Cover Image: Starlings


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Member Reviews

I loved this book. I went into it not really knowing anything which made the book so much better in my opinion. I loved that I didn't see things coming and that I was finding out what's going on with the main character even when it came to the basic plot that is in the summary. I love Kit. She is such a great main character. She is strong, but also not afraid to show her emotions. The plot of this story was dark and creepy and I loved it. It was the perfect creepy atmosphere.
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This turned out to be a pride read so at least that's one good thing that came out of this.

Anything dark fantasy is my thing, but sadly, this wasn't it. I try very hard not to give out 1-star ratings because I know how hard it is to write a book and get it published, so this is an exception for me.

I've read great YA dark fantasies/horrors, so it's not the fact that this is YA that bothered me. The story just wasn't good. It was very cliched and formulaic and read like a YA version of a bad M. Night Shyamalan movie. There's a scary town and with a huge secret/curse, a grandma that might or might not be evil, and an actual evil monster.

I'm down for new twists to this tropey plotline, but there was nothing new in Starlings that we've never seen before. Unless you're new to the dark fantasy/horror genre (in any form of media), then you can skip this one. This is like a beginner's guide to the "creepy towns with a deadly secret" horror genre.

This novel was supposed to be intense and somewhat of a horror, and before any big reveals, I did get a little tiny bit of Midsommar vibes: YA edition (and a bit of Silent Hill), but that quickly fell apart when I realized that it was turning out to be extremely formulaic, with an MC that was way too trusting of people, and an ending that seemed to be wrapped up way too neatly.

I hated the characters and their bare minimum characterization. All of the side characters were just stock characters (gay black guy who works at a flower shop? check. cute blonde who works at a diner with dreams of Hollywood? also check.). Kit felt like an outline of an MC. I get being young and naive (we've all been there), but she ends up trusting and falling in love with the first cute guy she meets in town. Even when she realizes that the guy is keeping secrets from her, she's still into him.

Same with Agatha, her grandmother that she barely knows. This woman kept the biggest bombshell of a secret from Kit, but yet at the end, Kit ended up trusting her. Sure, Kit's mother was missing for a majority of the book, and Kit was technically on her own, but it made no sense for Kit to let her guard down around someone who was totally cool with sacrificing her to the big bad monster. It made no sense.

Oh, and the ending? All this time, you mean to tell me that no one in Kit's family tried to break the curse? Every Starling woman was cool with sacrificing themselves and their daughters to a creepy rapey demon monster? Okay.

Also, Kit's second love interest. I'm all down for falling in love with ghosts, but that honestly came out of nowhere and I felt like it was there to show that yes, Kit is bi.

At least the writing was easy to read, so that's a plus.

Thank you to Delacorte Press and NetGalley for this arc.
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~~Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Children's for the ARC!~~

The pacing was really off with this one. The mystery took really long to solve, but when it was revealed, the pacing ramped up and rushed to the end. It's a shame, too, because the twist was interesting but not enough to make up for the snails-pace of the first half of the book.
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#Netgalleyarc This book was kinda creepy, but not in a weird or bad way, and was one that had me hooked and wanting to get to the end. I don’t really know what to compare it to but I really enjoyed it, it was a little twisted but again not in a bad way. It was suspenseful and from beginning to end. A good summer read.
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First I'd like to thank Netgalley and Random House Children's/Delacorte Press for the ARC copy of this book.  This in no way alters my opinions. 

I found the pacing of this book to be a little off.  The beginning is strong only to slow towards the middle, but then at the end is too fast.  

I was left wanting to know more.  I wish we got to see more of the magic and mystery, and how everything truly came to be.  

Overall I enjoyed the book and would love to see Amanda write a second part to the story.
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I was instantly captivated by the atmosphere in the story. This is a story of grief, legacy, and family. I felt like the plot was fun of smoke and mirrors, even with the romance. But the end is majestic and the MC is not passive, she fights to save herself while honoring those who came before her. I loved it!
Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to access this story in exchange for an honest review.
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4.5 stars. Starlings follows a teen girl, Kit, who discovers a sinister side to her family when she visits her recently deceased father’s picture-perfect hometown. This honestly exceeded all my expectations. Linsmeier nails the atmosphere, Rosemont is so seemingly perfect it‘s eerie, and as the story progresses and more is revealed it feels like going on an old school Disneyland ride but the ride becomes absolutely deranged. This was such a dark, compelling read I literally had goosebumps long after I was finished.

*Special thanks to NetGalley and Random House, Delacorte Press for this e-arc.*
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Note: In accordance with FTC guidelines, please note in reviews that your ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I enjoyed Starlings. I found the concept intriguing and the world building was fascinating. Another reviewer compared it “Stars Hollow but things that go bump in the night” and I couldn’t agree more. The characters were realistic and inviting and I could picture the town of Rosemont as I read. The main character was angsty but ultimately likable as she attempted to process through her trauma and unlock the horrific secrets to her newfound family history. 

However, the pacing was off. At times the story moved very slowly and at other points, it felt rushed. I wanted to know more about the monsters in the woods and the Starling women. I think this might have been better as trilogy of sorts.

Overall, this is a solid dark YA fantasy read with elements of horror and magic to entice a reader to root for our young heroine yet still wish we could love in a town like Rosemont (minus the dark secret parts).
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Starlings is a creepy YA fantasy about a girl named Kit who discovers that her father, who recently died, lied about his family. Instead of being dead as he claimed, Kit’s paternal grandmother is living in a small idyllic town called Rosemont. Kit and her mother go to visit her, and then things start to go horribly wrong. It’s up to Kit to solve the mystery of this creepy town and save her mother - and herself.

I loved the premise of this book! YA Fantasy is my favorite genre to read, and I was really excited to explore this world. I did really enjoy the characters and the mystery. However, there were a few big issues that stuck out to me. The pacing in particular was frustrating - the first half of the book crept by so slowly, and then the last 20% flew by and wrapped up too quickly. I really think that if the first part of the book had sped up and the last part slowed down, the book would have been more enjoyable. 

I wasn’t a big fan of the insta-love (I never am), and when it happens twice in one book, it was just doubly annoying. I usually think villains are hot, but a villain who has been with your great grandmother? Not hot. Still, the story and characters were totally intriguing and creepy, and I read this book in less than 24 hours because I didn’t want to put it down. I liked it but just didn’t love this one! Still, I will keep an eye on this author and will read her books in the future!

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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I went into this book completely blind, and I am so thankful that I did! Following the death of her father, Kit learns that he lied about having no family and discovers her grandmother Agatha Starling. To connect with her grandmother and learn more about her father’s hometown, Kit visits Rosemont, a town where roses bloom year and where the Starling women are revered. However, things are not what they seem in Rosemont, and the more Kit digs for answers, the more dangerous situations she finds herself in.

This book was captivating from the very beginning, the mystery surrounding the Starling women and how the author was slowly giving the audience clues in each chapter about the truth. The plot twists kept me on my toes, and overall this was a great fast-paced YA horror/urban-fantasy read!

Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Children’s/Delacorte Press for providing me with this arc to read!
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This was so twisted! I loved the whole vibe of this story.  The small town and the peculiar little oddities that kept popping up were perfection for this horror.  

The MC rolls into town with her mom after recently losing her father and finding out she has a grandmother.   Turns out there is a lot more to this situation than a simple family reunion.  

I liked the MC, and this town really just crept up on me. I could feel all the strangeness like I was there, and there are some parts of this that are truly chilling. 

Out June 27, 2023! 

Thank you, Netgalley and Publisher, for this Arc!
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- thank you to netgalley and the publisher for an arc to review! 

- a stunning, horrifying story about legacy, secrets, and what it means to face what you don’t know. the characters and story were alive on the pages, with descriptions so detailed it made me immersed in the setting, like i was walking the streets and witnessing the fantastical horror of the starling legacy. would recommend to those who love house of hollow and small favors, which are both delectable stories that explore horror and legacy.
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When I saw this book was comped to House of Hollow I knew I had to read it ASAP because I love that book so much, but it's also one that's so hard to describe and seems so much like it's just off in it's own little niche with nothing else like it. I do believe this is a good comp. The atmosphere is similar, but along with that the writing reminds me of it as well. Now, I know there were some people who didn't care for House of Hollow because of the writing, and if that was the case I don't think this is going to be the book for you either, but if you DID like the writing of HoH this book should be right up your alley. It has beautiful, lyrical writing, with an intriguing premise that exudes that sense of wrongness that's so often found in novels with small towns. I think the only reason I didn't love this book more is that the main character jumps around from love-interest to love-interest. It's not really a long book, but she manages to end up falling for two separate people across the span of the novel, and despite the fact that the timeline of the story is only about a week she's also dealing with a lot of other things that really seem like they should take precedence over kissing. Don't get me wrong, I love kissing, but seeing as the main character is supposed to be 17 she seems younger than that whenever it comes to the romantic subplot. I couldn't help but roll my eyes whenever those elements came up, because I found them rather ridiculous. That being said I did still enjoy this book as a whole, and will be more than happy to hand-sell it to anyone I think might be even remotely interested. I'll also be keeping an eye on what Linsmeier comes up with next, and I'll almost certainly check it out because I have a feeling she'll be one to watch.
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Starlings is a YA fantasy book with its fair share of horror mixed in. When Kit’s father passes away, she goes on a trip with her mother to visit her paternal grandmother in Rosemont. While in Rosemont, Kit learns all about the history of the town and the integral part that her family has played in this history. 

I was first drawn in by this cover, and I know better than to judge a book by its cover, but this one got me. This was a well written book and a good story, but it just wasn’t for me. I have the tendency, that even if the description doesn’t sound like my cup of tea but the cover is amazing, I get drawn in. That happened with this book. I was setting myself up for failure since I am not a huge horror fan and this book had its fair share of monsters going thump in the dark. I also found the beginning to be a little slow, but the ending  pulled me in. So, overall this was a well written, creative story, but not my cup of tea. If this is your type of genre, I think you would enjoy this!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book!
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I've got to say, this story completely sucked me in for the entire creepy thrill ride. The book is so well written and encapsulated by this sinister energy that had me on edge for what was going to happen next. The setting is contemporary modern day, but Kit finds herself in this strange town that seems to be hiding a secret...a secret that's sort of magical, sort of paranormal, and definitely horrifying. Not necessarily jump-scare scary, but many a moment that felt like the scene of a nightmare come to life. I definitely wasn't expecting this book to take the turn that it did, but the underlying mystery and wondering what would happen to Kit definitely kept me hooked. And while I think it took Kit a little too long to realize something was amiss, she's a strong, fierce, fun character and I really liked her as a protagonist. She balances strength and vulnerability, fighting for what matters to her even while dealing with grief and heartache. I really enjoyed the story, and it's a nice shake-up from the recent string of romances I've been reading.
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After the loss of her father, Kit is desperate to connect with the grandmother she never knew she had. The one her father always said was dead. So Kit and her mom visit Grandma Agatha in the small town of Rosemont. The town has that beautiful small town feel. Local flora and festivals. Cute boys that help carry your bags and are not at all obviously evil from the start. Moms that suddenly disappear out of nowhere.

The idea is interesting, but it’s all a bit one-dimensional. Starlings is trying to be Chilling Adventures of Sabrina but doesn’t quite get there.
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This was a great read. Suspenseful and kept me on the edge of my seat. Read in one sitting -- had to know what happened! I do wish the reveals had been slightly harder to see coming... some things were pretty obvious. Still, a great read.
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Starlings takes off slowly, creeping to the captivating part of the story. And, although it did start at a snail’s pace, it didn’t take long to pick up and capture my attention (around 15%). Starlings is a deliciously dark fantasy. I couldn’t help but devour the story. The more you read from Kit’s perspective the more you find that things are off-kilter, adding to the intrigue of Starlings.

Kit is determined, and smart even in the moments that appear to be the darkest. Often times she would see no hope. She often doubted herself (like any normal person) but pushed through just the same.

Kit has great character development. Going through her share of heartbreak, and betrayals with the addition of twists and turns that are foreshadowed so beautifully that when they are revealed there is such an aha moment! When Kit’s mother suddenly disappears under strange circumstances and her grandmother seems more preoccupied with an upcoming Crowning Day festival, Kit has the forethought to know something is not right. She is forced to rely on herself and her few Rosemont friends to figure out what is really going on and what exactly is keeping Rosemont seeming so outwardly perfect.

The story is plot-driven. Often times through the storyline the prose is overly pushed past logical extension. And, with the addition of the supporting characters lack significant depth. The story could be pushed a little past the page count, giving room to breathe and develop further. I would have loved to see more of Sabelle and Bear. Having the characters grow a little more and have more substance.

With all that the exquisitely laid plot is chilling, advancing swiftly toward a conclusion that will leave readers creeped out (in the best way possible) and thoroughly content.

The setting of the story was the perfect addition to this gothic tale. Giving a cross between Addams family and Stars Hollow from the Gilmore Girls with a splash of Stepford Wives. And as a person who loves both, I couldn’t love the story more.

You should also note that if you are looking for something with diversity this may not hit all of your markers. All of the characters are White. In addition, Kit is bisexual, falling for both the male supporting character and one of the female supporting characters. There is also some diversity in sexual orientation among supporting characters. This also isn’t a romance-heavy storyline. Although the main focus of the plot as it develops is binding yourself (in a martial way) to a monster.

Overall, I’m trying so hard not to say too much. I think that the best way to go into Starlings is eyes shut. Not knowing too much about it. This is the way that I entered reading Starlings. I think if I would have know more about this book than I did, I think that it would have scewed my view to be more negative.

And, if the cover of this book doesn’t entice you, let me just recommend that you give it a chance because it truly deserves it. Starlings is a 4.5-star read and a story that I could see myself picking up again around Spooky Season.
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Haunting in almost a whimsical way, Starlings whisks you away to a small town filled with secrets that are purposely trapped within its chilling confines.

With our MC, Kit, I really enjoyed her right away. She encapsulates a strong yet witty teen perfectly. and I think Amanda did an excellent job with her sexuality as well. On the other side with our side characters that we meet, I also found myself enjoying each of their roles too. You never quite know who to trust throughout the story and I liked that about it.

Discovering the twisted secrets of Rosemont with her was thrilling to say the least. Rosemont was very interestingly crafted. I felt like it was something out of the old south, yet cold and calculating. It’s funny how everyone in town knows its secrets, yet stays tight-lipped about the terrors of it. Starlings is also haunting in a way where you just keep spiraling on theories. It’s almost like a horror movie where strange things keep happening yet we’re still waiting for the why. When we finally hit “it”, I will say I still found myself asking some questions as to why things were symbols or why certain events happened… but maybe that was part of the mystery of the story crafted? I think I personally just wanted more details in some parts.

Overall though, a thrilling and gorgeously crafted YA thriller. One that you will absolutely want to pick up when it’s released!
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I really enjoyed the story of “Starlings”. The author did a great job of creating an atmosphere that steadily became creepier over time before reaching an exciting climax. I felt the isolation and frustration of the main character. There were some great twists along the way, and a subtle nod to dealing with grief. The pacing slowed a little bit at the start of the 2nd half, but it picked back up in the final chapters.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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