How it Feels to Fly by Katheryn Holmes

Recommended by:  On a Goodreads email of newly released books

Published by: Harper Teen on June 14th, 2016

Summary by Goodreads:

23603597The 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?

My Thoughts:

Anxiety disorders are becoming more and more common among high school students and as a teacher I feel so uneducated on how to provide support for those struggling.  How it Feels to Fly gave me a glimpse into the lives of seven teenagers with anxiety issues who chose to attend a treatment camp with hopes of getting better.  Throughout the camp the teens are given different tasks to complete and strategies to practice.  I realize that the solutions might not be as simple as provided in the story, but I can see my students connecting with the characters in this one.


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