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.
Described as The Breakfast Club meets One Day, Floored is a collaborative young adult novel by seven bestselling and award-winning authors: Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood.
Six teenagers coincidentally end up in the same lift together at a TV broadcasting building. They’re joined by an older gentleman who seems unwell when he enters into the lift. The man suffers a medical episode and dies in the lift. And so begins their connection. The seven characters bond over the sudden death of this man, and these six strangers soon become friends.
“Ivy and I have always had this policy: brutal honesty. And, until recently, I’ve never been tempted to break it. It’s just that if I tell her I’m going to the bloke from the lift’s funeral, she’s bound to want to come with me. And for whatever reason, I feel like this is something I need to do alone. More than tat, it’s something that I want to do alone.”
If these teenagers had met under different circumstances, they probably wouldn’t have been friends. For example, Hugo is a self-entitled, womanising asshole who only cares about himself. Sasha is from a working class family who is trying to help out her father. These six characters are all incredibly different, but their lives become bound together when they witness this man’s death.
The novel takes place over approximately six years, and we follow these six characters as their lives intertwine and they stay in touch. For the first couple of years, they meet up on the anniversary of the lift incident. And then as they bond, some of them become close and spend much more time together.
There’s not a huge amount of plot to this novel; it is more of a character-driven story. The novel jumps forward in time a lot, mostly following these characters on the anniversary of the man’s death. Even though we find out little things about their lives and the authors tackle issues such as Alzheimer’s, friendship, family, love and sexuality, the book moves pretty slowly. There’s drama and tension and evidence of these teenagers navigating their lives, but I wouldn’t recommend this for readers who are looking for a lot of plot.
“I want to laugh and tell him he looks worse than I do, like he’s just seen a ghost. I want to tell him not to worry about me. But none of that comes out. He looks at me, and I burst into tears. The tears I’ve been trying so hard to hold in for so long.”
Unfortunately, I found it hard to really connect with all of the characters because we don’t spend much time with them. When there are seven main characters, the focus is divided and so I got to the end of the novel and felt like I wasn’t as invested in their storylines as I could’ve been.
Floored is a surprisingly smooth read, considering there are seven novelists in there. All the characters feel so different, but when they come together I didn’t feel jolted by different voices or writing styles. The plot flows really well.
Young adult readers will love this collaboration.
Thank you to the publisher for mailing me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
A Collaborative novel by Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood
Pan Macmillan Publishers