Cover Image: Starlings


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Member Reviews

Really fun read! Well thought out characters, some magic, some mystery, and a main character that is brave but not impossibly fearless.

Just once, though, I'd love for a character to call the protagonist and immediately blurt out the information they've discovered, instead of telling them "you have to come see me so I can tell you what I've found!" Like, no, damn it, we're talking now, tell me right now! One trope that drives me up a wall, every single time!

But overall, very enjoyable and worth diving into.
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Thank you NetGalley and Delacorte Press for the ARC! Al opinions are my own. 

This was a fun spooky read! It gave me the vibes of an episode of Supernatural, which was very fun for me. The characters were interesting, the town was the perfect mix of picturesque and creepy, and the descriptions were vivid. I would recommend this book for anyone who enjoys the show Sabrina on Netflix!
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Thanks to NetGalley & Random House Children's for the early copy in exchange for an honest review.

A fun, solid thriller mystery book with a stunning cover. The author does a good job with the gothic atmosphere of the story and it was fun to try to figure out the mystery. 

I can't say this book does anything new, but it does better than most of the YA thrillers that come along.
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I have to say that whoever did the synopsis was right. This is very much for fans of House of Hollow and Small Favors which is most likely why, unfortunately this one was not for me.  This is one of those books that takes a while to get going, I felt like the first half of the book dragged so much with nothing really going on. The creepy factor was what I call scary light.  I think this one would work well for those who want a scary book but not a horror.  This in real life would be for those who would go to Micky's No So Scary Halloween vs. Halloween Horror Nights.  So if you are looking for a not so scary young ya story. Check this out.
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The book started off good, was interesting and dark mystery. As it evolved I found myself not enjoying it as much. The idea of Jack was confusing and I feel like it was so centered on her mom for so long it transitioned quickly to being second next to destroying Jack. I liked how the grandmother's character evolved over time though. Not a bad read.
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What would you do if strangers seemed to worship you? Would you be grateful for it? Feel shameful? What if it hinged entirely on a centuries old secret?

When Katherine “Kit” Starling goes to visit her long-lost grandmother after her father’s death, she is ready to get some answers about her family. But the town of Rosemont may hold more secrets —and answers— than Kit may have bargained for. Strangers look upon her with reverence, whispers follow her on the street, and her grandma is pushing her to stay for the town’s so-called “Crowning Day.” As mysteries arise and people disappear, Kit has to learn what it means to be a Starling.

Blending aspects of House of Hollow, Midsommar, and something entirely unique to Amanda Linsmeier, Starlings is a perfect read for any fan of an unsettling mystery. 

There were so many things I liked about this book: the mysterious and atmospheric setting, the incredible world-building, and a set of unpredictable twists and turns that will keep any reader reeling. Combined with an incomparably well-done cast of characters (and such a pretty cover!!), I found myself wanting to savor every minute of this book. I’m praying that this is a series so I can continue to get my fill.
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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. I also can see how the Starling women being sacrifices for the monster very much parallels those seen across history with women in similar positions. I also saw how Jack very much felt like the abusive husband with how the Starlings women kept coming back to him but being forced to fall in line otherwise he'd hurt them or the townies. I also felt the romances were incredibly instalovey. I get how Kit fell for Bear quick because he was actually Jack and he has manipulative powers over her whole bloodline. But the romance with Sabelle just came out of nowhere. Kit being bi was a nice surprise, but she barely knew Sabelle? I dunno, I think it would have been better if there wasn't any romance at all.

Overall, it was an okay read. I can see people really getting into the twist and the creepy atmosphere, but it just didn't cut it for me.
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Wow I LOVED this. 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.

ARC provided by NetGalley.
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WOW! creepy, fantastical, and incredibly atmospheric, this was such an immersive read and was the perfect dark and thrilling YA to cure my belladonna hangover (if you liked that one, pick this up!)
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Enjoyable, great pacing, exciting settings kept me hooked. Fun novel that will be the perfect to lose yourself in. Thank you Net Galley for ARC in exchange for my honest opinion
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Kathleen - "Kit" to her friends - is lost. Her father died, and her mother is taking her to visit his mother, the grandmother her father always told her had died years before, in the town where her father grew up, and his family has lived for generations. But there's something wrong in Rosemont, and it becomes more and more apparent as Kit meets more people. Kit's family is apparently beloved, and people shower gifts upon her grandmother, and upon Kit as soon as they know who she is. Generations ago, Rosemont experienced a horrible winter, one so bad that the townspeople turned to cannibalism to survive it, and only Kit's ancestor, Frances Starling, was able to save them, and bring in the supplies the town needed to survive. Today, Rosemont still reveres the Starling family for saving them in the early 1800s, or so it seems. There are cracks in their appreciation, which become increasingly apparent rapidly during Kit's visit.

This is an interesting premise for a novel, and overall I enjoyed it, but there were a few plot threads that were never explained clearly. It's still not clear how Kit's father died, or whether the method of his death is relevant to the story. The novel begins with Kit referencing an issue with friends in her home town, which is never quite explained and never quite cleared up. There are references to monsters that were, in some fashion, penned up when Frances saved Rosemont, but no explanation of what they did, or what might happen if they were released. These left a feeling of incompleteness which made the novel seem unfinished.
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Starlings by Amanda Linsmeier, 336 pages. Delacorte Press, 2023. $19. lgbtqia
Language: R (57 swears, 7 “f”); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG13
Kit (17yo) grew up believing her father was the only living member of his family. After her father’s funeral, she learned it was a lie: her grandmother was still alive. The trip to meet her grandmother in Rosemont during winter break sounded like a good idea, but, the longer Kit and her mother stay, the less likely it looks like they’ll be able to leave.
The unknown lurks in every shadow, hints of the secrets that Rosemont is built on. Linsmeier carefully layers the unexplainable with hints to the truths Kit—and the reader—seeks in this surface-perfect town that gaslights its newest visitor. Betrayal, demons, secret codes that could have been more helpful—Kit’s story has a little bit of everything.
Kit is portrayed as White on the cover. The majority of characters are White. The mature content rating is for alcohol use and innuendo. The violence rating is for discussion of cannibalism, implied suicide, scary elements, and murder.
Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen
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Starlings is a beautifully atmospheric story, filled with mystery and betrayal that will keep readers turning page after page until the very end! It's what I envisioned Stars Hollow could be if the town had a haunting secret. The characters are well written, & memorable. I would highly recommend this book to others!
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I really wasn’t sure of this book at first, but as it went on the better it got! I was a bit nervous it was going to be another “oooh a mysterious town. Im meeting family I’ve never met. Uh oh there’s a cult” but it honestly was just different enough to keep me hooked. This is probably the fastest I’ve read a book lately!

I can definitely understand how people see Midsommar in this, but I would argue that fans of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina would love this as well. 

The story takes a few different twists than I was expecting and the climax was not where I expected the reveals to be at where it was.
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Starlings was absolutely fantastical! Linsmeier wrote a story that was so well written I found myself flying through the pages, unable to put the book down, pondering what would happen next. My favorite piece of this entire story was how believable the characters were. 

The writing is clear and clean, and very immersive. The book hums along at a good clip, but the pacing makes sure we're given time to breathe between plot-intensifying moments. The story was absolutely engaging and the work that went into the settings was noticeable and superb. I felt absolutely transported and I'm so incredibly glad I was able to read an arc of this story.
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This Debut novel by Amanda Linsmeier is YA Gothic thriller with Pleasantville meets Goosebumps vibes. It was creepy but not gory. The FMC was a relatable teen visiting a too perfect town with an "off" feeling regarding the people and places. The author did a great job building the vivid setting and vibe. There were some great twists and turns. Some were surprising and unique, a few were predictable. The predictable ones didn't distract from the overall story. 

This was a definite instance of picking a book based solely on the cover. It is absolutely gorgeous and perfect for the book. In my opinion the inside was just as good as the outside with this novel. I was able to read this in one sitting and really enjoyed it. It would be great with a cup of coco and Halloween in the atmosphere.  It will send a chill up your spine, but you will still be able to sleep at night. 

Thank you to Amanda Linsmeier, Delacorte Press, and NetGalley for a digital copy of Starlings.
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I think the problem was that I did not care for the protagonist. The book takes about thirty percent for getting us warmed up to know there’s some sort of danger, and honestly, everything about her is super corny and ridiculous. She immediately calls a boy cute. She’s overly charmed by a cafe. To the weird things happening around her she acts either too accepting or just reacts oddly. Like when her mother disappears and her grandmother admits they didn’t get along, she doesn’t suspect the grandmother at all, though her parents didn’t trust the grandmother to the point of never telling her about her until her fathers death.

When something does happen, it’s just, as I said, I really didn’t care, and this is the sort of book where you had to care to have fun or anything in the second half.
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I am always down for a good YA mystery that involves some weird paranormal catch! This one worked well to keep me engaged, but the payout fell short.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Kit Starling. She has never known her grandmother or the town her father grew up in. After his death Kit and her mother find their way to Rosemont where everything isn’t as it seems.

Kit isn’t one to believe that there isn’t anything weird going on in town. She becomes obsessed with figuring out what everyone is hiding. I wouldn’t say that there is a lot of character development for her or the other characters in the book. Everything is very much plot driven which is fine since I don’t think it takes away from anything. Every character is a bit suspicious though since no one seems to tell Kit anything and when clues start appearing not even her grandmother will say anything about them. It definitely made me want to continue reading since I wanted to know what all of the secrets were.

Even though I was intrigued, there were two things that made me fall out of this book. The romance, or start of relationships, was very quick. She found herself kissing them without even really knowing them and for someone being so leery of those around her it was kind of odd she would just throw that out the window. The romances aren’t even a big part even after everything comes to an end and only one really felt significant to the overall plot.

The second thing I didn’t like was how quickly everything wraps up at the end. With all of the talk about how dangerous a certain someone was it was odd to just have the climatic part be done and over with in a matter of seconds. Kit is a strong character but I don’t know if she was that strong. I also still had so many questions left unanswered and I wish there was more to all of the paranormal stuff.

Overall, this was okay. I did like aspects of it and thought that it was engaging but I just didn’t more from other parts of the book.

Rating: 2.5 stars
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‘Starlings’ by Amanda Linsmeier was dark and nail-bitingly-creepy in the best way, and the mystery was intriguing as hell. Highly, highly recommend!
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Linsmeier has created a very unique and atmospheric story with Starlings. I was pulled into the strangeness of this world almost immediately and it has one of those paces that, once the Plot with a capital P kicks in, it doesn't let up for a second.

I love books that leave me thinking about them when I'm not actively reading them, and this is certainly one of them. I like the outsider looking in feeling that Linsmeier went with, allowing Kit to be as clueless and confused as the reader is. Finding out about the nature of things in a quinessential town like Rosemont felt satisfying. I do wish there was a little more world building around Rosemont itself, and as a sucker for the ins and outs of families with long histories such as the Starlings, I wish we got to understand their line more, but that would make this a longer/likely more adult book and this is YA. But it is YA fantasy at its finest.

One of the things I truly applaud Linsmeier for is that this book is self-contained and the story wraps up in a satisfying manner. I'm unaware of any plans for sequels or anything, but this story doesn't need it. Maybe a prequel, but Linsmeier concludes Kits story in a wonderfully written standalone, something I feel like YASFF is lacking these days.

The other thing that felt truly satisfying about this story was Kit's agency. This is a wonderful play on "the princess saves herself" type trope and its very well earned. Given the history of the Starlings and what their sacrifice entails, I felt it was very important for the story to play out the way that it did.
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