Title: Flight of a Starling
Author: Lisa Heathfield
Published by: Egmont
Publication date: 29th June 2017
Pages: 320, paperback
Genre: young adult, contemporary
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?
I was so excited for this newest book from Lisa Heathfield – I have absolutely adored both her previous books, and Flight of a Starling looked so intriguing (who doesn’t love a circus book?). And I was right: I did love it.
Lisa’s writing is so magical. I often had to pause to reread a line because it was so powerful. I thought her writing was particularly beautiful in the description of Lo and Dean’s relationship. Lo’s very young, so the intensity of their romance is perhaps a tad unrealistic, but I honestly did not mind at all, as it was described in such a stunning way.
When I started reading, I was not expecting a dual narrative, and it was a welcome surprise. I feel that there was enough of a plot to give Rita depth, but it also never detracted from Lo’s, who was ultimately the protagonist. I thought this was also quite fitting, as the two girls were so close. This meant we could see their relationship from two different perspectives, and could see the events of the book unfold in both their eyes. This was especially interesting as Lo grow more restless, yet Rita remained relatively content with their lives in the circus.
Another thing I loved was the family/community element, and how they were all so appreciative of their lives. At times if felt like I was looking in on something really intimate, when they were all interacting with one another. Of course, this made it so heartbreaking to see it break down. It was also really interesting to see how they interacted with the locals, and how truly alienated they were from the rest of the world.
This book tackles some big issues (as do all of Lisa’s books), and as usual they are handled excellently. To keep this review spoiler free, I won’t detail what all of these issues are, but I’m sure those of you who have read the book will agree. I think it’s so great that Lisa writes about these issues in such a sensitive way, and never glorifies anything in the slightest. I will say this – the last few chapters of this book destroyed me a tiny bit.
Overall, this book was stunning in its writing, story and characters. I would love a sequel to this book, as I think so much was left unresolved, and there’s still so much of Rita’s character that I would love to be explored. If you haven’t already picked up this book, please do, you will become absolutely lost in it.