BOOKS
Flight of a Starling
264p. Carolrhoda Lab. Feb. 2019. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781541526112.
COPY ISBN
Gr 9 Up—This novel about a circus family in the U.K. deals with betrayal and loyalty and the harsh, yet often rewarding, aspects of circus life. Lo and Rita have only known the circus because their family has been involved for generations. Rita is content with their traveling lifestyle and the daring tricks that they play under the round top, but her sister Lo wonders what it would be like to settle down. It's understood that romantic relationships stay within the bounds of the circus, and Rita has an on-again, off-again crush within their tight-knit group. When Lo meets a "flattie" named Dean, she begins a forbidden romance that threatens to endanger their lifestyle. Lo is also carrying around the secret of her mother's infidelity, and though she can scarcely handle all of her new pressures, she is legitimately happy with Dean. The sisterly relationship is portrayed effectively and the chapters change viewpoints between the two girls. Emotions in the novel are ultra heightened, but all of the characters are realistically rendered. The tragic ending is foretold from the very beginning, although that doesn't make it any less impactful when everything finally unravels.
VERDICT A solid purchase; give this to fans of Jennifer Niven and Stephanie Garber.

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