Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Book Review: How it Feels to Float by Helena Fox

How it Feels to Float
Helena Fox

Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia 
Publication date:  23rd April 2019
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 384
RRP: $17.99 AUD
Format read: Paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher

 Biz knows how to float. She has her people, posse, her mum and the twins. She has Grace. And she has her dad, who tells her about the little kid she was, and who shouldn't be here but is. So Biz doesn't tell anyone anything. Not about her dark, runaway thoughts, not about kissing Grace or noticing Jasper, the new boy. And she doesn't tell anyone about her dad. Because her dad died when she was seven. And Biz knows how to float, right there on the surface - normal okay regular fine.

How it Feels to Float is a heartfelt story of teenage Biz’s life with mental illness.

The story is told in the first person through Biz’s eyes, so we get to experience exactly how she feels. Her highs and lows.

Biz is a girl who thinks deeply and feels deeply. Her father’s death when she was only 7 years old has had an enormous affect on her and she seems to connect her inability to cope in some way with her father’s death and needs to bring him to life in her mind. There is an element of magical realism as Biz talks with her father’s ghost.

I usually find it hard to connect with a character with depression because I don’t understand it. I can't understand that darkness that envelops them. But what I ascertained from the story is don’t try to understand just be there for them and give support without advice or judgement.
This is the kind of unconditional support that Biz received from Jasper (a boy from school) and his grandmother, Sylvia.

Biz goes through a few ups and many more downs but she manages, sometimes with the help of professionals, to stay afloat.

How it Feels to Float is a story both heartbreaking and uplifting filled with despair, hope and love.


My rating   5/5

Photo credit: Goodreads
 Helena Fox lives in Wollongong, Australia, where she runs creative writing workshops for young people. She’s a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina.
She has travelled widely, living in Peru, Spain, the U.K, Samoa, and the US. Of all her adventures, Helena is proudest of the work she has done helping young people find and express their voice.
How It Feels To Float is her debut novel.

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  1. I just read this too and really thought it was good. I tend to over connect with characters with trauma, mental illness and depression, I loved the way this was written. I'm glad you learned that just being there isso important to any of us going through these things.