How It Feels To Float by Helena Fox (May)
Overview: Biz has a lot of sadness in her life. Her father died when she was age 7, her group of friends abandon her, and her best friend gets sent four hours away to live with her father. The world is too much, and Biz can't just float anymore. Exploring Biz's racing thoughts and grief, the book chronicles her discovering what it means to be honestly okay. Overall: 4
Characters: 4 The characters do come vividly alive but in a sort of passive way. Biz seems almost removed from herself, like she's telling the story about her life instead of speaking as they happen. Because of this, it's like seeing Biz through a foggy window and everyone else through a kaleidoscope.
I do love how supportive her mother is, her relationship with her younger twin siblings, and the mentorship and friendship she finds from an elderly lady in her photography class.
She also has an interesting relationship with her father who comes to her in hallucinations periodically. She learns about her parent's past and the mental illness that plagued her father.
Plot: 4 There's not much of a plot to this book. Of course, things happen, but it's strung over such a long period of time that it feels like events happen here and there instead of in a continuous stream of challenges faced by the character. If you like internal, reflective stories, this book might be for you. The grief, anxiety, and emphasis on death is intense. I rarely put a book down because it is too much, but I paused multiple times reading this one. It requires a certain headspace going into.
Writing: 4 The style of this book is much more adult literary than YA. It is poetic, drawn out. It's not as close and personal as YA tends to be. It's saturated in flowing words, deep moments and little plot or action. While I like interesting prose and thought provoking pieces, the story stalled out in tiny moments for far too long for my taste. Honestly, even for fans of mental health focused stories, I can't see YA fans sticking with this for nearly 400 pages. After about 200 pages, I honestly felt like I was trudging through mud. The novelty of the more poetic style started to lose its luster for me.
I did like seeing a book set in Australia. That's a first for me, and I loved getting to explore a new place through the character's eyes. More YA in Australia please!
Links of Interest:
Into YA with Don Zolidis: Here
Guest Post with Kristy Fairlamb: Here
Heroine: Review Here
Beyond High School YA: Here