I know I’ve only blogged once this week, but I’ve been so flipping busy at work I haven’t had time. Plus, not having broadband at home yet means I can’t schedule posts in my downtime without much effort, so it just hasn’t happened.
In any case, today’s post is about a collaborative novel that I’ve been looking forward to since YALC last year – Floored is a One Day-style novel written from six (and a bit) different perspectives, and follows six teenagers over six years after a seventh person brought them together, in a lift, one fateful day.
The Breakfast Club meets One Day in Floored, a unique collaborative novel by seven bestselling and award-winning YA authors: Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood.
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 really wanted to love this book. The sampler which I read at YALC last year was very enjoyable, with six different characters, each with their own distinct issues, and voices. The fact that they were all written by different authors might bother some readers, as they try to figure out who wrote whom, but I didn’t even bother try, and just settled in for the ride.
There was a whole lot going on in this book. Six characters in six years go through a lot, and as the reader only sees them on this one day each year, it’s all kind of crammed in. As with any book which relies on a gimmick like a repeated anniversary, to a certain extent belief has to be suspended to allow the book to progress, but I was fine with that.
My main issue, however, was that there was too much breadth and not enough depth to Floored. Six characters was too many, which meant I didn’t really feel for any of them properly. By the time I was getting back into the head of one character, we were tripping along to the next, and when I thought I had gotten hold of at least three people, it was suddenly the next year and all was changing. There was also a distinct lack of conclusion to one character’s story, which was disappointing.
I really did want to love this. I’m a fan of several of the authors who collaborated on this, and was terribly excited when I saw it in Eason in Liffey Valley four days before release day (which is today, incidentally, July 12th). But even though there were seven stellar authors working together, what resulted was, in my opinion, less than stellar.
What I really thought was lovely was that each chapter was headed by a graphic of the character’s feet. It helped to keep track of who was who, and it also showed the development of characters, as their shoes changed and they gained little nods to their growth. Disappointingly, some characters didn’t change at all over the six years, and a couple of the artworks were wrong. Sasha in year five didn’t match the joint artwork, and I don’t think Joe ever changed.
Plus there were some formatting issues – the aforementioned chapter heading artworks, and Melinda Salisbury’s name was spelt wrong in her acknowledgements (or her author bio? I can’t recall). I guess these things slip into every book, but the artwork one I found very surprising, because I would have thought it was quite a big thing.
Seven great authors collaborated here to produce something which is quite enjoyable, but won’t be jumping onto my favourites shelf.