Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on June 9th 2015
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An anxiety disorder disrupts 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.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has not influenced my review in any way.
Finding Audrey is a fantastic resource on social anxiety, bullying and family dynamics. I would highly recommend it to anyone high school aged. I actually feel shocked that it’s is over; I read it in two sittings. It is fairly quick because of the style it’s written in. Much of the book is made up of film script, interspersed between small-ish chapters.
It was such a pleasure to read, and managed to draw me in emotionally from the start. I’m always comparing books as I read them, and my immediate thoughts were that this book would be like Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes and maybe EverybodySees the Ants by A. S. King. I had totally forgotten the comparison 20 percent of the way in, and looking back now, Finding Audrey really stands independent of any of those books.
I was worried this would fall into a common trap I notice in YA when it comes to mental illness. Commonly we see a romanticised version of serious problems – self-harm, suicide, abuse Thankfully Sophie Kinsella completely blew my expectations out of the water and handled it with such realness, but also such grace, that it didn’t feel clichéd or contrived. The book is so nuanced that even when Audrey is a bit over the top, it fits into the story. Audrey isn’t finding meaning through poetry and kissing boys. Sure these factors are a part of the book, but the meaning comes from Audrey getting help, and taking control.
Part of what surprised me the most is that we never actually find out what happened to Audrey, not really. We know she was bullied and particularly by one girl, but Audrey told us, ‘you don’t need to know’. I think this was just so reflective of the core of the book; the fact is it’s in the past, and it would be counterproductive to dwell on what happened.
The cast of characters is just perfect. I read Sophie’s note on how she fell in love with the whole Turner family, before I read the book. I wasn’t expecting to feel so attached to them myself, but I did in the end and it was great.