Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Description: Stand-alone YA contemporary
Publishing Information: Random House Children’s Books, 6/9/2015
First line: OMG, Mum’s gone insane.
THEY TALK ABOUT “BODY LANGUAGE,” AS IF WE ALL SPEAK IT THE SAME. BUT EVERYONE HAS THEIR OWN DIALECT. FOR ME RIGHT NOW, FOR EXAMPLE, SWIVELING MY BODY RIGHT AWAY AND STARING RIGIDLY AT THE CORNER MEANS, “I LIKE YOU.”
After dealing with a difficult situation at school, Audrey begins suffering from severe anxiety, to the point where she is no longer able to go to school, talk to strangers, or make eye contact with anyone without being filled with extreme panic. Because of this, there’s no escaping the family drama when her Daily Mail addict of a mother decides that her brother, Frank, is addicted to videogames and takes it upon herself to fix him.
Among all of this chaos, however, Audrey meets Linus: the only person who has ever made her feel normal. As they become closer and closer friends, Audrey learns to take risks and not be afraid of being afraid. The only question in the back of her mind is: Is she actually becoming “cured”?
Pros & Cons
This was my first Sophie Kinsella book and I can tell you right now that it’s definitely not going to be my last. This book was so funny, but it was effortlessly funny. Kinsella didn’t need to use cheesy one-liners and randomness to attempt to create an entertaining book, she just wrote a plot that was sure to bring humor around every corner. All of the characters in this book were bursting with life, and it’s hard for me to believe that I won’t be running into Audrey’s mom next time I’m at the grocery store.
The plot of this book was really simple, and while it deals with a mental illness it isn’t at all sad or depressing. Audrey’s therapist recommends that, because it’s hard for her to make eye contact and talk with people, she make a documentary and communicate with people through a camera. Because of this, the book also includes pieces of the documentary script which is in a really fun format but still continues the story flawlessly.
As far as favorite characters go, I absolutely loved Audrey’s mom, who was crazy and deluded in a way that was kind of Mrs. Dursley-esque. Frank was absolutely hilarious and so witty, and Linus… Linus. He was so sweet and understanding throughout the entire book (it was similar to an Eleanor and Park relationship) but it was kind of… unrealistic.
Which brings us to the cons! There are really not that many.
Minor – predictable, but minor – Spoilers! These are things that happen that aren’t outright said in the description of the book but won’t really ruin the story for you if you know, because let’s be real, we all saw that coming. However, you’ve been warned. In this book, Audrey is portrayed to be fourteen, which is about the age she seems like from the maturity shown in her narrative. Her age isn’t an issue, I love her narrative, my only problem is the relationship she has with Linus given that she’s supposed to be fourteen. Fourteen-year-olds (at least in my experience, maybe I’m just a loser) typically don’t have such romantic relationships as the one that Audrey and Linus come to have in this book: lots of kissing, large romantic gestures, cutesy dates. Don’t get me wrong – I loved their relationship, they’re definitely very ship-able, but it seemed unrealistic for their age which was a blatant reminder every time I thought about it that this is just a book. End Spoilers.
My only other issue with the book is that we never find out what the horrible event was that caused Audrey to stop returning to school and caused three other girls in her grade to be expelled. Audrey seemed pretty close to telling us what it was in the narrative multiple times, but then said that it was too painful to talk about, or whatever. I completely understand that that would be a pretty normal and acceptable answer should this have been an actual event, but considering it is just a book I would’ve liked to have heard more about the bullying and the trauma that likely went on because it probably would’ve added a lot more depth and potentially relatable-ness to the story. However, I understand that it also attempted to make the book more true to life by having Audrey want to keep some things private, as her therapists advised her.
In conclusion, this is a really, really great and hilarious read. It was quick, it was easy, and it immediately put a smile on my face. I can’t imagine any reason why anyone reading this book wouldn’t enjoy it, so I would highly recommend you check it out if you’re a fan of contemporary, Sophie Kinsella, or books in general.
Update 8/26/15: I’m changing my rating for this book, which I hate to do, but it’s been a month and I can’t stop thinking about how much I loved this book. It had its flaws but every book does and as of right now this book has been my favorite of 2015. It’s so good and I already want to reread it. 5/5 stars