Thursday, April 29, 2021

Review: Float Plan by Trish Doller (ARC)

Book Cover: Float Plan by Trish Doller
Float Plan by Trish Doller
St. Martin's Griffin, 272 pages
US Release Date: March 2, 2021
Format/Source: eARC, via NetGalley - thank you!
Trigger Warnings (TWs): suicide, grief

Critically acclaimed author Trish Doller's unforgettable and romantic adult debut about setting sail, starting over, and finding yourself...

Since the loss of her fiancĂ©, Anna has been shipwrecked by grief—until a reminder goes off about a trip they were supposed to take together. Impulsively, Anna goes to sea in their sailboat, intending to complete the voyage alone.

But after a treacherous night’s sail, she realizes she can’t do it by herself and hires Keane, a professional sailor, to help. Much like Anna, Keane is struggling with a very different future than the one he had planned. As romance rises with the tide, they discover that it’s never too late to chart a new course.

In Trish Doller’s unforgettable Float Plan, starting over doesn't mean letting go of your past, it means making room for your future.
----------------------Goodreads Summary

Notable Quote
One of the things I've learned is that suicide doesn't break a person's heart just once.

I think Trish Dollar is a master in the exploration of grief. And not just the act of getting through it and making it to the other side – but actually confronting it, in all its messy, gritty, sorrowful, triumphant and bitter ways.

If you’re new here, you should know that I absolutely adore Trish Doller. Ever since I read her first novel, Something Like Normal (read the review here, but trigger warning: grief, military life, and loss, since that’s why it connected to me so much), she has found a steadfast, loyal reader in me, and every book I read of hers just strengthens that support. Full disclosure: I have another very personal connection to the premise of this book; and though I’m not willing to discuss it like I do in the other review, just know that I understand the utter loss, confusion, and loneliness of being left behind.

At first glance, Float Plan looks like a fun, adventurous rom-com (just look at that bright, energetic cover!)—and don’t get me wrong, it is all that. But even just reading the synopsis, that the whole storyline happens as fallout when her fiancĂ© dies by suicide…you know that it’s going to become so much more. It is great fun in some parts, and I have never wanted to go sailing so badly in my life (or adopt a dog - I loved Queenie!); and Keane is just such an effervescent character, whose heart and charm leap off the pages. But there’s also real moments of darkness and uncertainty and such deep, bone-weary sadness. It’s honestly such a pleasure and joy to read Anna and get to know her, through all the good and bad. She felt so real, and so relatable at so many points, that to this day I feel like I could take out my phone and text her if I wanted to. Even Keane, who is like literal laughter and sunshine, develops into this bold, multi-layered character over time as you learn more and more about his shadows, too.

I don’t want to make it sound like this book is a downer saved only by the man (men – I’ll include Keane’s brother too, who just deserves his own series of spinoffs!) – because as great as they are, it’s really Anna who shines as she struggles her way through finding a new version of herself after loss. She’s so multi-faceted, and brave, and scared, and just the perfect mix of back-and-forths so you can see that these things can coexist in one person.

I also have to mention the setting of the book – or settings, really, since Anna sails to so many different locations. You can tell that sailing and these locations are so familiar to the author, because how she describes all the different islands and people is just so…loved. Taken care of. It’s so evident how well she knows these places and characters she meets on each island, and I felt instantly transported to anywhere Anna docked. I know next to nothing about sailing (actually, amendment – I know NOTHING), but never once did I feel like I didn’t understand what was going on. Trish described it so well and defined terms in the perfect way to not make me feel dumb or take me out of the story to a classroom. It was such a delight to learn and travel this way.

Normally I try to round out a review by talking about a part that didn’t work for me, or that someone might not like…but honestly, I just can’t think of anything. Even as I write this review, a couple months after reading the book, I can’t think of a single element that I didn’t love, felt didn’t work, or could have been written/described/done better. All these characters are so special, I felt transported by the whole book, and truly, how raw and real all the ups and downs of Anna’s journey will live within me for awhile. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

Recommendation: Put This At the Top of Your TBR!