How It Feels To Fly

368p. ebook available. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Jun. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062387349.
Gr 7 Up—Summer camp gets a whole new spin in this tale about the denizens of a performance camp. Samantha's physical development threatens to destroy her love of and future in ballet. She considers herself fat, and food is her enemy. Holmes uses flashbacks to give background information on Samantha's family's dynamics, and the protagonist's overbearing mother is at the root of her problems. Constant negative self-talk becomes less present as Sam learns to make her own choices at the camp for artists with anxiety issues. The well-developed characters attending the session are talented and highly skilled in their areas of performance. Some of the other campers include a celebrated football player, an ice-skating champion, and a tennis star. The internal challenges they face are varied and universal. Readers will recognize their speed bumps and find a character to identify with. Realistic dialogue and descriptions make it possible for teens to become flies on the wall as the fast-paced plot unfolds. The protagonists grow through their struggles individually and eventually learn to support one another. The author adeptly shows even the camp counselors as works in progress. A gentle, misunderstood romance between Sam and one of her counselors develops only as far as a forbidden kiss. Throughout the camp experiences, Holmes plants themes of self-worth, empathy, and persistence.
VERDICT An empowering story for middle and high school readers searching for acceptance from themselves as well as others. A great choice for summer reading.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing