Flying Tips for Flightless Birds

By Kelly McCaughrain

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

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.

Categories: Fiction

For readers aged: 12+

  • Publication details:
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781406375657
  • Published: 01 Mar 2018
  • Price: £7.99
  • Size: 198 x 129 mm
  • Pages: 384

More to explore...

  • Flying-Tips-for-Flightless-Birds

More books for age 12+

  • The-Notorious-Scarlett-and-Browne
  • Dreams-from-My-Father-Adapted-for-Young-Adults-A-Story-of-Race-and-Inheritance
  • Tales-from-the-Inner-City
  • Be-Resilient-How-to-Build-a-Strong-Teenage-Mind-for-Tough-Times

Customer reviews


'“[…] filled with fantastical yet real-feeling joy.”' The Guardian

'“Flying tips for Flightless Birds is a quirky and complex story, told with an elegant simplicity that hooks you from the first few pages. A gentle but gripping exploration of the highs and lows of being a young person, of love, friends and the relationship we have with ourselves and others.”' The Book Bag

'“Highs, lows, love and laughter - this big-hearted circus-set debut has it all. […]Alongside the tension and turmoil around Birdie’s condition, and the radiant razzle-dazzle of the circus, there’s a magnificent (if rocky-roaded) romance, and many words of wisdom come courtesy of Birdie’s blog posts […] Complex questions are put under the spotlight as the main characters try to navigate their way in the world, wondering who they are, who they should be, how they fit in, and these big issues are all explored with clarity, humour and a whole of lot of heart beneath Franconi’s exhilarating Big Top.”' LoveReading4Kids

'This novel is as good as Meg Rosoff at her finest. A fresh and honest look at teenage life, and explored issues of sexuality and identity.' Book Murmuration

'Flying Tips for Flightless Birds is unexpectedly funny, often enjoyable and, at its best, oddly moving. This is a début which juggles the sweet and the sombre, and is ideal for 11-14 readers. I’m intrigued to see what McCaughrain writes next.' The Paper Alchemist

'Incredibly charming and well-written.' Lit Lucy

'A fantastic debut with some amazing characters that became very dear to me!' Chrissi Reads

'This cheerful, life-affirming story is one to have on your shelf for bad days.' Buzzfeed

'“This book was pure magic and each new plot twist amazed me and took the story in a whole new and unexpected fabulous direction.” ' Jenna, 13, LoveReading

'“A great book about coming to terms with who you are.”' Heather, 14, LoveReading

'“Often funny, frequently moving, incredibly readable, Flying Tips for Flightless Birds is a brilliant story, exploring love, friendship and family.”' Reading Zone

'“Witty and intelligent, heartrending and revealing, it is a joy to read. Whole-heartedly recommended.” ' Fallen Star Stories

'“Big issues of acceptance, friendship, and family are all explored with clarity, humour, and lots of heart.”' Irish Examiner

'“With dialogue so raw and authentic it sends sparks off the page, don't miss it! A warm hug of a book.”' The Irish Independent

'“Kelly McCaughrain’s first book displays her skill for dialogue, at portraying school and family life realistically and gentle humour. I loved it and miss it already!”' Riveting Reads

'Fans of contemporary fiction with a focus on family and friendship (with a dash of romance) will love this story about being yourself and learning to let people into your life.' Children's Books Ireland - Mind Yourself

Write your own review

By submitting a review you grant us the right to display and use it in any way; please read our General Legal Notices for full details. If you are under 16, please obtain your parent/guardian’s permission before submitting or ask your parent/guardian to submit on your behalf.


Find your local bookshop:


  • Awards:

Also available in:


Recently viewed