ARC Review: How It Feels to Fly by Kathryn Holmes


How It Feels to Fly by Kathryn Holmes
Genre: YA Contemporary, Mental Health
Published June 14th 2016 by HarperTeen
Format: eARC
Length: 368 pages

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?

Trigger warnings: anxiety, panic attacks

HOW IT FEELS TO FLY follows our main character, Sam, who attends a therapy camp with the goal to control her anxiety to avoid a possible panic attack before her summer ballet intensive. The plot of this novel was quite foreign to me, as I had never really read a book that dealt specifically with therapy and anxiety as closely as this book had. Thus, I really appreciated how the author dealt with these sort of issues in her book, which I personally found to be well-done.

The characters were also pretty well-written. Sam is a character I could connect with instantly, and although it was sort of hard to read this novel, I really appreciated the portrayal of Sam and her inner thoughts. There was also a nice mix of secondary characters, who, with more development, also have their own problems that they were dealing with that made them seem more relatable, which I also really liked.

Additionally, there is a romance in this book but it didn’t go as I had expected, which, in hindsight, I think, was for the best. I especially enjoyed this book because it didn’t go the usual route, in which the main character magically becomes better with the companionship of a boy. As a result, I found HOW IT FEELS TO FLY to be realistic and not far-fetched at all in regards to where the characters ended up by the end and how the book wrapped up.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was emotional yet understanding and sensitive to mental health issues, which I think makes this book a fantastic addition to young adult literature. In short, HOW IT FEELS TO FLY takes on mental health issues quite accurately and truly captures the true meaning of being human. 

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Thank you to HarperTeen for providing this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for this review.

Have you read this book yet? Are you planning to? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!


7 thoughts on “ARC Review: How It Feels to Fly by Kathryn Holmes

  1. I finished reading this one yesterday and I’m so in love with the story! I feel like my review didn’t do it justice because I just want everyone to read this book! I’m so glad to know you enjoyed it 🙂
    Genesis @ Latte Nights Reviews


  2. That sounds really sad, but it sounds like a good book too 🙂 I’ve never heard of it until now. It sounds nice that it was realistic too, and emotional 🙂


  3. I really like the sound of this book! I’ve seen a little about it, but I’ve never really known what it was actually about until now. I’ve literally just opened a Goodreads tab with the book, because I want to find out more! As someone who deals with anxiety disorders and panic attacks, I feel like I would be able to relate to Samantha, especially because you said it was done so well. I’m also really interested in the ballet aspect – I did ballet for the first 7 or 8 years of my life, so I’m really interested in it. Thank you for sharing this book with me! Lovely review ♥

    Denise | The Bibliolater


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