Sunday, 2 June 2019

Book Review: How It Feels To Float by Helena Fox 

Please note: Trigger warnings - potential distressing content, mental health, suicide

How It Feels To Float is a novel that I was sent recently to read and review. I didn't know much about it (but that is how I like it).  :)
I was immediately drawn in when I read the attached author letter that was sent along with the book. Helena Fox explains how a few short years ago, she lost someone close to her, and wanted to give up on everything.
Thankfully, she is still here and penned this story, drawing from her experience of that time.

Elizabeth, or Biz as she is better known, is a teenage girl who lives with her mum and her younger twin siblings.
When Biz was 7 years-old, her father passed away, and she has been grieving and dissociating since.
She misses her dad immensely, and she feels his presence around her a lot of the time, but she doesn't tell anyone, not her mum, or even her best friend Grace.
She is also trying to find her place in the world, not knowing if she is attracted to males or females. When she spontaneously kisses Grace one day, it is awkward and Biz is embarrassed and confused.
Then a new kid, Jasper, starts school and Biz finds that she wants to know more about him.

As the story unfolds, Biz struggles with managing her runaway thoughts; her mental health issues increase, and she is on the verge of a breakdown.
She experiences suicidal thoughts, and the reader discovers that Biz has never fully dealt with her father's death, and carries a lot of sadness and pain within herself. 
I really felt for her, and I could relate to some of her experiences.
As someone who has had mental health issues myself, I felt that I wasn't just reading this book, but connecting. 

There isn't a whole heap of action throughout the story, it is more of an unraveling of who Biz is, and a journey of her struggles. 
I loved all of the characters in the novel - Sylvia, (an elderly lady that Biz befriends in a photography class) is such a sweetheart, and Biz's mum is also kind, caring, and desperate to help in any way she can. 
Helena Fox has used her own experiences with mental illness and she portrays such an accurate picture of it in this novel in a sensitive and beautiful way, and that is just one of the reasons that I would gladly recommend this book.

How It Feels To Float is available now through Pan Macmillan Australia and has an RRP of $17.99

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