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How It Feels to Float

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  71 ratings  ·  43 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected publication: May 7th 2019 by Dial Books
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  • How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox
    How It Feels to Float
    Release date: May 07, 2019
    Enter for a chance to win an advance reading copy of HOW IT FEELS TO FLOAT by Helena Fox Dugan!

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    Biz knows how to float. She has her

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    Availability: 10 copies available, 2107 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Apr 07 - May 06, 2019

    Countries available: U.S.

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    Community Reviews

    Showing 1-30
    4.37  · 
    Rating details
     ·  71 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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    chloe ✨
    Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
    4.5 stars!

    “Life is terrible and beautiful, isn’t it? It’s the best/worst at the exact same time, all possibilities at once.”

    I absolutely adored this book and read it at the perfect time for me. This is a powerful YA contemporary that deals with mental illness, sexuality, grief, family, friendship and more.

    There is so much to love about this book:
    1. The mental illness rep. This is one of the most authentic portrayals of mental illness I have ever read (this is own voices for the mental illness re
    C.G. Drews
    I loved the style of this, how it was all a breath and a wish of poetry, and the slow unravelling of someone losing themselves to mental illness...It's also #ownvoices I believe. It's gut-wrenching and yet threaded with hope.

    (full review to come!)
    Hannah Greendale
    Fox's poetic writing is impressive and effectively renders the wry first-person voice of Biz, a teenager struggling with mental illness, questioning her sexuality, and grappling with the death of a beloved family member. A touching story of grief and an unflinching portrayal of inter-generational mental illness. At times, How It Feels to Float is a slow burn with little momentum, but Fox's dazzling linguistic style keeps the pages turning.
    We stare into the fire. It makes shapes for us to see.

    Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)

    “I don’t mind not knowing the universe is filled with incomprehensible things. We exist inside a multitude of singularities. I accepted this a long time ago.”
    I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that How It Feels to Float is one of the most stunning debuts I’ve read recently. There’s such a calming rhythm to the writing that pulls you into Biz’s chaotic thoughts. It’s quite the perfect pairing. The writing is lyrical, poetic, and about as close as you can get to a novel told in verse,
    Latanya (CraftyScribbles)
    Beautiful in its haunting glare, Helena Fox presents a story about ghosts and mental illness, and how they both chase those inflicted with their presence.


    1. Lovely writing . Fox does not write the average YA fiction here. She uses descriptive prose and free verse split into various formats to make its point of a young girl falling into madness over life, including losing her father (view spoiler). We see how her mind works via lucid and vivid language.

    2. LGB
    Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Wow! What a book!

    I feel like I've been from the moon and back after reading this. So powerful. So emotionally intense. I need a nap. lol

    Big thanks to the publisher and Bookish First for providing me with an advanced review copy.

    TW: depression, PTSD, suicidal thoughts and disassociation.
    However, this book dealt with the mental health aspect so beautifully and with such grace, I do think it was dealt with with the utmost care and grace. The author explored these mental health issues in such a mov
    Elvina Zafril
    Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
    How It Feels to Float is a heartbreaking story about love, grief, mental illness, LGBTQ, family and friendship.

    Biz is a young girl who is struggling with who she is. She has a lot in mind. She doesn’t know who she’s attracted to. Losing her father caused her a trauma. And that causes her mental illness issues. I just felt so bad for Biz. I understand the mental illness and how hard it is. I just can’t imagine how someone with mental illness cope with this issue. I can’t imagine how helpless the
    Kathy - Books & Munches
    Jan 18, 2019 marked it as to-read
    Shelves: releases-2019
    LGBT+, mental health and there seems to be a hint towards some kind of abuse in the summary? I think? As if the first two weren't plenty of reason for me to want to pick this up already!
    julianna ➹
    did i request this from bookishfirst bc:
    - the cover vaguely reminds me of the cover of sadie
    - the protagonist seems bi
    - this is about intergenerational trauma, which is fascinating even tho i kind of suck w/ hard-hitting contemporaries

    the answer will shock u!

    (anyways, thank you to the pub for sending me this via bookishfirst)
    Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: bookish-first
    This novel was extremely powerful! Biz is a likeable character. She is a teenager living in Australia. Her father has passed and she lives with her mom and younger twin siblings. Biz is a vegan and is inseparable from her friend Grace. Biz is going through some typical teenage angst trying to figure things out when one night something happens which causes her to lose it. Biz spirals and tries to put herself back together to stop herself from floating out of her body.
    I cried several times at th
    Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Recommends it for: fans of Jandy Nelson, Nina LaCour, Adam Silvera
    I read How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox (an #ownvoices debut author!) after seeing a blurb that suggested the main character might be queer (one of the themes I seek out in children’s and YA lit). Without getting too spoiler-y: as it turns out, this book is not only about an Australian teen protagonist exploring her sexual orientation. It is also about lineages of trauma, blood and chosen family, and the small miscommunications that turn loved ones into strangers, and it is a much different-- ...more
    Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
    4 stars

    How It Feels To Float is the sort of book you’d wish you’d read sooner. It successful captures feelings that some of us can never put to words and is so raw and hopeful. It’ll definitely leave you thinking and Biz’s story is one that’s going to stay with me for a long time.

    This was definitely a heavy book about depression, death, suicide and PTSD among other things so take note.

    This was such a quiet and touching novel! The writing style was so lovely. It was kind of a slow paced, wistful,
    Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: queer
    Man, I read this over a few days and I couldn't stop thinking about it, even when I wasn't reading. It's gripping and real and just completely punched me in the heart.
    Annie Deo
    Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Cross-posted to my blog.


    This is a debut by an Australian author featuring an Australian teen in Wollongong – I don’t read as much #loveozya as I should, so I’m glad I was given a chance to read this. The book takes you on a journey through the fractured mindscape of our protagonist, Biz, as she teeters on the verge of a breakdown.

    As someone who has lived with depression for over a decade, I’m drawn to books that deal with mental health issues. What I really appreciate is that this is an #ownvo
    Mari Johnston
    Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    This review and many others can also be found at Musings of a (Book) Girl.

    How it Feels to Float is easily one of the best books I’ve ever read, and that isn’t something I say lightly. Biz’s story has ingrained itself in me so deeply and I will forever carry her with me. This is one of the most accurate portrayals of mental illness I’ve ever seen and it absolutely blew me away.

    Helena Fox’s writing is beautiful and poetic. Lacking chapters, the novel is broken into incredibly short parts that flow
    Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
    WARNING: There are triggers for panic attacks, suicide, suicidal thoughts, hospitalization and PTSD in this book.

    I am oddly amazed by this book. What a beautiful work of fiction. I'm mainly impressed by the language and the writing. It was an honest take on mental health and I was mesmerized.

    Honestly, I picked up this book because of the title and the cover. Something about it caught my eye and all I could think was, "There is something about this book and I need to figure out what that somethi
    Jenny (Bookbookowl)
    Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Thankyou to Pan Macmillan Australia for providing me with a copy of How it Feels to Float, in exchange for an honest review.

    How it Feels to Float wasn’t really like any book I’ve read before. The writing style was really different and it did take me a while to get into the swing of it, but once I did it suited the story so well. This is a book about grief and a book about mental health. It’s a book about bullying and a book about the affect all those things have on both the person experiencing t
    Jessica B
    Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    I finished another book! Another hard hitting YA contemporary, seems to be my book of choice at the moment! However this one is written by an Australian and we all know how much I love my homegrown books #loveozya I really enjoyed this book, the delicate and compassionate handling of sexuality and mental illness was something truly beautiful to read. I found The descriptions of school life and adolescents spot on. That may be because it’s set in Australia 🤔 I highly recommend, particularly for t ...more
    Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Do you see?
    How useless/stupid/hopeless you are?
    Of course the waves should take you.
    Of course.
    They should

    I was 100% prepared to dislike this book. Rereading the synopsis, I found myself wondering why I was so desperate to get my hands on yet another book about grief and loss and maybe something about water? But I took this book in my hands, and I started reading.

    Turns out, I am ready for the test. My brain fires up and the neurons make my hand move and the formulas co
    Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
    I read that this book was comparable to The Bell Jar and I knew I needed to give it a read; I was not disappointed.

    1) This book has a unique style of writing. It is often "poetic", but it is not one long poem. I do not actually read much poetry, but I did enjoy this book.
    2) The issues (e.g. mental illness, grief, friendship, sexual identity) were a part of certain character's stories, but I never felt like I was "being taught a lesson" or that any one thing fully defined any character. It
    Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    How it Feels Float is a beautiful and heartbreaking novel about love, loss, friendships, and family. Elizabeth, better known as Biz, has her best friend Grace, her mom, and her brother and sister-the twins. She also has her dad, who visits her when she needs him most, except that her dad died when she was young.
    Biz has a lot on her mind. She’s struggling with who she is, who is she attracted to, should she reach out to the new guy, what does she want to do with her life, why does she feel like
    Julie (Bookish.Intoxication)
    I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
    Firstly, thank you so much Pan Macmillan Australia for sending me a copy. I can see how this book is going to be a big hit for some readers and the writing style is incredible. However, this one fell a little flat for me.
    There was no clear climax or resolution, the story seemed to plateau from the end of Part one. I really did enjoy the writing style and the way the author worked in little Australianisms here and
    Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Mental illness, grief, bullying, LGBTQ, teenage angst, and a journey to find herself and her deceased father via photography round out this novel about Biz, a young girl who has an ultimately unidentified mental health diagnosis by the end of the novel. The writing is pure poetry, sometimes straightforward prose, just delivered as a normal novel, other times dancing across the page, like clouds of thoughts, with just a word or two per line. The trauma of losing her father causes her mental illne ...more
    Lizzy Seitz
    Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
    3.75/4 out of 5 stars

    I’m not entirely sure how to feel about this book so I’m giving an in between rating because of how in between I feel about it.

    I really like Biz (short for Elizabeth)
    I love the cover
    I love the friendship between Biz and Sylvia
    Jasper is great
    LGBT topics
    Dealing with PTSD/Dissociative Disorder in a manner that is handled beautifully
    I’m always down for a contemporary that deals with grieving
    Also love when nontraditional families are utilized and this family was great
    Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: lgbtq, giveaways
    This book was intense and beautiful. It isn’t for everyone, it’s sort of slow but engaging, and tells you things without explicitly telling you them. If you can connect to the struggles of mental illness and/or losing someone close to you, I think you will love it, you will see parts of yourself in Biz.

    My only issues are I wanted more at the end, I’m usually alright with open-ended books, but in this one I wanted a specific ending and many questions were left unanswered. Also, I wish there was
    gwendalyn _books_
    Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    How It Feels To Float
    Helena Fox
    This book was received as an ARC from BookishFirst,in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own

    Helena Fox’s debut novel, How it Feels To Float, is an incredible moving book.
    A gripping portrayal of a young girl troubled life coping with grief, loss , and inter-generational mental illness.
    This is a raw and phenomenal book, You come
    Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Thanks to Macmillan for sending me a review copy.

    How it feels to float is an #ownvoices story about grief, mental illness, family and friendship.

    It’s fairly well documented that I like a pace-y plot, but this book is slow and ABSOLUTELY STUNNING. I honestly wasn’t bored for a single second. Didn’t feel the need to skip ahead to find the action. The prose in this novel is beautiful and engaging and feels so very raw and real. Biz floats, and the reader is fully immersed in how that feels. I would
    Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Different, but Good

    I won a copy of this book from BookishFirst. I do not read a lot of books with Australia as the setting, so it took a while to get used to some of the lingo and language used. Overall, I enjoyed the book. It went at a fairly good pace with significant events happening regularly. The characters were interesting and diverse. It turns out high school and teenage relationships in Australia are fairly similar to high school in America. Poor Biz. Her journey was interesting. If you
    Megan Manzano
    Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
    The real rating for this book is about a 3.5/5.

    It's nice to see mental health rep in a YA novel especially where the prose is gorgeous. However, I didn't get lost in this book as much as I would have liked to. The narrative is meant to reflect Grace's disassociation from reality as she deals with the loss of her father and her previous friend group abandoning her, but sometimes a lot of details got muddled in the jumping around/alternating between past and present. Like the ending which was sup
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    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 Fee