Flying Tips for Flightless Birds

Flying Tips for Flightless Birds

By Author / Illustrator

Kelly McCaughrain


Romance & Relationships

Age range(s)



Walker Books Ltd




Paperback / softback




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.

"Witty and clever. This novel really does sparkle." Roddy Doyle



Flying Tips for Flightless Birds was the perfect book to read soon after seeing The Greatest Showman at the cinema. It brings the passion and commitment of life behind the 'big top' curtains to life.

The story is told by Finch, twin of Birdie, with Birdie's blog about circus life intercepting his account. The twins, and Finch in particular, go out of their way to be different from their peers, especially in what they wear, and are reluctant to befriend anyone else at their school. However, layer by layer, Finch's narrative is pealed away to reveal why he is so afraid of making new friends, and Birdie's hesitant suggestions that perhaps it was time they did. A near tragedy on the trapeze brings the twins' relationship into focus and also sets them free to discover their own identities.

This is a warm-hearted and, through the dialogue and characters, also a very funny coming-of-age story about identity, friendships and first love. The dialogue snaps along - I loved the twins' run-ins with the mean 'Bond girls' at school - and the characters such as their sharp-eyed, rebellious gran, Lou, are fully drawn and endearing.

It's good to have a central character who embraces 'difference' and a novel that explores all the muddle and confusion that being a teenager, and gay, can bring. A great read.

384 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Gwen Black.

Suggested Reading Age 11+


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