Cover Image: This Bird Has Flown

This Bird Has Flown

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I was curious to see this writerly side of Susanna Hoffs because I always thought her pop persona hid a clever, intelligent woman. This novel is a great start for Hoffs showing she’s way more than a cute girl in a mini dress.

She’s writing what she knows here and peeling back the tacky, sometimes gross layers of the life of a pop star. There’s a definite whiff of autobiography which will certainly appeal to fans whether it’s accurate or not. However there is also some damn good writing - appealing characterizations, witty and raw dialog and a dynamite story.

I look forward to more from Susanna Hoffs, Author!

Was this review helpful?

This is a sweet little romp of a book, written by the lead singer for the 80s pop group The Bangles. Jane Start is a one-hit wonder from many years ago, singing a song written by the famous Jonesy (is that Prince, do you think? Prince wrote 'Manic Monday'); her subsequent work went unacknowledged. Her agent/bff Pippa arranges for her to sing at a bachelor party, where she meets pop star Alfie. And just when you think this book is going to go in one direction, Jane meets Tom Hardy (not the actor), an Oxford professor, on a plane, and they hit it off. As Jane and Tom build their relationship, Jane often feels that something is a bit off, but she wonders if it is because she is a bit of a fish out of water in Tom's academic world. I liked this twist on a traditional rom-com, and the characters were all lively and fun to read. The story drags a bit with a subplot about Tom's neighbor, and I did keep wondering if Alfie would reappear (to make trouble? to spirit Jane away?) so I wish he had been integrated a bit more. But I liked this book, kind of a mashup of "Romantic Comedy" and "Bridget Jones" (I wasn't surprised to see Helen Fielding in the acknowledgements).

Was this review helpful?

As I think will be the case with a large number of people who pick up this book, the fact that it's written by Susanna Hoffs is what drew my attention. Adorably fierce frontwoman for The Bangles, a band I lipsynced my heart out to time and time again in my youth, I had to see what Hoffs could add to the rom com/chick lit category as we follow Jane Start, the one-hit wonder whose heyday was 10 years ago, as she meets a "regular Joe" university teacher (Tom) on her flight to stay with her friend/manager (Pippa) in London.

The high point was absolutely the music references. I expected nothing less from a musician and adored how they were woven in. (Yes, I went over to Spotify in the middle of reading to play various tracks that were mentioned.)

I was engaged by many of the supporting characters - Pippa, Will, Alfie, even Jonesy (though have huge concerns about the lack of really addressing what happened between he & Jane...I suppose that actually a mirror of real life though.). The people she met through the college w Tom gave the book a little color as well.

But I found myself not caring if Jane and Tom got together. In fact, at one point, I was hoping it would fall apart. And I was ok with that. There wasn't any heat or spark I could grasp onto between them and the back and forth of it made my eyes want to roll out of their sockets.

Thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown, and Company for this advanced copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

Was this review helpful?

I want to just start out by saying that rating a romance can be kind of strange because everyone has such different preferences for tropes, themes, etc. that my own feelings about this book may not be how other people feel about it. I think if you like music (especially from the 70s-90s) you'll enjoy parts of this book. If you like Jane Eyre you'll enjoy parts of this book. Actually one of my favorite parts of this book was the references to Jane Eyre that leads to you predicting something before it happens (I really liked that) But with that being said, I feel like this book had some issues. I generally really like first person POV romances, however I didn't like Jane enough as a main character to want to hear her thoughts constantly. I don't love the insta love trope used here. I don't think it's stays believable. This story tells much more than showing, which leads to having 2 dimensional characters. In moments where you expect to sit with the characters and watch their interactions with each other, we repeatedly skip those scenes and have them summed up immediately after. So we never see the characters relationships growing, rather we're told about it. Jane ignores so many red flags and I was so suspicious of the love interest, Tom, that I actually started to wonder if I had misheard which genre this book was in. I was waiting for her "I believe in women's rights, but also women's wrongs" moment haha! And I spent so much time being suspicious of Tom and seeing so little of their interactions outside of a suspicious light, that I didn't ever get the chance to like him. It was incredibly predictable, which isn't always a bad thing, and I did like some of the predictable moments, but overall I think this book was not for me. I feel like part of why it was frustrating to read was because the issues were so clear and the way to fix them was also clear.

Was this review helpful?

Would I have wanted to read this as much if it weren't by one of my girlhood heroes? Hard to say. Ms. Hoffs has a nice narrative voice and sense of humor, although I feel like this could have used more developmental editing. There are tangents that don't really go anywhere, the supporting characters are pretty one-dimensional, and the heroine often feels like a Gen-Xer, though she's supposed to be 31 in apparently the present day (?), which would make her a younger Millennial. And I found myself actively rooting against the ending that I suspected was coming (I won't spoil it more than that). If Jonesy was supposed to be a composite of Prince and David Bowie, I would have liked to see more of him in the story--and Alfie as well. But I'll look for a sophomore effort from the author.

Thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for the opportunity to read a temporary digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

A delightful romp
through love, academia,
music and Brontë.

I write haiku reviews but am happy to provide more feedback.

Was this review helpful?

This seemed like a great set up for a book. A little rock and roll, a little romance, a comeback story. What more could you want? Well, I needed a little more plot, a little more action. It was very uneventful. I wouldn't really call the book slow, it moved, but it just sort of circled the drain. While This Bird Has Flown was a valiant effort by Susanna Hoff, I just wasn't the right audience. (This is one I won't be reviewing on social media.) 2.5 stars

Was this review helpful?

Jane Start seems to have been relegated to the ranks of one-hit wonders. She had a huge success with a cover ten years ago, but her sophomore album went nowhere. Now, recently broken up with her cheating boyfriend, Alex, she finds herself performing at a bachelor party in Las Vegas. The one person who hasn't given up on her is her agent and friend, Pippa. Given the choice between returning to her parents' house or going to Pippa's in London, Jane chooses the latter.

Seated in first class on the flight to London, Jane is lucky enough to have a gorgeous professor sitting next to her, with the improbable name of Tom Hardy. Although he asks for her number, he waits an agonizing three weeks before calling her, but after that, things move fast. Too fast? As Jane settles in to her new life in Oxford with Tom, she learns more about his ex, Amelia. Who has not been his ex for as long as Jane might have hoped.

This fun debut novel shows the definite downsides to fame and fortune (or at least fame). Jane is a very likable character who the reader genuinely wants to find happiness. If Tom seems too good to be true, there may be a lesson in that. And full disclaimer: although I've been a huge fan of Susanna Hoffs since the 1980s, this is an unbiased review. She has written a stunning book. #ThisBirdHasFlown #NetGalley

Was this review helpful?

I'll keep this short and sweet: I really really really wanted to like this book, marketed as part romcom and part Jane Eyre. Overall, it felt like this book wasn't sure what it wanted to be and I think it would have been more successful if it had picked a lane and stuck to it.

Was this review helpful?

This looked like a fun book, I guess it was but it confirmed that this genre is not for me. I was attracted to the book as the author is from the band The Bangles and is about music.

The relationship angst is the part that I don't particularly enjoy in books. This follows the standard pattern. What I did like were the literary references.

There are some well written sentences, but for me the plot is just not my cup of tea. I'm sure people who enjoy this genre will enjoy this book more than myself.

Book rating 3.5 stars
rounded up because it's not my genre, but well written.

Was this review helpful?

This Bird Has Flown is the debut novel from a name you might be familiar with - but not because of books. Susanna Hoffs was the lead singer of 80s band The Bangles, and now she can add published author to her resume. Because of Hoff's musical background, it only makes sense that she's written a novel about a musician, titled some (if not all - I'm not sure) of the chapters after song titles, and sprinkled musical references throughout the story.

Does that mean the novel is good? Wellllllll.....

I really wanted to like this more than I did, and perhaps it didn't live up to my expectations simply because I was expecting it to be something that it wasn't.

Our novel's heroine Jane Start is a one-hit-wonder. Now in her 30s, she hasn't been able to write any new songs in years, and her relationship has just ended thanks to her boyfriend cheating on her. And then she meets Tom, the stranger sitting next to her on an airplane. Will her blossoming romance with Tom be just the impetus Jane needs to remove her writer's block? Or will Tom's past come back to bite her in the bum?

Despite Jane being American, much of the story takes place in England. Because of this (and possibly because Helen Fielding offered Hoffs some guidance), This Bird Has Flown felt very much like a Bridget Jones wanna-be. It's a fast-paced rom-com with lots of British cheek. It's a tad predictable and could have been edited a little tighter, but it's ultimately a fun and light read.

I just wish there had been a downloadable playlist to go along with it! Seems like a missed opportunity.

This Bird Has Flown is published by Little, Brown and Company. I received a free e-ARC.

Was this review helpful?

This is the debut novel from Susanna Hoffs, lead singer of The Bangles. I think it’s awesome that she is trying a new art form after her success with music. I think her perspective made the music aspects of the book (composing, performing, recording) feel authentic. I enjoyed this book a lot, though there were a few hiccups that I’ll mention.

I loved the Oxford setting and a lot of the supporting characters (Profs. Tobey and Honora, Alfie, Pippa, etc.) I didn’t love the leads. Jane felt like the typical “messy rock star” and Tom was sweet but a little too boring/vanilla. Even the way that he betrayed Jane mostly just felt passive.

The thing that worked the least in this book was Jonesy and the relationship between him and Jane. It felt incredibly confusing and chaotic. I still don’t quite understand exactly what happened between them or what the parameters of their relationship were. I don’t know if that was intentional to show how Jane felt about him, but it made it confusing as a reader.

Fair warning that there is a lot of open door sex here.

I would recommend it to romance readers, music fans and Anglophiles. Thank you to the publisher - I received a complimentary eARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Jane Start is a little lost. She is a musician who hasn’t written a song in a long time. She’s a romantic who just got dumped when her longtime boyfriend left her for his girlfriend. She’s smart but living back at home. So when her manager Pippa calls her up about a job in Las Vegas, a chance to sing her big hit for a small gathering, Jane decides to say yes. She could use the money, yes, but she could also use the distraction.

In Vegas, things at the party go badly, when it turns out to be a bachelor party where they expect her to sing her well-known hit, in the iconic pink wig she wore in the video, to the karaoke track. She is insulted but still a professional, so she sings the song. But then she escapes with Pippa and the handsome guy she met in the elevator back at the hotel. Alfie and his brother Nick are rising pop stars from Australia, and while Jane is in Vegas, she figures it wouldn’t be unheard of to make some questionable decisions with Alfie while she’s there.

The next day, hungover and stalking her ex’s Instagram appearances, Jane is in need of something new. Something that isn’t going back to live at her parents’ house while she figures out what to do next. Pippa offers up her flat, and Jane thinks that a short jaunt to London might be just what she needs. But it’s the flight to England that changes everything, because Jane is seated next to Tom Hardy. He’s not the novelist who wrote Far From the Madding Crowd, and he’s not the actor. He is an Oxford don, and he seems to be having just as much trouble tearing himself away from Jane as she’s having tearing herself away from him.

They exchange numbers, and Jane hangs out in London, trying not to notice that he hasn’t contacted her. For weeks. And she finds out that Jonesy is playing Royal Albert Hall, and he wants her to join him. Jonesy is a huge star, a brilliant musician, with millions of fans worldwide. It was Jonesy’s song that Jane had sung for her one hit. All the music she wrote for herself, including her entire second album, never caught on with her fans. They all know the Jonesy song. And now Jonesy is back in her life, and he’s asking for her. In Royal Albert Hall. How can she say no?

And then Tom calls. And Jane goes to Oxford to meet up with him. And being with him is just as sweet and easy and exciting as it had been on the plane. It’s not long before she has moved into his flat in Oxford, trying to write new songs in the little room that feels made for her. But as they say, the course of true love never did run true, and Jane and Tom find themselves having to face some challenges to stay together.

Add in a black cat, stage fright, a cardigan named for Kurt Cobain, a manipulative rock star, secrets, song lyrics, a little brother, and Paris, France, and you have a sweet and stormy transatlantic romance that is as real as it is charming. From frontwoman of ‘80s female power pop group The Bangles, Susanna Hoffs, comes This Bird Has Flown, a romance with depth and art and awkwardness. The cultural references flow fast and furious, from the Beatles to My Fair Lady to W.H. Auden to Jane Eyre.

I loved This Bird Has Flown. I tried to read it quickly, but it wouldn’t let me. It wanted me to slow down and enjoy the ride, and I’m so glad I listened. Hoffs’ novel is as surprising and bewitching as The Bangles’ cover of “Hazy Shade of Winter,” and I enjoyed every word of it. If you were a fan of The Bangles, then you’ll enjoy this unique look at the music industry. But if you’re a fan of literary romance, then you’ll fall in love with this story and wait with bated breath (like me) for whatever Hoffs wants to write next.

Egalleys for This Bird Has Flown were provided by Little, Brown and Company through NetGalley, with many thanks.

Was this review helpful?

This Bird Has Flown by Susanna Hoffs is an incredibly fun, romantic debut about a singer by a real life singer! Jane had a hit song 10 years ago but ever since things have been less glamorous. Untillll her manager sends her on an adventure to London and she is seated next to an intriguing stranger on the flight. But is it all too good to be true?

I liked Jane a lot and appreciate her very real quirks and nuances. The love at first sight vibes worked really well here and it was the perfect frame for the larger questions and themes that the author explored. While it was overall extremely pleasant I did find that the book was a bit slow at times.

Thank you to Netgalley and Little, Brown and Company for the ARC - This Bird Has Flown is out now!

Was this review helpful?

I found This Bird Has Flown enjoyable, but not unputdownable. The writing was great and I was surprised to learn it was a debut. The downside for me was the pacing. Ultimately I think people who enjoy romcoms will find this one fun and should definitely give it a chance.

Was this review helpful?

There is something about this book that is so wonderfully appealing and yet also kind of off putting. I think, perhaps, it is because I can see a lot of myself in the lead protagonist's actions. I wouldn’t necessarily say I find myself being like this character but a lot of her impulsivity feels very familiar and for me it was what made me so nervous throughout reading this book. You start with a woman, washed up in her career and heartbroken, who is going out and just deciding to make the wildest decisions.

As a young female, I have often had dreams of meeting a random stranger and falling in love with them on a plane. The beauty of insta-love and all the craziness that ensues. It was this novel, however, that sort of sparked me back to reality and why that situation might not be necessarily the best thing to happen to me. Even with the ending of this novel being what it was, the whole situation just left a weird taste in my mouth. I think perhaps I also felt like the chemistry was lacking.

To me this didn't feel like a romance novel. Instead, this felt like a novel about a woman trying to find herself after heartbreak and a romance plot getting in her way. I think I would have much preferred the relationship being in the background if the chemistry wasn't going to be explored. Things moved so fast between the two love interests in this novel without much being explored about who they were together. There were small mentions but, other than that, the main focus seemed to be on who they were when they had been with other people. I knew more about who Tom was with his ex than who he was with Jane, our main love interest. In fact, I didn't really know Tom well at all. He was a romantic lead, there to kiss and to wipe away tears, with not much else behind him which is another reason why the romance fell flat to me. Jane was so well written, so well thought out and complex, that her romantic partner felt two dimensional.

I enjoyed this story, I cared for Jane as a character, but it was not my favorite novel I've read. Thank you to Net Galley and the publishers for giving me a chance to read this one.

Was this review helpful?

This Bird Has Flown by Susanna Hoffs
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/ Pages: 368 / Genre: Romcom

Written by Susanna Hoffs, the lead singer from the ‘80s pop band The Bangles, this debut novel is full of love, laughs, and rock and roll.

Jane Start is a 33-year-old one-hit wonder. After hitting it big a decade ago with a cover of a song by mega superstar Jonesey, she hasn’t done much else with her music career. As we follow Jane on some gigs, we get a taste of what it’s like to be in the biz, even if you’re not an A-list celebrity. She hits it off with some big names, flies off to London, mends her broken heart with a whirlwind romance with a hot Oxford professor, and faces off with Jonesey, who she hasn’t seen in a decade when they left things off in a very awkward way. So a lot to cover with interesting and fun characters and events. I loved it and hope they make a Netflix movie out of it.

Thank you @Netgalley and @LittleBrown for the advanced copy of this book. I loved it!

Was this review helpful?

I deeply love The Bangles, so the moment I saw this book, I knew I had to read it! It's always scary reading a debut book written by someone you admire, but thankfully I really enjoyed it. The music and industry references were fun and the love story was very sweet.

Was this review helpful?

I was really excited for this British women's fiction/romance debut about a singer/songwriter trying to stage a comeback but I honestly felt bored throughout most of the book. It was a very in your head first person POV that had a lot of angst and relationship issues. I struggled to connect with the main character and wanted more out of the romance/relationships.

There were funny parts but overall this was a bit of a letdown for me unfortunately. I did like the song title chapters and insider industry perspective brought by the author as a famous singer herself. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early digital copy in exchange for my honest review!

Was this review helpful?

I was excited to see a modern “Jane Eyre-like” novel with a heavy on the music twist. Our FMC is down on her luck musician with writer’s block and performing anxiety. I think she’s relatable in a way that we can all feel out of sorts from time to time and it’s encouraging to see her work her way up.

Thank you Little Brown Company and NetGalley for the ARC.

Was this review helpful?