FLOORED - a novel by 7 YA authors

FLOORED - Holly Bourne, Sara Barnard, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson, and Eleanor Wood.
Published: July 2018 - Macmillan's Children's Books.
Genres: Young adult / contemporary / drama.
Pages: 320.
Triggers/Content Advisory: Bad language / sexual innuendoes / some explicit sexual content.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
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 love the concept. But the book is strange, and in a way that's neither bad nor good.

So I don't know which author wrote which chapter or which character, but I admit the writing comes across very similar in each character's voice/chapter. I think it easily could've been from one author.  In terms of quality, the style also isn't bad - just pretty average. Basically, the writing isn't unique. It doesn't leave much of an impression.

The premise is fantastic, but the story is only sporadically entertaining. Occasionally interesting, but also bland and frequently boring. The theme (what I imagine is the theme?: that family isn't who you're born with, it's who you choose to spend time with, etc etc) often comes across very forced and cheesy. And maybe that's because we don't get to see much development of relationships, only the "end result", so to speak? We see the characters once a year, and their journey in that past year is summarised, rather than shown. We see their whatsapp chats, their heart emojis and support for each other, but maybe because we don't see the continual, steady growth of those relationships, they feel superficial? I don't know. It's hard to explain ;)

BUT. The story does improve as you keep reading. The ending is also sublime; it couldn't be more perfect. So I guess that does kind of redeem what's come before.

“Maybe disappointment does lie in the gulf between what you would do for someone and what they will do for you, but she knows then, in that moment, as she's looking out of the rain-speckled window at the black, black sky, that she needs to stop focusing on what she's willing to do for other people and start focusing on what she's willing to do for herself.”

"We've all changed loads, you know. Everything's changed loads. Maybe I do have a hero complex. Maybe that's my job, in our crew: the hero. And Velvet's our conscience. Sash is our heart. Joe is our rock. You're our bruiser. And Hugo is...Hugo is Hugo." 

There are too many points of view. It also doesn't help that the chapters are short, hardly giving you time to get in a character's head. The characters' voices aren't distinct, either (although maybe with the exception of Hugo) and no one's personality is clear and vivid from their first POV chapter, which is obviously the critical time.  By the end, I did have a clearer idea of who everyone was (I even liked one character: Sasha) and I definitely warmed up to them, but they still aren't memorable or strong. Their personalities don't leap off the page.

Floored is somewhere between average and great.  It's not unpleasant to read, but it isn't amazing, either. I think it would have been so much stronger if the characters had been more individualistic from the start.   

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