Cover Image: Starlings


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Member Reviews

Such an interesting story! I think that the main plot point that was a surprise was kind of predictable. But more in a way that I knew the vague details but not exactly how it was going to go. I was pleasantly surprised with the direction it took. I wasn’t the biggest fan of a weird one off love story being added in towards the end, I felt like the same story could have been done without the romantic aspect. I enjoyed every other part of the book though! Definitely a unique way to present a story that has been told before!
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The book has a promising plot and while I was definitely hooked in the beginning, as the book went on and on, it took me a while to finish it. It wasn't a bad book, but it did fall flat in some parts for me.
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3.75 stars

This book is marketed as being for fans of "Small Favors", which was one of my favorite reads of 2022, so I was excited to dive in! There are similarities in the vibes, but "Starlings" is definitely its own story.

Kit Starling is 17 and reeling after the death of her father, and excited for the distraction of visiting her estranged grandmother, Agatha, and seeing where her dad grew up. Rosemont is picturesque but isolated, and as Kit says, "a little Stepford-y". All of the townsfolk are friendly, but they seem weirdly reverent of Kit and her family. Apparently, the Starlings' ancestors saved the town, but everyone is tight-lipped on the details. 

Kit is wary of her grandmother, who her dad had said died years ago, but is making the best of exploring the town and learning of her family history--including befriending a cute neighbor boy--when suddenly her mom disappears. The quirks of the town as a vacation spot begin to look a lot more ominous as her stay is extended.

I really liked this story (and the twist), and don't have anything negative to say--I actually wish it had been longer. The last 1/3rd was really gripping, and I think if I'd had a little more time to settle into the world I may have connected with the book more and rated it higher. I had fun reading this and enjoyed the lore, but don't think it will stick with me in the same way "Small Favors" did. I recommend this if you're looking for a standalone, YA, fantasy-lite book with eerie vibes.

Thank you to NetGalley, the publishers, & the author for the advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
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4 stars A horror novel that was not scary but exciting. Set in a town that seems to not have aged and technology does not work well. It features a mother, daughter and grandmother as the main characters. With the loss of a loved one binding them together or so they think. The grandmother hid secrets the her son knew that effected the daughter. Will she make it out? I think the suspense of the story was well written but it took a while to get into the main plot. If one can stand the slow beginning it is a good read.
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This was one of those books where I definitely didn't see the twists coming. When Kit arrives in her father's hometown, it's clear that this isn't a normal place. Kit's family, the Starlings, seem to be revered and well-known, but I wasn't sure why. As we learned the history of the town and Kit's heritage, things get pretty crazy. 

I liked the mystery of what was happening and the creepy parts of town history. I wasn't totally a fan of the reveal and there was some romance happening that was odd and not super relevant to me. I also thought the ending happened too quickly and easily for a horror novel. This is fairly short, so maybe if the author had taken more time to really explore everything I would have enjoyed it a bit more. 

Although this wasn't my favorite horror story, it was different and engaging and I would read another book by Linsmeier. 

I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. All opinions are my own. Thank you to Delacorte Press and NetGalley for the copy.
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I'm honestly not sure what I just read. This was confusing and strange. The secrets that get revealed about Rosemont and Kit's family were not what I was expecting. 

Overall I have no idea what this was all about and maybe one day, after everything settles, I'll come back to update this review. For now this is a beautiful cover with a strange strange story inside it's pages.
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Starlings is your next read if you love House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland or twisty fairy-esque tales along the line of Erin Craig. Starlings is a captivating read about a young girl who just lost her father; her life is more upturned after moving and unearthing more family secrets. The town of Rosemont is also full of it's own dark lies. As this book develops through a deep theme of Mother-Daughter bonding, the audience finds strength in this as Kit uses this to persevere. Ultimately, this book covers all the bases for readers: mystery, romance, and thrill. The cover alone should make you want to pick it up and read; I definitely recommend this story.
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Starlings by Amanda Linsmeier

A dark YA fantasy debut perfect for fans of House of Hollow and Small Favors. In the wake of her father's death, a teen girl discovers a side of her family she didn't know existed, and is pulled into a dark—and ancient—bargain she is next in line to fulfill.

Kit’s father always told her he had no family, but his sudden death revealed the truth. Now Kit has a grandmother she never knew she had—Agatha Starling—and an invitation to visit her father’s hometown, Rosemont. 

And Rosemont is picture perfect: the famed eternal roses bloom all year, downtown is straight out of the 1950s . . . there’s even a cute guy to show Kit around.

The longer Kit’s there, though, the stranger it all feels. The Starling family is revered, but there’s something off about how the Starling women seem to be at the center of the all the town’s important history. And as welcoming as the locals are, Kit can’t shake the feeling that they're hiding something from her.

Agatha is so happy to finally meet her only granddaughter, and the town is truly charming, but Kit can’t help wondering, if everything is so great in Rosemont, why did her father leave? And why does it seem like he never wanted her to find it?


This review is only a 3-star review.  It was well written and very well edited the reason for the 3-star review I struggled to connect with the characters and the book was easy to put down and walk away from it sometimes for a few others until the next day. A good book grabs you from the first chapter a great book grabs you from the very first page. This is just an Ok book.  It was refreshing to see the quality of editing, as so many books nowadays have way too many errors.

Would I recommend this book to others?  NO
Is this book priced correctly?  Yes, the E-book is overpriced.
Is this book a full-length novel or novella?  Full-length novel
Would I read other books by this Author?  NO

 I received this copy free for my honest review from NetGalley

   I'd also like to add that I'm very sorry this review is late.  Storms in Oklahoma have been playing with my internet and still is but at least I can come online right now.
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this was great!  Amanda Linsmeier is a great author!

Thanks to the publisher and netgalley for the review copy.
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STARLINGS is the perfect choice for those who desire a spookier Stars Hollow experience, as Amanda Linsmeier's captivating and mysterious tale kept me enthralled, eagerly uncovering all the dark secrets of Rosemont. Undoubtedly, this author has become an auto-buy for me!
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I enjoyed this tale and how it unfolded. The twists were satisfying and the creepiness of a town full of Lottery-esque people will never get old.
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Amanda is a brilliant writer. This story was so fabulous. I read it it so fast. I wanted more of it. 
10/10 would recommend it.
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Special thanks to NetGalley, Random House Childrens and Delacorte Press for an e-arc of this novel which was released 6-26-2023.

It's a dark YA fantasy.   Kit’s father always told her he had no family, but his sudden death revealed the truth. Now Kit has a grandmother she never knew she had—Agatha Starling—and an invitation to visit her father’s hometown, Rosemont. 

And Rosemont is picture perfect: the famed eternal roses bloom all year, downtown is straight out of the 1950s . . . there’s even a cute guy to show Kit around.

A quick read, keeps you guessing for the most part.  I enjoyed it.
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This book is creepy in all the right ways.

The discovery of family secrets is often unsettling, especially when a parent goes to great lengths to attempt to keep them buried. But this book left me questioning what was free will, and what was the will of the spoiler alert. Look talking about this book is going to be hard.

From page one something is off about the town, the people and especially Kat's grandmother. Knowing that a secret is going to be revealed from the beginning had me questioning the motives of every person Kat interacted with. While there were definitely chapters that I wish went deeper, over all the book is a frightening read into the town that could have been any small town.

You're going to love this book if you enjoy magic hidden in plan sight, characters that make deals with the enemy to protect the ones they love, and strong female leads. While Kat is only in high school and still trying to find herself, she is written beautifully. With the fearless spirit of a young one that doesn't know the word submission.

I was a little sad at the ending, (spoiler)I would have rather the town not suffer, but I guess they did spend decades sacrificing one family so they could live in luxury, so maybe they did deserve to lose the town in the end. Mostly I was sad Kat left her family home and heritage. That would have been marvelous to inherit. Just not in a monstery town with haters.(end spoiler)

The YA characters are well written, without any of the yucky stereotype traits. The themes and use of roses and Starlings were well laid out as well. So much symbolism and deeper meanings.

Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this book.
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Captivating and slightly creepy-I was kept on edge trying to figure out what exactly was going on. Kit Starling, dealing with the loss of her father, is finally meeting the paternal grandmother she had always thought was dead. She finds herself in a perfect, idyllic small town. But things aren’t as they seem and she finds that her family is at the center of it all. Kit is strong and determined, and her love for her mother propels her to be brave. The twists are predictable but this was still an enjoyable read that kept me engaged. Thank you NetGalley and Random House Children’s for the arc.
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Dark, creepy, mind-bending, and terrifying in all the best ways, this book will have you questioning everyone you meet and wondering if those quaint little town festivals are hiding something much more sinister. 

Kit and her mother head to see her father's mother after his death, hoping to find the answers that she's looking for Kit goes into the situation with an open mind and a somewhat open heart.

After meeting her grandmother Agatha she seems like a sweet person but from the beginning, you get the feeling that there's something more, something just not quite right, and when Kit finds herself in the middle of what seems like another tragedy in her life Agatha is there for her.

What happens next is just bizarre and horrific on so many levels and it kept me glued to the pages, finding out who she could trust, who was pure evil, and the lengths people would go to to preserve their lifestyles will have you second guessing every encounter you have, looking for seeds of secrecy and deceit even when there aren't any.

I have to say I loved this book, it was more than I was hoping it would be while giving me everything I needed and then some. 

Thank you to Random House Children's Books Delacorte Press and NetGalley for providing a copy of this E-Book, I have voluntarily read and reviewed it and all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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** 3.5 stars 🌟 **

This was a new author for me, but with a beautiful cover that this - what can I say other than I was captivated and what to know what was within those pages.

It's a gothic read that has this ominous feel about it.  A young girl,  trying to deal with the death of her father; the mystery of his family that wasn't supposed to exist; and a dark history surrounding the town - so much potential right off the bat with this book.  There is that build up; but for may of you, you may see the twists and turns coming as I did.  

Is it an original read? There are definitely moments that allow it to hold its own. That Nancy Drew-like feeling that simmers in foreground gives this story something that otherwise it would lack.  But I found Kit to be very much a teenager. Whiny and very self-centered for most of the time in this book.  It gets to be too much sometimes.  

I will add for those that want well-rounded information about what their children read.  This book does have mystery overtones which can keep you on the edge,  but i wouldn't consider a thriller. 
The romance starts early on in the beginning with and going throughout both M/F and F/F. Kit has bisexual/pansexual scenes with two characters that really help pull her through this story. 

“She tastes like salt and sugar and darkness, and the promise of light just barely beneath it. I shouldn’t want to kiss her this much. But I do it anyway.”

Overall,  it's a good book but I felt it was somewhat predictable.

** Thank you to NetGalley and the author for the opportunity to review this advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion **
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A stunning little town hidden away amongst the roses, a secret legacy, and an unknown horror threaten to unravel everything Kit thought she knew about being a Starling. This book takes you on a journey to find the truth about the long history between the Starlings and the town of Rosemont. Unfortunately the story fell a little flat for me. I loved the premise and the atmosphere, but I wish everything was a little more fleshed out. I was left with more questions than answers and any answers given felt lazy. Even though I wish there was more substance to the story, it was a still an enjoyable fantasy horror!

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC of this book.
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The premise of Starlings captured my attention right away. From the jump there was an air of mystery and an other worldly quality that kept me wanting more. The first half was amazing, however I found myself confused thinking I was missing details during the second half of the book. At the same time it became predictable. For the target audience (young adult) I feel like it would be less predictable and more comforting which is a nice balance to the spooky nature of the book. Overall, a 3 star read for me.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Somewhere, I saw this book described as "Midsommar set in Stars Hollow", and obviously after that, I was ALL IN. I definitely see where the comparisons are coming from too. Cute little town meets horrifying ritual? Absolutely! I love cozy-seeming small towns with dark secrets, and this book does that very well. The atmosphere is very creepy (people smiling too widely will never not give me the chills), and the mystery is very captivating (some twists were easier to see coming than others, but I personally love being able to call where something is going. It makes me feel smart). This is definitely a great spooky season read, so I'm only bummed that I read it in June when it was too warm to fully, properly appreciate the atmosphere.
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