As a teenager I was a chick lit queen, and I love love loved the Shopaholic books by Sophie Kinsella. So naturally I was excited and intrigued when I heard about her first YA novel, Finding Audrey, which came out over the summer. Because the description from goodreads is both concise and better than anything I could write, I’ll include it here: 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. The anxiety disorder, the fact that Audrey is only fourteen, and (of course) the romance with a boy named Linus only intrigued me more. Here are my thoughts after reading the book!
I haven’t read a book that focused on anxiety in this way before. I liked that we got to see how hard it was for Audrey to do things like leave her room or speak with people outside of her family. I like that things got better and then worse and then better again and then worse again, instead of being a continuous ladder up towards progress. I really liked how much of the book focused on Audrey’s relationship with her therapist, Dr. Sarah.
This serious topic felt a bit at odds with the slapstick humor constantly present within the family story. At times Audrey’s family, especially her parents, felt satirical and not like real people/characters at all. Still, I was laughing along with the jokes, so I suppose this didn’t bother me that much. There was just something that felt distinctly not-YA about this.
I also found it interesting to read a YA book on the younger end of the spectrum. Audrey is fourteen. Most of the other characters are twelve or thirteen. This changes what the friendships (and romance with Linus!) look like.
Full disclosure, I’ve now received two free copies of this book from the publisher (although as always these thoughts and opinions are my own). The first I picked up over the summer at an intern meeting held at the new Penguin Random House building where they laid out galleys of new books for us to choose from. The second was the new paperback mailed to me from the publisher this week – a very funny surprise when I opened the package that made me think I better hurry up and review this book.