Trying to Float

A Memoir

Trying to Float

  • 1
“Hysterically droll, touching, elegant, and wise—a coming-of-age story from someone who possibly came of age before her parents” (Patricia Marx, New Yorker writer and bestselling author), Trying to Float is a seventeen-year-old’s darkly funny, warmhearted memoir about growing up in New York City’s legendary Chelsea Hotel.

Meet the family Rips: father Michael, a lawyer turned writer with a penchant for fine tailoring; mother Sheila, a former model and renowned sculptor who matches her welding outfits with couture; and daughter Nicolaia, a precocious and wry high school student at work on a highly unusual extracurricular activity, an official record of her peculiar childhood.

Nicolaia is a perpetual outsider who has struggled to find her place in schools populated by cliquish girls and loudmouthed boys. But at the Chelsea, Nicolaia she has found her tribe. There’s her neighbor Stormé, a tall albino woman who keeps a pink handgun strapped to her ankle; her babysitter, Jade, who may or may not have a second career as an escort; her friend Artie, former proprietor of New York’s most famous nightclubs. The kids at school might never understand her, but as Nicolaia endeavors to fit in, she realizes that the Chelsea’s motley crew could hold the key to surviving the perils of her adolescence.

“Nicolaia Rips is an old-soul sophisticate. Trying to Float is like Eloise meets Wes Anderson” (Elle), and not since Holden Caulfield has there been such a fabulously compelling teen guide to New York City. Rips’s debut is “charmingly self-deprecating and very funny…at once highly insightful and deeply familiar” (W Magazine), a triumphant parable for the power of embracing difference in all its forms. Her “engaging story with a big heart…will appeal to adults and teens alike” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).
  • Scribner | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501132995 | 
  • June 2017
List Price $16.00 (price may vary by retailer)
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About the Author

Nicolaia Rips
Ursula Bowling

Nicolaia Rips

Nicolaia Rips is a freshman at Brown University (class of 2020). She has lived at the Chelsea Hotel for her entire life. In her spare time, she studies vocal music, participates in team sports, reads avidly, and tolerates her parents. Trying to Float is her first book.

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