1.5 min

How It Feels to Float: A Powerful Coming-of-Age Novel

Debut novel by Helena Fox, exploring grief, self-acceptance, and the complexities of the human psyche. #YA #mentalhealth
An illustration with a woman straggling with depression
Written by
The Storyteller
Published on
March 2, 2023

“Life is terrible and beautiful, isn’t it? It’s the best/worst at the exact same time, all possibilities at once. I guess it’s whatever it is when you observe it. And a second later, it’s something else.”

How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox is a moving novel that explores the complexities of mental illness, sexuality, grief, family, friendship, and the challenges of growing up. 

The novel's protagonist, Biz, is a 17-year-old high school student who struggles with her mental health while navigating the challenges of adolescence. Throughout the novel, Biz grapples with issues such as self-harm, anxiety, and depression, while also trying to come to terms with her father's death and her mother's addiction.

One of the strengths of How It Feels to Float is how Helena Fox portrays Biz's mental health struggles in a realistic and nuanced way. Fox draws on her own experiences as a mental health advocate and counselor to create a character who feels authentic and relatable. Biz's struggles with anxiety and depression are not simply presented as problems to be solved, but rather as ongoing challenges that she must learn to manage over time.

Another important theme in the novel is the power of community and connection. Despite her struggles, Biz is able to find support and friendship from a variety of sources, including her best friend Grace, her aunt, and a boy named Jasper who shares her interest in art. These relationships help Biz to feel less alone and provide her with the strength and support she needs to continue on her journey toward healing.

At its core, How It Feels to Float is a novel about the power of resilience and the importance of learning to accept and love oneself, flaws and all. Helena Fox's beautiful and lyrical prose creates a vivid and immersive world that will resonate with readers of all ages. This is a novel that will leave a lasting impression on its readers, and one that we highly recommend to anyone looking for a moving and thought-provoking read.