Book Reviews

Review: How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox

TFW you see one of your favorite bloggers talking about a book and you have to read it. That’s the story of how I picked up How It Feels to Float because of Paperfury.


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.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the Bookish First. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: slut shaming, anxiety, dissociation, depression

How It Feels to Float is an introspective portrayal of mental health and grief. It’s written in a style that is unlike anything I’ve ever read. Taking place in Australia, How It Feels to Float is the story of Grace and how she processes her grief, her sexuality, and mental health. It’s one of those books where reading it feels almost like looking at an abstract piece of writing. This book emphasizes putting us into Grace’s POV so we can experience her dissociative episodes, her anxiety, and her desires.

Find How ItHow It Feels to Float is deeply emotional. It’s about the friends whose absence leaves hole in your life, new friends who just understand us, and how things begin unraveling for Grace. When people start drifting away from us, forces which pull them in different directions and we find ourselves adrift. Her life becomes almost unrecognizable to herself and she begins to make choices she doesn’t recognize. There are moments of heartbreak, empathy and rage.

It’s hard to write this review of How It Feels to Float because it almost defies explanation. There is fabulous mental health representation and this book is so deeply rooted in Grace’s life. Her struggles and her grief. It emphasizes growing, the process of grief, and choosing to see the moments around us.

Find How It Feels to Float on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound & The Book Depository.


Let’s chat more good mental health rep in YA! Can I recommend How to Make Friends with the Dark!

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