Title: Finding Audrey
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 9, 2015
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 disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, when 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.
Sophie Kinsella has been a long-time favourite author of mine despite not writing YA. But then it was announced that she would be writing a YA book, and I got unbelievably excited. And I’m happy to say that Finding Audrey completely lived up to my expectations.
For the past few months, Audrey has been unable to look anyone in the eye, much less leave her house. Her anxiety disorder has completely taken over her life. Audrey wants to get better, she really does, but progress has been particularly slow no matter how hard she tries. But then Audrey meets Linus, her older brother’s best friend, and things start to change. Audrey is able to talk to Linus the way she can’t with anyone else. And the more time she spends with him, the more she starts coming out of her shell, and her recovery speeds up. As her relationship with Linus deepens, Audrey starts to realize that he is not only helping her, but also her whole family. Linus is exactly what they all need.
Back in middle school, I devoured all of Sophie Kinsella’s books. To be completely honest, they might not have been the most appropriate things for me to be reading at the time, but they were available at my school’s library (the library serviced both the middle and high school) and I enjoyed them so I read them. Since then, I’ve continued to be a fan of Sophie Kinsella’s books. So you can imagine my excitement when I heard that she was going to be writing a YA book. Needless to say, I was all over Finding Audrey from the moment I heard about it. And then my awesome friend Katie got an advance copy from work she let me borrow, and I was beyond excited to read it. When I started reading, I didn’t really know all that much about the story, I had read the synopsis but even then it didn’t really give that much away. But I started reading and quickly got drawn into the story. With Finding Audrey, Sophie Kinsella tackled anxiety and how it affects not just the person suffering from it, but also everyone around them. But it wasn’t an overly heavy story. Yes, there is a realistic depiction of living with an anxiety disorder, but it also comes with Sophie Kinsella’s trademark humour.
Audrey was the kind of character I have come to expect from reading Sophie Kinsella’s other books. She has this kind of dark humour and sees everything around her though that lens. Oftentimes she would describe everything that was happening in a very dry way. But that didn’t make the story boring. In fact, it helped Audrey’s anxiety disorder feel even more real. To an extent, there were moments Audrey’s anxiety felt like it was a character separate from Audrey. It was something she was trying as best as she could to deal with it all. And her struggle felt real and genuine. While reading, I could tell that she wanted to be able to move past it all, but she just couldn’t, no matter how hard she tried. But then Linus came in and things got interesting. Linus was adorable. I loved that he just went with Audrey’s disorder, he understood that she struggled and he did what he could to help her. Sometimes that meant pushing her outside of her comfort zone, not always with the best results, but he was there for her and let her be herself in a way that her family didn’t. And speaking of Audrey’s family, I don’t think I’ve laughed quite that much reading in the last few months. They were doing their best deal with everything, but interactions between Audrey’s mother and older brother often took a turn for the ridiculous and I couldn’t help but laugh.
I really enjoyed Finding Audrey. After years of waiting, it was great to finally be able to read a YA title by Sophie Kinsella. Now I can only hope that she writes more because I would read them in a heartbeat.