Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review. However, this fact does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The movement is all that matters.
For as long as Samantha can remember, she’s wanted to be a professional ballerina. She’s lived for perfect pirouettes, sky-high extensions, and soaring leaps across the stage. Then her body betrayed her.
The change was gradual. Stealthy.
Failed diets. Disapproving looks. Whispers behind her back. The result: crippling anxiety about her appearance, which threatens to crush her dancing dreams entirely. On her dance teacher’s recommendation, Sam is sent to a summer treatment camp for teen artists and athletes who are struggling with mental and emotional obstacles. If she can make progress, she’ll be allowed to attend a crucial ballet intensive. But when asked to open up about her deepest insecurities, secret behaviors, and paralyzing fears to complete strangers, Sam can’t cope.
What I really need is a whole new body.
Sam forms an unlikely bond with Andrew, a former college football player who’s one of her camp counselors. As they grow closer, Andrew helps Sam see herself as he does—beautiful. But just as she starts to believe that there’s more between them than friendship, disappointing news from home sends her into a tailspin. With her future uncertain and her body against her, will Sam give in to the anxiety that imprisons her?
Even though I’ve never danced before I’m really fascinated by ballet and thus, I really wanted to read How It Feels to Fly since it revolves around a ballerina with weight issues.
Sam, our heroine, is sent to a summer treatment camp because she suffers from panic attacks and anxiety. She started having these issues when she gained weight and now Sam is struggling with her body image.
You cannot help but feel for Sam since she’s dealing with a lot – she hears this nasty voice in her head, telling her mean things all the time – that she’s fat, that she’s weak, that she’s ugly – and she believes all this stuff, so it’s really hard for Sam to accept her new curvy body or to open up to people about her problems.
And it’s no wonder that Sam is afraid of telling people about her issues, after all, her own mother urges her to lose weight and has told her indirectly that she’s fat.
The panic attacks felt very real, as well as Sam’s thoughts and her anxiety. Sam acted like a real person, and not just a fictional character. Therefore, the author did a great job developing such an authentic main protagonist.
I liked the fact that Sam made new friends at the summer treatment camp because she really needed supportive people in her life, people who understood her and listened to her.
There was a little bit of romance in this book, but I won’t talk too much about it since I don’t want to spoil you. All I can say is that I saw it coming and that I am glad things worked out for Sam in the end, even though things didn’t quite work out the way she was expecting them to.
All in all, How It Feels to Fly was an emotional read with a deep meaning, and I recommend it to everyone who likes ballet or likes books dealing with mental health.
4 out of 5 stars
Note: I would like to thank Harper Collins for sending me this great book for review!