Biz knows how to float. She has her people, her posse, her mom and the twins. She has Grace. And she has her dad, who tells her about the little kid she was, who loves her so hard, 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 six. And Biz knows how to float, right there on the surface—normal okay regular fine.
But after what happens on the beach—first in the ocean, and then in the sand–the tethers that hold Biz steady come undone. Dad disappears, and with him, all comfort. It might be easier, better, sweeter to float all the way away? Or maybe stay a little longer, find her father, bring him back to her. Or maybe—maybe maybe maybe—there’s a third way Biz just can’t see yet.
Thoughts and Themes: I had this one on my shelves for a while without really knowing what it was about. It was available at my library on audiobook though so I decided why not give it a chance. From the minute I started listening to it, the narrator drew me in and I loved the characters. I was able to instantly relate to Biz even before the event that changes her happens.
There is so much in this book that I really enjoy as it covers so many topics. I liked the way this book deals with grief and different forms of grief as Biz lost her father but at some point she loses pieces of herself and who she used to be. I also liked how this book handled mental health and how that not only affects the person who is dealing with it but also those around them. I also really liked that we got to see what Bix thinks of the words that everyone is saying in an attempt to “fix her.”
I like the way we get to see Biz’s inner thoughts take over to convince her of negative things. I thought that was very realistic for mental illnesses and it reminded me of how hard it can be to tell the anxiety and depression that they are wrong. I thought that it was good that we also got to see some of the time in which Biz is in-patient treatment. I liked how it seemed that she is confused and things are happening around her but she doesn’t know why or how.
Characters: In this book you get to meet several characters through their interactions with our main character, Biz. I liked seeing all of Biz’s interactions with the different people in her life. I liked seeing how each of them react to her being depressed differently, most of the people in her life don’t know how to respond and then others are just there for her.
I liked getting to see her relationship with her mom and how that shifts throughout the course of the book. I liked getting to see how they both are trying to help each other without knowing what the other person needs. I also like how we get to see how their emotions are affecting each other.
I also liked getting to see Biz’s relationship with Jasper and how that develops through the course of the book.
I also really enjoy getting to read about Biz’s relationship with her dad which is a ghost. I like how she relies on him a lot and doesn’t really know how to live without his presence there. I like how he seems to disappear when it seems that she doesn’t need him but she takes it differently.
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.