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“A writer to be reckoned with.” —Kathleen Glasgow, author of Girl in Pieces and You’d Be Home Now
A heartbreaking, hopeful, and timely novel about facing family secrets, healing from trauma, and falling in love, from the award-winning author of How It Feels to Float
George’s life is loud. On the water, though, with everything hushed above and below, she is steady, silent. Then her estranged dad says he needs to talk, and George’s past begins to wake up, looping around her ankles, trying to drag her under.
But there’s no time to sink. George’s best friend, Tess, is about to become, officially, a teen mom, her friend Laz is in despair about the climate crisis, her gramps would literally misplace his teeth if not for her, and her moms fill the house with fuss and chatter. Before long, heat and smoke join the noise as distant wildfires begin to burn.
George tries to stay steady. When her father tells her his news and the painful memories roar back to life, George turns to Calliope, the girl who has just cartwheeled into her world and shot it through with colors. And it’s here George would stay—quiet and safe—if she could. But then Tess has her baby, and the earth burns hotter, and the past just will not stay put.
A novel about the contours of friendship, family, forgiveness, trauma, and love, and about our hopeless, hopeful world, Helena Fox’s gorgeous follow-up to How It Feels to Float explores the stories we suppress and the stories we speak—and the healing that comes when we voice the things we’ve kept quiet for so long.
"Compelling and arresting" —Shelf Awareness (starred review) "Powerful, heart-tugging" —Books+Publishing "As deeply enjoyable as it is reflective . . . sweet and yet emotionally mature" —BCCB "Brilliant" —Utopia State of Mind "A sensitive portrayal of complex PTSD" —Booklist "Lyrical and evocative . . . Vivid" —Kirkus "Heartbreaking yet uplifting and hopeful . . . Highly recommend[ed] —EveryQueer.com
About the Author
Helena Fox lives by the ocean on Dharawal Country in Wollongong, Australia. She mentors young writers and runs writing workshops to support mental health. Helena’s debut novel, How It Feels to Float, won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award and Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Writing for Young Adults in Australia, and was a Kirkus Best Book of the Year and Chicago Public Library Best Book of the Year in the U.S. Helena received her MFA in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College. She can be found mostly on Instagram at @helenafoxoz, posting pictures of the sea and talking about kindness.
“The characters in Georgia’s life are numerous and zany and wonderfully frustrating with their passions, anxieties, and idiosyncrasies. They shape the heart of this swiftly moving story that doesn’t shy away from the disasters and pleasures, great and small, that come with living. . . As deeply enjoyable as it is reflective on childhood trauma and growing up, with sweet and yet emotionally mature romantic, platonic, and familial relationships, this book is a sure treat.” —BCCB
★ “Helena Fox explores trauma, guilt and self-advocacy in this compelling and arresting novel. . . . Vivid imagery is paired with evocative prose and lyric poems, through which George comes to understand that ‘you don’t have to look after everyone, or protect people who have hurt you.’” —Shelf Awareness (starred review) "Powerful, heart-tugging . . . Exquisitely encapsulates the complexity [of feeling, and] the breathtaking relief of seeking help and learning that the support of others makes you stronger, never weaker. . . . Perfect for fans of Kathleen Glasgow." —Books+Publishing
"Lyrical and evocative . . . Vivid . . . Laced throughout [are] engaging descriptions of Georgia’s burgeoning romance.” —Kirkus
"Heartbreaking yet uplifting and hopeful . . . with complex characters that weave their way into your heart. [Helena] Fox gives us yet another beautiful novel that we highly recommend for those who want to steep in the intricacies of life and advocating for yourself." —EveryQueer.com
"A sensitive portrayal of complex PTSD. Flashbacks and lyrical descriptions of George's art add further dimension.” —Booklist
"A story about friendship and boundaries. About the end of the world and change. If you’re looking for an introspective, character-driven story that manages to be both quiet and loud, then read this one. . . . A brilliant [story] with a rich emotional tapestry." —Utopia State of Mind