Review: Flight of a Starling by Lisa Heathfield

Flight of a Starling by Lisa Heathfield
Published by Electric Monkey
Released 29th June 2017
320 Pages
Thank you to the publisher for sending me this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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?


When I read Paper Butterflies last year I fell in love with Lisa Heathfield’s writing style and the way she got her story across in such a heart wrenching way. So, when I found out she was releasing a new book Flight of a Starling I knew straight away that I had to read it. It was a must on my summer 2017 tbr list.

Rita and Lo are sisters who perform a trapeze act in their small close knit travelling circus. Their lives are magical and dreamlike. That is until Lo meets a boy from a small town that they stop in and realises that the circus life may not be for her after all. With secrets about the circus community coming to light and Lo’s romance seemingly forbidden, how far will she go to keep her feet on the ground?

This book literally broke me. I was pulled in by the magic of the circus and the tight community within it. As someone who didn’t know anything about circus life it was so intriguing to learn about and you could tell a lot of research was done prior to writing. Reading about the performances was spell binding and it did get my adrenaline pumping.

The book’s narrative is split between Lo and Rita and I loved the two different perspectives between two people who you would’ve thought were similar. Rita loves the circus and her life and doesn’t understand why Lo would want to leave. Whereas Lo, finds herself being pulled by her emotions with regards to the circus and Dean, her love interest. Lo I found was definitely the more adventurous of the two. However, Rita had her moments and her struggles with wanting to do the right thing was something that I could resonate with. Lo’s infatuation with Dean certainly had elements of instalove but I understood how the power of first love can overcome a young girl, so this wasn’t really a problem. I think the voices of both Lo and Rita were realistic and showed us how hard it can be growing up and finding your own voice.

I’ll warn you now that this book isn’t your happy go lucky romance and the ending was absolutely heartbreaking. I cried for a good solid hour after I’d finished the book and I am still thinking about it now. I was expecting it as I knew from Lisa’s previous novels that it wasn’t going to be a happy ending. The last part had me on the edge and I couldn’t stop reading. I was praying to myself for something good to happen but alas this didn’t happen. However, the way it was handled was perfect and will certainly stick in readers minds.

If I was going to say anything negative about Flight of a Starling I would probably say that I would’ve loved to have learnt more about the secondary characters. We got glimpses into their lives but I wanted more. Hearing about how Rob first came to the circus or Ash’s real feelings about Rita or Spider’s relationship with Lo would’ve brought roundness to the already established characters.

Flight of a Starling was a magical yet heartbreaking read that kept me hooked. I found myself wanting to read more and more as the story went on. Lisa Heathfield has done it again and I honestly can’t wait to read what she comes up with next.


Author Bio

Before becoming a mum to her three sons, Lisa Heathfield was a secondary school English teacher and loved inspiring teenagers to read.

Lisa Heathfield launched her writing career with Seed in 2015. Published by Egmont it is a stunning YA debut about a life in cult. Paper Butterflies was her beautiful and heart-breaking second novel. Flight of a Starling is her third novel.

Lisa lives in Brighton with her family.

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