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, 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 seven. 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.
This is a mesmerizing, radiant debut, at once heart-rending, humorous, and impossible to put down. Helena Fox tells a story about love and grief and family and friendship, about inter-generational mental illness, and how living with it is both a bridge to someone loved and lost and, also, a chasm. She explores the hard, bewildering, and beautiful places loss can take us, and honors those who hold us tightly when the current wants to tug us out to sea.
Published by Dial/Penguin Random House
WINNER: Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, Young Adult Literature, 2020
WINNER: Victorian Premiers Literary Awards, Writing for Young Adults, 2020
SHORTLISTED: Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year—Older Readers, 2020
SHORTLISTED: NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature, 2020
LONGLISTED: Australian Book Industry Awards, Book of the Year for Older Children, 2020LONGLISTED: Indie Book Awards, 2020
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best of the Year
5 starred reviews
Praise for HOW IT FEELS TO FLOAT
“Profoundly moving…Will take your breath away.” – Kathleen Glasgow, author of Girl in Pieces
“This book will explode you into atoms.” – Margo Lanagan, author of Tender Morsels
“I haven’t been so dazzled by a YA in ages. . . . There isn’t a false note.” — Jandy Nelson, author of I’ll Give You the Sun (via School Library Journal)
“Mesmerizing and timely.” – Bustle
“Helena Fox’s novel delivers. It is exquisite. Read it.” – Cath Crowley, author of Words in Deep Blue
“Impossibly beautiful…This is not a book; it is a work of art.” – Kerry Kletter, author of The First Time She Drowned
Bookstores in Australia, New Zealand, USA, and Canada
and online at
available in the Netherlands as
Steeds Verder Veg
translated by Margot Resnick. published by Best Of YA