Monday, June 8, 2015

Review: Finding Audrey

Finding Audrey
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Published: June 9th, 2015
Hardcover, 288 pages
4 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shopaholic series comes a terrific blend of comedy, romance, and psychological recovery in a contemporary YA novel sure to inspire and entertain.

An anxiety disorder disrupted fourteen-year-old Audrey's daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother's gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she's never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

When you hear the name Sophie Kinsella, you automatically think of super-cute stories with interesting heroines and a nice happily ever after. For the the first time, Sophie has written a book for young adults and though it is quite different from her adult series, it still reads in Sophie fashion. Audrey is a great heroine for young girls. After being bullied by girls in her class, she has developed an anxiety disorder, one that makes her shy away from being around people and hiding behind a dark pair of sunglasses. She finds help in the most unexpected form, her brother's friend Linus, who doesn't treat her differently and who she finds easy to talk to. He helps her find herself again, and in turn, she helps her family deal with everything that she's put on them.

This is a light read with a hint of something deeper. It highlights what happens to someone after they are bullied and it doesn't sugar coat it, but it is written in a way that isn't too harsh for a young girl to deal with. Audrey finds it hard to leave the house and even just small interactions with people outside her family are difficult for her. I think a book like this could really ring true with young girls in a way that will hopefully help them if they feel at all like Audrey does. The family dynamic in this was great. I ind that sometimes parents are absent in YA novels, so I was glad to see Audrey's family play a big part in this one. At the beginning of the book, her mom is shown in a way that makes us think she's a little nuts and maybe overreacts to things, but I think any parent who's been going through this particular situation would act strangely and she was actually pretty funny to read about. Audrey's brother Frank was the kind of older brother most girls have. He enjoyed his video games and their relationship was great. He spent most of his time trying to protect Audrey, even from his best friend.

While the family played a big part in helping Audrey through her illness, so did Linus. The romance between these two was the cutest thing ever. Linus is super understanding of Audrey's anxiety, so he takes it slow by texting her instead of talking to her and being quiet when she didn't want any noise. It developed slowly throughout the book, but fast enough for me to be excited for the two of them. He was just what Audrey needed to get over her anxiety and he pushed her just the right amount to make her do something about it. Audrey was strong enough to succeed on her own, but I was glad to have Linus there on her side, cheering her on from the sidelines and getting her out of the house even if just for a little while.

This had the whimsical feel of all other Kinsella books with the innocence of children. It would be a good book for the younger YA crowd, as Audrey is only fourteen, but it was still fun to read as an adult, so it could certainly be recommended to just about anyone. Perfect for anyone who wants to read something with a tough subject that's written in a fun way. It will make you laugh, cry and maybe even want to pick out a new pair of sunglasses. But don't hide behind them ladies, let the world see you, hear you, and live your life.

"To put you out of your misery, here's the full diagnosis. Social Anxiety Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder and Depressive Episodes. Episodes. Like depression is a sitcom with a fun punchline."

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