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Floored: A Novel - Review

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Where did I get it? Netgalley, so thank you very much to Pan Macmillan for allowing me it 

What's it about? There has been so much hype around this book which really made me want to read it! It is a collaborative novel written by seven of the best voices in UK Young Adult literature - Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson, and Eleanor Wood. I think I've read books by all these authors except for Lisa Williamson, so I knew I had excellent writing in store. 

What happens is that six teenagers happen to meet one day in Manchester. They are all, for some reason or another, at UKB (basically the BBC). Two are there for an internship, one is there to deliver a parcel. They all get into a lift at the same time, and at the last second a postman does too, pushing a trolley. And then, between floors, he dies, and the teens have to work out what to do next. 

We then see the six throughout the next few years as they meet up on the same day each year, and as their lives progress. It is such an interesting concept for a book!

The six teens are as follows: Dawson, who used to be on TV but who isn't "cute" anymore and isn't sure if he'll work again, Kaitlyn, who was a fan of Dawson's and who has just been diagnosed with Stargardt disease which means she will lose her sight, Velvet, who lives in a hotel in Bridlington and is trying her best to fit in, Sasha, who is working for her overbearing dad and also trying her best, Hugo, who is rich, whose dad is an MP, and who is full of himself, and finally Joe, who dreams of more than working in the local biscuit factory. Each author wrote one of the teens each, and then the 7th one wrote the narrator bits at the end of each year, which told us loads more of the action.

I loved each of the characters, I thought they were very distinct from each other and well drawn. I liked that at least three of them came from working class families; I felt like class was a big theme within the book actually. I liked the stuff around disability, both with Kaitlyn and with someone else's family member, which I won't spoiler. I liked the stuff around sexuality, which I also won't spoiler but which I felt was dealt with in a really good way.

I don't have a clue which author wrote each part. I hope we do get to find out! I thought the person writing the narrator parts had the most difficult job, but they were well written parts which sat nicely alongside the other more personal parts. I am talking about writing a collaborative novel myself with a friend, so I really liked to see how Person 1's point of view segued into Person 2's, and so on, and how that was done without a lot of repetition.

I also liked how we first saw everyone at 15/16, on work experience, and then saw them get older, saw them grow into adults. I thought the character progression was shown really well.

What age range is it for? 15+ 

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Yes, I am utterly not spoiling it though because I loved the way this unfolded. 

Are any main characters people of colour? Sasha is mixed race - I would have liked a bit more exposition here really, but I did like the descriptions of her relationship with her mother. 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Yes, as I've described above 

Is there any sex stuff? Yes, a little. It is slightly graphic. 

Are drugs mentioned or used? I think so, I think there's some mention but not much 

Is there any talk of death? Yes. The death in the lift isn't very graphic but may be upsetting, and there is some other discussion. 

Are there swear words? Yeah. 

What criticisms do I have? Almost none. There were a couple of inconsistencies but honestly I'm putting them down to trying to co-ordinate seven people and their writing! (And they may be ironed out in the final version). Some reviews have said they thought the novel was too superficial. I don't agree. I think it is simple and simply told, but I don't think it's superficial. There was lots of stuff to dig into if you wanted. 

Would I recommend the book? Very much absolutely! It's a really fun book. 

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? As I said I'd seen a lot of the hype and I wanted to see if it lived up to it. It does - it most definitely does! 

What other books is it like? I honestly don't know. It is simply told like a lot of Non Pratt's book, but it has shades of all the other writers too. It reminded me a bit of Alice Oseman, too. 

How many stars? Five out of five. Read it, read it now!

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