Floored is a fairly recently published novel by seven authors (so many I know): Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Melinda Salisbury, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Eleanor Wood and Lisa Williamson. It tells the story of how 6 teenagers meet in a lift one day by chance, each from different backgrounds and are there for different reasons, and recounts what happens every year for the next five.
Although there were seven co-authors, the writing flows smoothly without any feelings of disjointedness, making it feel as though it could have all been written by one. For each year in the novel there is a chapter for each character providing the story from their point of view, and at the end there comes narration, concentrating on the group as a whole but occasionally focusing on the events going on in a particular character’s life. What I like about this narration is that it sheds light on the going ons for that year so the reader can keep track of everything. This is a nice refresh from YA novels which “keep you guessing” but in reality their plot is obvious so what’s the point, so I like how this novel didn’t do that. The narration also makes interesting links between the characters, relating them in a way that you may not have initially thought about. At times they also have text conversation, which do add information to the plot, but they do come across a bit unnatural at times, and as a 16 year old myself I would definitely never text in the same way. Jokes about cat videos and the like come up and it feels a bit 2012 if I’m being honest.
A negative is that there’s a number of clichés going on, including the typical “bad/reckless boy with a soft heart underneath”, which I know is a trope we can never get enough of in YA (note: sarcasm). However the book does partially acknowledge these cliques and this matter is trumped by how diverse the characters are. The characters come from different backgrounds and home lives, topics such as sexuality and physical disability are covered too, making the novel well-rounded in that regard. Although the characters have quite “white-sounding” names, such as Joe and Kaitlyn, I don’t think race is mentioned in the book at all, leaving it open and to the reader’s imagination.
The characters in the novel are endearing, and as you read from each of their POV it allows you to connect with each one. There’s an element of character growth as well, meaning we don’t have to suffer through more dull 2D ones. There is the slight annoyance that as the story is told from each POV and only once a year you’re not entirely clued up on each and every character’s lives, but then again, that factor isn’t essentially to the plot of the novel, and since so much happens within every year I feel it to be slightly unreasonable to have thought that. We’re given a snapshot of what’s happened that year for each of them; if it were otherwise it would have been a much thicker book, and potentially a boring one at that.
A small gripe I have with Floored is that there’s no big plot twists to keep it moving. I did enjoy the book and kept reading it eagerly for that reason but I wasn’t itching to. Nevertheless, there were some minor ones throughout, and tension was built by having to wait through a different character’s POV before finding out, but there was still no great driving force pushing me to get through it.
The book isn’t literately astounding either; it reads like most YA fiction, though it does mean it’s a nice easy read that’s enjoyable nonetheless. I do feel as though the novel is built on coincidence at times, I mean, the whole starting point of it is. Do I think it likely that 6 random people in a lift would become best friends? No, not realistically, but then again, that’s kind of the grounds of the novel and a matter that’s acknowledged at several points throughout.
As with any book, I do think there should be some element of greater message, no matter how small, and with Floored I think there’s several. One of these building on my coindidence gripe of that you can find friends in the most unlikely and unforunate of scenarios. Another is that social and class barriers shouldn’t matter in friendships, they’re matters that don’t affect your personality and what really matters, and the last main one I found is that everyone’s lives develop at different paces. We all face obstacles in our lives which can impede matters, we don’t all have to go to university and some people’s paths are completely different. We can only face what’s going on right now.
The novel is left open at the end, with the last piece of narration suggesting things, but after all, it’s you’re decision what happens next. The characters are left, for the most past, content with their lives, with smaller things such as jealousy leaving the picture. It’s a sweet ending, but not a definitive one, and I like that about it.
Rating system: 1 = bad, 2 = okay/decent, 3 = good, 4 = very good, 5 = wow
My previous book review was on Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas, which you can find here.