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Flight of A Starling by Lisa Heathfield - Review

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Where did I get it? I requested it on Netgalley because I love Lisa's writing so much, so thank you very much to Egmont Publishing!

What's it about? Lo and Rita are sisters, aged just eleven months apart, and are travellers. They travel with their parents and grandad, and other families that they have grown up with, and their circus, where they put on shows every night. Lo and Rita are trapeze artists and are both incredibly talented at what they do. Lo is sixteen and she meets a 'flattie' - a non traveller - called Dean, and quickly become infatuated with him, and starts to wonder what she wants from life. Meanwhile, her family is falling apart a bit and Lo is struggling to cope. 

What age range is it for? 15+, let's say

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? No

Are any main characters people of colour? I am going to say yes, as travellers are an ethnic minority even if they are white skinned, and are often discriminated against. There is an element of this in the novel. 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? No

Is there any sex stuff? No not at all

Are drugs mentioned or used? Yes, and I'm going to trigger warn for drug use too, but I don't want to say more as it's a major spoiler. 

Is there any talk of death? Yes 

Are there swear words? No

What criticisms do I have? I've decided to add this question to my reviews, because I always think of things that I would have done differently or that I just didn't like. As a writer I often think about how I would write things and get the same story across. It doesn't mean that I think the book is bad or that the author is a terrible person. I hope that makes sense. 

So, for this, as with Lisa's previous novels, I think there is a sparseness to Lisa's prose that somewhat frustrates me. This is partly because I would like more of a sense of setting and place - like, for instance, I would have liked more of a description of Lo and Rita's caravan to get my head round things. But, I understand that Lisa is a very different writer to me and I do think the scarcity of prose adds to the immediacy of the novel. I also really liked the bits set in the big top when the girls were performing as I felt they were almost poetic in their beauty. 

Would I recommend the book? Yes, absolutely. Like her previous novels, Lisa has the reader guessing until the very end of the book and totally emotionally hooks us in so that we care deeply about the main characters. I can't wait to see what she writes next. 

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? I just wanted to be ahead of the game for once and get this reviewed before publication!

What other books is it like? It is a lot like Lisas's other books, I'm not really sure what else.

How many stars? Nine out of ten, a gorgeous book with the perfect ending. 

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