To wrap up the end of the month, I decided to play book roulette. I basically went through my folder full of downloaded books and picked 3 random ones. One of the three to come up was How It Feels To Fly. While I didn’t know much about the book after downloading it so long ago, it turned out to exceed all my expectations.
This is your spoiler warning. I will be talking about spoilers from How It Feels To Fly so if you haven’t read, pick it up! Do it already for goodness sakes!
This was my first time reading a Kathryn Holmes book. Like the rest of the first-time authors I checked out, this was such a great start and I can’t wait to check out more books by her. What I loved most about Homles’ writing style was how authentic and real she made everything seem.
This book follows Samantha, a ballet dancer who struggles with anxiety, body dysmorphia, and panic attacks. While the book mentions Sam is a ballet dancer, ballet takes a backseat to Sam’s issues. She attends a camp called Perform At Your Peak which helps athletes who struggle with anxiety as well as other mental health issues.
I thought the book was going to be a run of the mill story, but it was so much more than that. The description of the book really doesn’t do it justice. Reading about Sam’s struggles especially with anxiety and body image felt so relatable to myself and my own struggles. Her struggles felt real and valid, making her a three-dimensional character.
While Sam is the main character, Holmes also brings to life a cast of colorful and troubled athletes. Their struggles aren’t the same as Sam’s, but all their issues are explored and they all seemed like real characters. My favorite had to be Katie, who was young but showed extreme character growth throughout the book.
Then there was the side plot of Sam and Andrew. That made me extremely uncomfortable because it didn’t seem like it belonged. I think it would have been better without the romance and it would have focused more on Sam learning to cope and trying to make herself better. Then again, I can see why Holmes added that as it made her breakdown all the more real.
The other issue I had was the ending. There were a few things I would have changed including Sam getting kicked out of camp. I was hoping Dr. Lancaster would understand and shockingly, she didn’t. The other thing I would change would be Sam’s mother continuing to be a huge annoyance to her daughter. It did seem like she was trying, but she continued to make Sam feel like garbage. It was so hard to read the ending of the book because her mother didn’t really change. She was still trying to live vicariously through Sam.
I’ve never seen a book cover mental health so openly and realistically. I would highly recommend this book to anyone dealing with those issues or trying to find ways to cope as the book had a lot of helpful tips. I’m pretty sure I’m going to use some of them in my everyday life now.
What I originally expected from this book was way off, but I’m happy I read it. I loved almost everything about it, especially how emotional it made me. I could rant and rave about this book all day and night so be sure to read it! It’s one of my favorites I’ve read so far this year 🙂
I give How It Feels To Fly a 4.5 out of 5 stars.