Flight of a Starling, Lisa Heathfield ARC Review.

*Wipes tears, loudly blows nose and deeply sighs* Well that was unexpected. A lesson learned not to assume that just because a book is about a circus you’ll have a smile filled time.

Goodreads Summary:

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?

This is a beautiful story of coming of age in unconventional circumstances. The story is told through the eyes of the two sisters Rita and Lo, with the point of view of the sisters alternating in the book. Initially, the two voices were so similar I had to flick back and remind myself which was which otherwise things got a little confusing. By the end of the book though, I had my head on straight and the differences between the two were more clear. This is actually a pretty neat parallel to the relationship between the two girls so if that was deliberate props to the author.

The love story that in part drives the plot of this book was dangerously close to committing the YA crime of ‘insta love’. In fact I think it probably does just full on commit the crime. But honestly sometimes insta love isn’t a bad thing and it can happen. The way it was told within the story was what made it far more bearable than other similar YA relationships. These are two people who for whatever reason are pulled together and manage, despite their differences, to start to make something work between the two of them.

This slots into the other theme of secrets within families which is threaded throughout the book. This perfect circus unit, you soon discover, is concealing far more than anyone is aware and it seems inevitable that everything will fall apart in a matter of time. But Heathfield’s captivating descriptions of the circus performances leave you willing them to work everything out just so that these characters can continue making their art.

It was an interesting departure from my usual fantasy realms to read some far more ‘realistic’ YA literature and I actually really enjoyed it. I was left teary-eyed at my desk in the morning (you may want to have a pack of tissues on hand) which my coworkers may have been a little confused about. Fair warning this book is not a happy-go-lucky walk in the park and the ending is sudden, unexpected and may be difficult for some to deal with.


If you like a good romance, but one that not only has an imaginative setting and angle but also embraces the darker sides of life then look no further than Flight of a Starling. But maybe don’t read it in public unless you want them to see you weep.

My rating: 5/5 stars

By the way, I received a digital advanced review copy of Flight of a Starling from the publishers (Egmont Publishing) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t think you’d enjoy it too.

Are you excited for the release on the 29th of June? Is this going on your tbr shelf? Let me know in the comments below, can’t wait to hear from you!


Don’t forget to stop by tomorrow, I’ll be revealing my June reading list!

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5 thoughts on “Flight of a Starling, Lisa Heathfield ARC Review.

Add yours

  1. This one is on my list for June and I’m not quite sure I’m emotionally prepared. I haven’t read Paper Butterflies either and I hear that one is just brutal. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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