Firstly, thank you so much MacMillan Australia for sending me a review copy of this book. I was so surprised when I received it!
How It Feels To Float – Helena Fox
Published April 23rd 2019 by Pan Macmillan Australia
I have just finished part I, and although I am definitely invested in this book, I feel like nothing has happened other than re-living my highschool experience. Girls are horrible. I do not miss the whole ‘He said you slept with him, so now you are a s**t..’ or even worse, being labelled a s**t, for not sleeping with the boy. It makes no sense. Anyway, I digress, this book feels like the first part was more back story, it was letting us get to know the characters, to get into their minds. I am hoping it picks up in the next part, as I want to see the characters grow, I can already tell that this book is incredibly wrapped up in mental health and its affects on the people it hurts and the people around the individuals. I just want to see how it is incorporated into this story.
I love how this is set in Australia, in towns that I have been to and have known of my whole life. It really adds an element of familiarity to the book.
Wow, I feel for Grace, she made one silly mistake, got drunk and wanted revenge on her dick of an ex-boyfriend, who dumped her for checking in on her best friend… (again, insert eye-roll for teenage angst). Grace made a mistake that ended with her being taken to jail for a scare and then being sent away to Wagga Wagga to live with her dad. I feel for her because she chose her best friend over having a group of friends, she chose the person who supported her and was there for her, and it got her nowhere, it got her sent away and punished.
I really want to know what happened to Biz’s dad. I am guessing that it had something to do with mental health, perhaps a suicide, as she keeps saying eyes wide open, whenever she refers to him. And I guess that would explain some of her tendencies to withdraw and self-doubt and the anxiety around what is expected of her and what others are thinking.
I am at Part III now, and I am still not entirely sure what is happening, or what I am meant to be experiencing with this book. I understand we are following Biz through some hard times in her life, that we are seeing her grow and battle with her mental health. We are seeing her become stronger and honest and opening up to people, we are seeing her mum change and her twin siblings grow into teenagers. We are seeing Biz and Jasper form a solid friendship after them both assuming they hated each other. So, I know what this book is about on the surface, but underneath, I am not sure where it is going or why it is going there.
I do love the way it is written though, short chapters that you can devour quickly, page breaks when the content gets a little heavy, interesting ways to break the dialogue as well, all add to the multi-layering of this book.
I just wish something monumental would happen, so far, Bix got bullied, had a run in with the police, lost her best friend then hit rock bottom mentally and dropped out of school. I understand this happens, but it feels a little… strange? Like it was all so convenient?
As much as the storyline is something I am just not grasping, I am enjoying reading Biz’s voice. She is honest and raw, almost gritty. Her edginess really comes through the text. She is someone who we can all imagine knowing, she has traits that we all know someone with. I think it is so important to be reading books about mental health, like this one, today, when mental health is becoming less taboo and more accepted. Especially in the Youth today, helping them to recognise signs of what they are feeling and how it may be more than just a feeling of dread, a feeling of sadness for no reason, anxiety every time they go a certain way or hear a certain noise, it is all relevant. It is all something that can be helped. This is why this book is so important. It doesn’t shun psychology it embraces it. Now, if only I could work out what was happening, under the surface of this book!
I have 100 pages to go and I am struggling, I feel like the climax to this book and its ending are one and the same, because I am seriously on struggle street to keep reading… So, I am here, procrastinating instead… I understand that Biz needs to do what she is doing, to heal herself and to finally be able to move on, but it is so infuriating and cliché and I am really struggling with the concept of how someone so close to their mum can just switch and decide to cut off communication, knowing what it would do to her.. But being 17 and having all of that teenage angst pent up inside, mixed with depression and anxiety probably takes its toll on the whole decision-making part of the brain… But I digress, I shall return and churn out the last 100 pages and hope for some kind of ‘ah ha!’ moment!
What the heck is happening to Biz? Is she really misinterpreting things that are happening? Is she seeing reality in a way that Jasper isn’t? She thinks she is texting her mum, but Jasper says she called her… What is happening?
Okay, so the paragraph above, now makes sense, poor Biz was on her way to a breakdown. Which was completely unpredictable. I didn’t expect it, I did expect some kind of sadness and anxiety around going to her fathers home, but not this. This, in my opinion was pointless, a jump into metal illness that wasn’t needed? I can understand and appreciate why it was done in this way and kudos to the author, but I still feel as though nothing really happened, nothing was achieved. But maybe that is the point. Maybe it is meant to be a nothing, to show that recovery is a life long task, you have to constantly work at your mental health? I don’t know, but this book just wasn’t for me.
That being said, I really loved the writing style, I found it easy to read, full of Australian-isms that made me smile. The pacing was great too, fast for the most part and then slow though the harder to read moments.
If you have read this book, comment below, tell me what you think? Or link me to you review!
Thanks for reading.