starling which mix in with the stars and stardust on the cover. I think this cover represents the trapeze family within this book perfectly. I also think the shedding feathers could well represent those that leave the circus such as main character Lo's Gran, Margaret. I certainly think this cover will attract the eye and attention when it's on a bookstore shelf. What more can I say this cover is perfection!The main character in this book is Laura, or Lo as everyone call's her, she is part of a group that travels with her family and another couple of families and form a circus. Sadly the circus is not what it used to be, less and less people are being born into the circus and staying in it. In fact this circus is in danger of extinction itself. The main character Lo, seems to long for the life of a flattie. A flattie is someone not in/from a circus. So when Lo meets a flattie called Dean she is as curious about his life, as he is about her life in the circus.It begins with harmless flirting when a group of the circus teens go to explore the town they are about to set up in. The book concentrates on Lo and Dean, their differences in lifestyle and the fact that they both yearn for something different, and better. Dean lives with his mother who holds down two jobs and they still struggle to make ends meet. Dean is trying to learn a trade, one that he really isn't interested in, that would bring in money for him and his mother quicker and on a more regular basis. Lo's father and most of the circus people have a strong dislike and weariness around flatties, so Lo ends up sneaking around to meet Dean. When Lo's Da finds out she is seeing a flattie he demands she stops. Lo has become too attached to Dean now and it's like an addiction, she has to see him no matter the cost, no matter what she is neglecting to go see him. Lo's parents have always presumed that their daughter would marry Spider, the fire-breathing son of one of the other families that make up the circus. They have also presumed that their other daughter Rita would marry one of the circus performers called Ash. Rita seemed fairly happy with the arrangement until she develops a crush on Rob, the mechanic who does motorbike tricks with them. Rob was once a flattie but he was allowed to join them as he proved himself doing the motorbike tricks and the amount of ideas he had for further tricks. Lo neither likes nor dislikes him to begin with but later in the book she changes her mind when she sees how he watches her mother and when Spider peeks into Robs home then shows Lo, saying he thinks Rob has a woman with him. When Lo looks in she sees her mother. Despite being ordered to end whatever relationship it is she has with Dean, and everyone thinking once the circus moved to a different place it would be the end anyway. The relationship continues with Dean using his mother's car to get to the new places the circus is at. It's at one of the new places that Lo also sees her mother and Rob on the beach, but cannot say anything about it as she has sneaked out to see Dean after being warned not to. That is the same day that Grands has a fall and is injured making Lo both angry at her Ma, as is she had been where she should have been she would have heard Grands and then he wouldn't have lain on the floor so long. Lo also feels a little guilty that she wasn't about to help Grands too, due to her seeing Dean. So Lo is carrying a lot of information around with her, confusion about her mother and Rob, as well as about her mother and father. Everything is almost revealed when Rita declares her love for Rob. Their Da goes round to Rob's home and drags him back to his home demanding to know what is going on. Lo sees the guilty looks between Ma and Rob but says nothing. Rob turns everything round onto Rita making out she is a silly little girl with a crush, that he had tried to tell her he wasn't interested but she hadn't listened.With so much whirling round in Lo's head she makes a catastrophic decision. . . which she later regrets so much. In fact all the sacrifices the circus performing families have made may no longer save the circus as they wonder if it's worth continuing their lifestyle.The book is written from the differing points of view of Rita and Lo. You can actually feel the different personalities within their own chapters too. It is a rather sad story really, all the things the circus performers give up to keep their show and way of life alive when in reality it is a way of life that is slowly dying. Within the book you see how prejudiced people can be. At one point a young teen boy calling Lo and her family "pikeys" and suggesting they are unclean and are all thieves. On the other hand, the travelling circus performers dislike "flatties" living in one place, coming to the circus demanding more and more dangerous stunts to keep their trade.My thoughts throughout reading this book, were that it was an emotional and poignant read. You agonize along with Lo wanting to see Dean even though she knows it is a forbidden. She also tortures herself with the two images she has of Rob and her mother together. Also as a reader you have to feel some frustration at Lo and some of the hasty decisions she makes. I wanted to hug Grands, I think if Lo had talked more openly with him, maybe she wouldn't have made such a life changing decision. It shows up the difference in culture and knowledge when the circus people come into contact with medical flatties whom they think can fix anything and everything, almost like magic.I also loved the characters of Lo & Rita, they were close sisters who told each other almost everything. In fact it is Rita that Lo finally confesses what she has done that will change all their lives. I seriously wanted to shake Lo & Rita's mother and scream at her asking how long she truly thought she could keep such a secret amongst people that live so close to each other. It wasn't really a case of who found out first, more a question of when! I felt like punching Rob. Rob who is a flattie pretending to have circus in his blood.....who in my opinion didn't really care about the circus ways of life, he just wanted the adrenaline that the roar of the crowd made when he came up with more dangerous stunts and they watched them in awe. Why did he have to join the circus and what on earth did he think would be the result of his "meetings" with Liz. Surely he also would know it was only a matter of when the secret came out. I enjoyed disliking Rob as a character, he played with Rita's emotions, and was doing something that would impact and possibly break the circus he professed to love to tiny pieces. My actual first thoughts upon finishing the book were that the book was certainly thought provoking, sad yet uplifting, full of emotions and loss. Once again I will be on the look out for any other titles by this author. I love her style of writing along with the real life issues she weaves in her slightly more unusual plots. You'll understand what I mean if you read more than one of her books. I highly recommend you read them all.
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  • Rosemary Standeven
    June 26, 2017
    This is a beautiful novel, that has more than a passing nod to Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. It is narrated by two sisters, Lo and Rita, who are trapeze artists with a circus. Their family and their world revolves around the circus, and the main rule is that they do not mix with the towns folk – or ‘flatties’, as they are known. The ‘flatties’ are just as dismissive of the circus folk, whom they refer to derogatorily as ‘pikey scum’. Unfortunately, Lo falls for the flattie, Dean, and he for This is a beautiful novel, that has more than a passing nod to Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. It is narrated by two sisters, Lo and Rita, who are trapeze artists with a circus. Their family and their world revolves around the circus, and the main rule is that they do not mix with the towns folk – or ‘flatties’, as they are known. The ‘flatties’ are just as dismissive of the circus folk, whom they refer to derogatorily as ‘pikey scum’. Unfortunately, Lo falls for the flattie, Dean, and he for her – “a pair of star-cross’d lovers”. Neither can leave their world to be with their love, as doing so would rip apart their families – and not just because of their prejudices. The circus would not be able to perform their main attraction without Lo, and Dean completing his college education is the only hope for himself and his mother to escape their lives of penniless drudgery. So, the scene is set for a tragedy, but along the way there is also a celebration of life and beauty. Lo sneaks out to meet Dean, when he introduces her to his favourite places and things. One morning Dean shows her the magical murmuration of starlings, which remind him of Lo when she performs her own aerial ballet in the circus: “‘The way they move like it’s impossible,’ Dean says. ‘The way you fly, in your circus’”. For Lo it is a revelation, to finally understand “this is what the audience sees. Now it’s my breath held as I watch them leap and twist symmetrical in the air. Our eyes watch them, so they won’t fall … Thousands of feathers fold and beat against the bodies above us, knowing exactly what to do. Our circus birds, bending in the white” – hence the book’s title. For them both, it is a perfect moment: “There are no shattered families, just me and Dean, in a field of grass, with a sky filled with starlings”. All too soon, reality crashes in. For it is not only Lo, whose secret threatens her family. Spider, whom all the circus folk (except Lo and Spider) expect Lo to marry, hides his true nature. Lo’s mother has an even more destructive secret, that could potentially destroy everything. It has already destroyed Lo’s love for her mother. Only the elderly Grands is able to reach Lo, but it may be too little, too late.The book is superbly written. Not only is the theme Shakespearean, but the imagery aspires to similar heights. This is particularly true in the description of the flight of the starlings, but also in the expressions of Lo’s feelings: “I stare at the faded flower pattern in the curtain and wind myself tight into the material, so no one can see my thoughts”; “I’m alone, watching the cracks get bigger and they reach my head and pulse heavy and thick in there”; and “When I blink, my eyelashes brush the pillow. It’s the sound of angel’s footsteps. If they’re in here, hidden in this room, they can save me” – to quote just a few.I loved this book. I am not normally a fan of romances, but this one transcends my usual antipathy, and I would wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone – young adult or old. I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
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  • Maia Moore
    June 27, 2017
    Original review posted here* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *I’ve really enjoyed Lisa Heathfield’s last two books – Seed and Paper Butterflies – so I had some pretty high expectations going to this one (no pressure!) Thankfully I enjoyed this one as much as the others. Her lyrical prose is gorgeous and I could eat up her words for breakfast, lunch and dinner and still want more.Rita and Lo are sisters who perform in a travelling circus. They’re a close-kni Original review posted here* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *I’ve really enjoyed Lisa Heathfield’s last two books – Seed and Paper Butterflies – so I had some pretty high expectations going to this one (no pressure!) Thankfully I enjoyed this one as much as the others. Her lyrical prose is gorgeous and I could eat up her words for breakfast, lunch and dinner and still want more.Rita and Lo are sisters who perform in a travelling circus. They’re a close-knit family, at home with each other as they travel from place to place. Until Lo learns a secret that shatters her world, and meets at boy who makes her want to stay put. As her life unravels Lo does everything she can to keep things together.I wasn’t sure about the description at first, as a teen meeting a boy and wanting to change her whole life for him irked me a great deal. It happens a lot in YA and I know when you’re a teen a new romance can feel like everything but I don’t like that whole ‘I must die or be with the one I love’ type plotline.I felt there was more to this than that though. I didn’t really feel the romance connection with Lo and Dean – he felt a bit muted to me – but I did feel everything that Lo associated with him that made her want to stay with him. After learning an awful secret that could break her whole family apart, Lo feels like Dean can keep things together for her, keep her grounded even if that means staying put with him.I was a bit annoyed that the secret Lo discovers wasn’t resolved at the end. I wanted her to tell someone, I wanted some kind of explanation or revelation, but there was nothing. I guess that’s truer to how real life goes though: there’s not always an explanation and everything tied up neatly. You just have to get on with things.As with Heathfield’s other books, the ending packs a real punch. It wasn’t what I was expecting so when things took a turn for the worse it was a real blow. Even though I knew things couldn’t work out happily, I kept wishing some kind of miracle would come along and change things. It was a devastating lesson in what an action at your lowest point can mean for the rest of your life. It hurt most to see Lo’s family dealing with the fallout of what she did and my heart broke for them.While I wasn’t a huge fan of the romance aspect of the book, I loved the sister relationship and Heathfield’s evocative prose keeps you reading late into the night. Don’t expect a happy ending, but do expect to enjoy the ride.On a final note, and I said it at the end of my last review too, I really hope there’s a Seed sequel in the works somewhere! 🙂
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  • Sharon
    June 28, 2017
    Sometimes, I read a book and I genuinely don't know how I feel about it. This is what has happened here, so I'll try and put it into words as best I can without spoiling anything.Firstly, I haven't read either of the other two books written by this author, though both have been on my Kindle for ages (Seed & Paper Butterflies) so I wasn't sure what to expect from the writing. This is the story of Rita and Lo, sisters who have been born and raised in a circus family. They never stay in one pla Sometimes, I read a book and I genuinely don't know how I feel about it. This is what has happened here, so I'll try and put it into words as best I can without spoiling anything.Firstly, I haven't read either of the other two books written by this author, though both have been on my Kindle for ages (Seed & Paper Butterflies) so I wasn't sure what to expect from the writing. This is the story of Rita and Lo, sisters who have been born and raised in a circus family. They never stay in one place for two long, and they are not permitted to spend time with "flatties" - (the circus version of muggles, or non-circus folk). This is fine - until Lo meets a boy, Dean, who isn't part of the circus. Lo finds herself torn - she wants to stay with the circus but also wants to stay with Dean; she also discovers something that makes her question everything she has been told. We get chapters from both Lo and Rita, and lots of circus-based scenes. I've never been a fan of the circus or carnivals (I blame an incident with a clown and Stephen King equally) but with the rise in popularity of the circus as a YA setting, I've become intrigued by the magic and performance side. I would have liked a tiny bit more of that - I felt that there were too many characters at the start to keep track of.There really isn't any other way to say it other than - it did escalate quickly (is that a trapeze pun? Ba-doom-TISH), and it did leave me feeling a bit bewildered. Approach with caution - but I'm definitely going to bump the author's other books up my TBR a few notches, I liked her writing style and her way of storytelling. Thanks to the publisher for granting me access to a digital ARC via Netgalley.
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  • Diyar Harraz
    June 29, 2017
    Note: I've been given an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Netgalley.I don't usually read YA books as I find them a little cheesy and banal in terms of the subjects they tend to tackle from one book to the next. When I started this, I thought it's going to veer toward the direction I was expecting it to; a girl meets a boy, they fall in love, obstacles are keeping them apart, they find a way somehow and they live happily ever after. But when Lo found herself carry Note: I've been given an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Netgalley.I don't usually read YA books as I find them a little cheesy and banal in terms of the subjects they tend to tackle from one book to the next. When I started this, I thought it's going to veer toward the direction I was expecting it to; a girl meets a boy, they fall in love, obstacles are keeping them apart, they find a way somehow and they live happily ever after. But when Lo found herself carrying a secret so heavy that she lose sight of what's important, I'd more or less convinced that what the author is really trying to paint is more about family bond other than the usual teenage angst and the coming of age drama. Things escalated and I was hooked to the story when Lo surprised myself with a drastic turn of event. Before you know it, she was lying helpless with her family around her. Everything about the book in the previous chapters suddenly made sense; the starlings, Rita, the bit when Lo drew her family on the old factory's wall. Although Dean's character is seen to be a little out of place, I still think the book is exceptionally special. I love the circus acts, the nomadic feel to it (as I can relate to most of what's inside Lo's head) and the way the author simply weave the story yet made it delicate and serious at the same time. I've really enjoyed reading this book. The author had taken me by surprise and I can't believe that I've cried.I'll be sure to look out for more books by this author!
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  • Chantelle Hazelden
    July 5, 2017
    Lisa Heathfield is such a powerful writer, I adored Paper Butterflies so I was insanely excited when I got approved to read a copy of Flight of a Starling through Netgalley.This novel just like her previous works is heart wrenching but it still manages to make you smile through the pain. The emotions that are weaved throughout the pages come across as almost poetic.The build up is slow but the pace suits the book well, it gives a chance for both the characters and the places they move to to deve Lisa Heathfield is such a powerful writer, I adored Paper Butterflies so I was insanely excited when I got approved to read a copy of Flight of a Starling through Netgalley.This novel just like her previous works is heart wrenching but it still manages to make you smile through the pain. The emotions that are weaved throughout the pages come across as almost poetic.The build up is slow but the pace suits the book well, it gives a chance for both the characters and the places they move to to develop, to gain depth, as the reader I felt connected to all of it.Primarily Flight of a Starling is a story of a young female circus traveller who falls in a 'forbidden' love with a non traveler but it isn't forbidden in the sense that we'd see it, it's more keeping with traditions that her family have built. From reading the blurb I honestly couldn't have guessed the direction the story was going to go, I was left crying for a lot of it so yes I'd recommend having tissues at the ready.What Lisa has created is something hauntingly beautiful, a concept not unique in life but certainly unique within the book world and yet again she gets you thinking, what would you do if faced with similar events and consequences?Another 5* must read!
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  • Fiona
    June 21, 2017
    Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for an advance copy in return for an honest review.I haven’t read any other novels by Lisa Heathfield so I had no real idea what to expect. It’s a novel of different viewpoints that usually I can follow, but the narrator changes so often, and their narrator voice was the same, that I found it hard to follow.The last few chapters did pack an emotional punch and I finished the book wishing the ending had been different. Not because it was terrible, just th Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for an advance copy in return for an honest review.I haven’t read any other novels by Lisa Heathfield so I had no real idea what to expect. It’s a novel of different viewpoints that usually I can follow, but the narrator changes so often, and their narrator voice was the same, that I found it hard to follow.The last few chapters did pack an emotional punch and I finished the book wishing the ending had been different. Not because it was terrible, just the opposite. It was very emotional and has stayed with me.Flight of a Starling didn’t hit the spot for me but it didn’t stop me being moved at the end.
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  • Trshava
    May 5, 2017
    *ebook given through Netgalley in exchange for an honest opinion*I enjoyed Paper butterflies,but I enjoyed this book so much more! I don't know what I liked more! The characters,the story,the writting style and how book flew from page to page? Everything was so perfect! If I could,I would give a 10 stars,not just 5,because it sure deserves it! It kept me in my bed a whole day,until I read it. Emotional,amazing,leaving-you-breathless kind of book. A pure 5 stars and this book goes right to the to *ebook given through Netgalley in exchange for an honest opinion*I enjoyed Paper butterflies,but I enjoyed this book so much more! I don't know what I liked more! The characters,the story,the writting style and how book flew from page to page? Everything was so perfect! If I could,I would give a 10 stars,not just 5,because it sure deserves it! It kept me in my bed a whole day,until I read it. Emotional,amazing,leaving-you-breathless kind of book. A pure 5 stars and this book goes right to the to-be-re-read pile,because I'm sure this is the book I will come back to.
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  • Rebecca Hedger
    July 2, 2017
    Another emotional read from Lisa Heathfield. I love how close Lo and Rita are, and how we see the relationship between Lo and Dean develop. Such beautiful writing - it was just the hospital scenes that I needed a trigger warning for (scenes like this always make me feel a little nauseous).
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  • Louise
    July 8, 2017
    God this is so bloody sad. Review to come
  • Ellen
    May 29, 2017
    This book left cracks in my heart. Beautiful, melancholy, uplifting and heartbreaking. It will stay with you long after you finish it.
  • Jasmine
    June 14, 2017
    This was the most heartbreaking and beautiful book. You get to know the characters and feel your heart breaking for them. It really is an amazing book.
  • Anya (An Awful Lot of Reading)
    June 4, 2017
    *3.5 stars* Not quite what I was expecting from Heathfield but still packed an emotional punch. Full review to come.
  • Tara Russell
    June 2, 2017
    I'd previously read Lisa Heathfield's Paper Butterflies and found it a thought provoking but also disturbing read. I wasn't sure what to expect from Flight of a Starling, but the blurb sounded right up my street - two sisters are best friends, performing together on trapezes and never staying long in one place as part of a tightly-knit circus community. Then Lo meets a boy, and everything changes...Like Paper Butterflies, this is beautifully written and Heathfield does a wonderful job portraying I'd previously read Lisa Heathfield's Paper Butterflies and found it a thought provoking but also disturbing read. I wasn't sure what to expect from Flight of a Starling, but the blurb sounded right up my street - two sisters are best friends, performing together on trapezes and never staying long in one place as part of a tightly-knit circus community. Then Lo meets a boy, and everything changes...Like Paper Butterflies, this is beautifully written and Heathfield does a wonderful job portraying friendships and familial relationships. The ending broke my heart, but was also curiously optimistic. I found it interesting that I had very little sense of time and date in this book - the world of the circus seemed to almost exist in a space outside of the world - as the book progressed it did become clearer that it was a contemporary narrative and set in the UK, but it took a while before I felt like I'd got a grip on the setting. It was cleverly done.
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  • Josephine
    June 10, 2017
    I loved this book. Really really loved it. Lisa Heathfield is quickly becoming one of my favourite YA voices. Full review is on my blog here: http://www.livetoreadreadtolive.co.uk...
  • E
    April 13, 2017
    I love circus books, and circuses in general (people ones not animal ones). What child hasn't dreamt of running away to join the circus? I certainly dream about it and I'm (apparently) not a child anymore. (When did that happen?) Although very different, one of my favourite books is The Night Circus, and I like Nights at the Circus and I'm hoping to read Caravel. So, anyway, when this came up on NetGalley, I had to snatch it!Rita and Lo are twins (another subject I love reading about!) have been I love circus books, and circuses in general (people ones not animal ones). What child hasn't dreamt of running away to join the circus? I certainly dream about it and I'm (apparently) not a child anymore. (When did that happen?) Although very different, one of my favourite books is The Night Circus, and I like Nights at the Circus and I'm hoping to read Caravel. So, anyway, when this came up on NetGalley, I had to snatch it!Rita and Lo are twins (another subject I love reading about!) have been part of the circus their entire lives. Their art is the trapeze, and what an art it is. Heathfield's description of their performances are magnificent, almost as though the art is magical rather than down to hard, hard work and years of practice. Their roving lifestyle sounds so alluring, although I might opt for a comfier bed after a couple of months' travelling!Heathfield has created two lovely girls in her main characters, but it is not until later on in the novel that I began to really remember which one was which. Maybe I'm dim - or perhaps the characters are too mutable? Their bond as sisters gives them the quality of 'oneness' which I found did no favours as it left both girls the same until the end. What does almost every YA novel have in it? Love. When Lo meets someone, that's great! She's never had a love interest before whereas Rita has had her eye on one of the other circus lot for a while. The only problem is... he's an outsider. He lives in a house. In one place. How can he ever understand their lives, how can Rita's family ever accept him? But it'll be okay, she'll move on and can forget him.Except she can't. He follows her. As secrets about her circus family around her unfurl, she delves deeper into him and this 'other life' that simultaneously terrifies and fascinates her. And, like the trapeze wires, if one thing goes wrong, someone can fall. And they don't use safety nets at this circus.A good read. Not as great as I had hoped, I have to admit, but I had very high expectations. It was the characterisation that let it down a little, and also the love interest was somewhat cliched. But the ending was... well. You'll have to read it.Thank you to NetGalley for giving me the chance to read this, and thank you to Lisa Heathfield for making it available!
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  • Kat Ellis
    June 15, 2017
    There's such a magical quality to Lisa Heathfield's writing and the worlds she builds; even when I knew my heart would be run through the wringer by Flight of a Starling, I couldn't help falling in love with Rita and Lo, their rootless lives with the circus, and the boy whose arrival means everything is about to change. It was a magnificent book, very much alive and pulsing with feeling. *I received a copy of this book from Netgalley for review.*
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