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How It Feels to Fly by Kathryn Holmes

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

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?

Goodreads Summary

Sam has body issues.  She wants to dance professionally classical ballet, but her body has betrayed her.  She has curves and is developing a fuller figure than the other dancers.  She begins to identify image problems and horrible, crushing anxiety.  Her mom and dance teacher send her to a camp for athletes with anxiety issues when she is caught in the middle of a panic attack.  Sam initially has a hard time making friends (not necessarily her fault) and her counselor, Andrew, seems to be flirting with her.  Coming off of being dumped by her nine-month boyfriend, Sam thinks she was dumped because she was fat.  

Sam's character was fun to read about.  I don't fully understand that level of anxiety, but I think the author did a great job of handling it.  I liked how hard-working and dedicated Sam was to ballet and the way the book ended was ideal.  I enjoyed meeting and getting to know all of the other campers-even grouchy Zoe- and their reasons for being there.  The author has a very fluid way of writing and this book was not nearly as long as I believed it was going to be (finished in one sitting).  This book is recommended to young adult/teen readers.

4 Stars

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