Hello humans! Yes, it is time for my review of much anticipated YA novel Floored. I feel like I have to stress this every time I review contemporary YA, but this isn’t my genre. It takes quite a bit to get me to buy a YA contemporary novel and because I’m so selective I almost always have a great read. In this case, it was entirely the fact that Melinda Salisbury had written one of the characters that made me keen to read, though it is a star-studded group of authors. Floored ended up being a lot more than I expected it to be.
The Breakfast Club meets One Day in Floored, a unique collaborative novel by seven bestselling and award-winning YA authors: Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood.
When they got in the lift, they were strangers (though didn’t that guy used to be on TV?): Sasha, who is desperately trying to deliver a parcel; Hugo, who knows he’s the best-looking guy in the lift and is eyeing up Velvet, who knows what that look means when you hear her name and it doesn’t match the way she looks, or the way she talks; Dawson, who was on TV, but isn’t as good-looking as he was a few years ago and is desperately hoping no one recognizes him; Kaitlyn, who’s losing her sight but won’t admit it, and who used to have a poster of Dawson on her bedroom wall, and Joe, who shouldn’t be here at all, but who wants to be here the most.
And one more person, who will bring them together again on the same day every year.
I had somehow managed to get it into my head that this entire book would be set in the lift, that it would be an entire book about that one day. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the lift is merely the beginning and in fact, the action takes place over quite a long period of time. These six characters grow together and apart and variations thereon through the progress of the story. I thought that the ebb and flow of those relationships felt very realistic, anyone who has made these kinds of ‘we met that one-time’ friends or even anyone who has friends from childhood that they’ve kept in touch with will know that it isn’t a binary system. You aren’t either friends or not friends, there are plenty of fuzzy places in between that shift and change as time goes on.
As far as representation goes, I think that the choice to include characters from different backgrounds, of different sizes, of different abilities, of different classes was well done. A book of this scale (essentially having to weave six stories into the space of one) was never going to completely tackle all the various intersections of these characters but nor did it feel as though things were half-arsed. I have yet to read a review from someone who is visually impaired but it did come across as a realistic representation as far as I could tell, though the fact that I can’t seem to find an audio version of the book at this point is a little concerning. I also thought that the exploration of the fluidity of sexuality was important to bring up. I liked the sense of confusion, again it felt like a very real representation of what those kinds of feelings are like.
I have one thing that would have made this book absolutely perfect, at least in my opinion, and that would have been a final check-in with these characters. I was desperate for a ‘ten years later’ epilogue or similar just to find out what had happened. I think that’s because I was left a little (read eensy weensy tiny) bit flat at the ending. True a good book should leave you wanting more, but I didn’t feel like all of the character arcs got resolutions. Perhaps that’s another way in which this book is a reflection of the reality of being young people – not everything gets solved by the end of one story.
As I have said before, it takes something particularly special for me to read a YA contemporary and Floored certainly has that something. If you’ve been hearing all the hype and are wondering whether it lives up to it – I would say that for the most part, it does. Allow yourself some time to really get your teeth into this one, you don’t want to lose track of what’s going on!
My rating: 4/5 stars
I received a digital advanced review copy of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
What say you? Which of the Floored author’s books ought I read next? Let me know in the comments below!