Book Review: Flying Tips for Flightless Birds by Kelly McCaughrain


Today's new review is for a YA title: Flying Tips for Flightless Birds. This is Kelly McCaughrain's debut and is set in a circus school, I don't think I've read any stories sets in a Circus so I was really curious to find out more. Here are my thoughts:

Title: Flying Tips for Flightless Birds
Author: Cally MacCaughrain
Published: March 1st 2018 by Walker Books

Blurb: From debut author Kelly McCaughrain comes a sweet and kooky romcom for fans of R. J. Palacio's Wonder, Sarah Crossan, and Susin Nielsen's We Are All Made of Molecules. Twins Finch and Birdie Franconi are stars of the flying trapeze. But when Birdie suffers a terrifying accident, Finch must team up with the geeky new kid, Hector Hazzard, to form an all-boys double act and save the family circus school. Together they learn to walk the high-wire of teen life and juggle the demands of friends, family, first love and facing up to who they are – all served up with a dash of circus-showbiz magic.

Review: Flying Tips for Flightless Birds is a sweet and quirky coming of age story set in a circus school in rural Wales. The main characters are twins Finch and Birdie Franconi, but the story is narrated only by Finch. He is a very complex and sometimes difficult to like character but he definitely steals the show.

Finch and Birdie are a team, both in stage and in real life. They don't have any other friends in high school and are often bullied by the "cool" kids. Finch doesn't seem to care, as long as they face them together. But then, two huge things happen: a new boy, Hector, joins their school and is determined to be their friend and Birdie suffers an accident. This means Finch has to face a new reality and he soon realizes that he might actually care, a lot.

I have to stay that the story was a bit slow at the beginning but after the first few characters, it picked up pace and I started having fun with these characters. Plus, at the beginning of each chapter, there is a blog post from Birdie talking about the circus school, their students, how it started and about circus history in general. I found those really interesting, not only because there were a lot of things I didn't know about the circus, but because they fitted with the story. It felt like Birdie was talking directly to Finch and helping him figure it all out.

I also enjoyed how the friendship between Hector and Finch developed. Hector was a very interesting character and I admired his dedication and optimism. Some of their scenes together were really special, and Hector's brighter personality complemented Finch's moody and sometimes darker one.

Rating: 4 stars

I would like to thank the publisher for sending me a copy of this book. This is my honest opinion.

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