A ZOELLA Book Club Pick!
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.
Audrey wears dark glasses all the time, even in the house. She almost never goes out, doesn’t talk to new people, and finds making eye contact to be nearly impossible.
But then one day she meets Linus. Linus is her brother’s friend and a sensitive spirit with whom she can talk through her fears. He makes her laugh and doesn’t leave her feeling like she’s being judged. As their friendship deepens, Audrey’s recovery gains momentum, and she and Linus begin to develop feelings for each other. But how can they have a future together when Audrey hasn’t dealt with her past? And how could anyone ever love her once they’ve seen her at her worst?
“An outstanding tragicomedy that gently explores mental illness, the lasting effects of bullying, and the power of friends and loving family to help in the healing.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred
“Kinsella’s knack for humor and sensitivity shine.” Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Visit her online at sophiekinsella.com and follow Sophie Kinsella on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Date of Birth:December 12, 1969
Place of Birth:London, England
Education:B.A. in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, Oxford University, 1990; M.Mus., King's College, London, 1992
Read an Excerpt
OMG, Mum’s gone insane.
Not normal Mum-insane. Serious insane.
Normal Mum-insane: Mum says, “Let’s all do this great gluten-free diet I read about in the Daily Mail!” Mum buys three loaves of gluten-free bread. It’s so disgusting our mouths curl up. The family goes on strike and Mum hides her sandwich in the flower bed and next week we’re not gluten free anymore.
That’s normal Mum-insane. But this is serious insane.
She’s standing at her bedroom window, which overlooks Rosewood Close, where we live. No, standing sounds too normal. Mum does not look normal. She’s teetering, leaning over the edge, a wild look in her eye. And she’s holding my brother Frank’s computer. It’s balanced precariously on the window ledge. Any minute, it’ll crash down to the ground. That’s seven hundred pounds’ worth of computer.
Does she realize this? Seven hundred pounds. She’s always telling us we don’t know the value of money. She’s always saying stuff like “Do you have any idea how hard it is to earn ten pounds?” and “You wouldn’t waste that electricity if you had to pay for it.”
Well, how about earning seven hundred pounds and then deliberately smashing it on the ground?
Below us, on the front lawn, Frank is scampering about in his Big Bang Theory T-shirt, clutching his head and gibbering with panic.
“Mum.” His voice has gone all high-pitched with terror. “Mum, that’s my computer!”
“I know it’s your computer!” Mum cries hysterically. “Don’t you think I know that?”
“Mum, please, can we talk about this?”
“I’ve tried talking!” Mum lashes back. “I’ve tried cajoling, arguing, pleading, reasoning, bribing . . . I’ve tried everything! EVERYTHING, Frank!”
“But I need my computer!”
“You do not need your computer!” Mum yells, so furiously that I flinch.
“Mummy is going to throw the computer!” says Felix, running onto the grass and looking up in disbelieving joy. Felix is our little brother. He’s four. He greets most life events with disbelieving joy. A lorry in the street! Ketchup! An extra-long chip! Mum throwing a computer out of the window is just another one on the list of daily miracles.
“Yes, and then the computer will break,” says Frank fiercely. “And you won’t be able to play Star Wars ever again, ever.”
Felix’s face crumples in dismay and Mum flinches with fresh anger.
“Frank!” she yells. “Do not upset your brother!”
Now our neighbours across the close, the McDuggans, have come out to watch. Their twelve-year-old son, Ollie, actually yells, “Noooo!” when he sees what Mum’s about to do.
“Mrs. Turner!” He hurries across the street to our lawn and gazes up pleadingly, along with Frank.
Ollie sometimes plays Land of Conquerors online with Frank if Frank’s in a kind mood and doesn’t have anyone else to play with. Now Ollie looks even more freaked out than Frank.
“Please don’t break the computer, Mrs. Turner,” he says, trembling. “It has all Frank’s backed-up game commentaries on it. They’re so funny.” He turns to Frank. “They’re really funny.”
“Thanks,” mutters Frank.
“Your mum’s really like . . .” He blinks nervously. “She’s like Goddess Warrior Enhanced Level Seven.”
“I’m what?” demands Mum.
“It’s a compliment,” snaps Frank, rolling his eyes. “Which you’d know if you played. Level Eight,” he corrects Ollie.”
“Right,” Ollie hastily agrees. “Eight.”
“You can’t even communicate in English!” Mum flips. “Real life is not a series of levels!”
“Mum, please,” Frank chimes in. “I’ll do anything. I’ll stack the dishwasher. I’ll phone Grandma every night. I’ll . . .” He casts wildly about. “I’ll read to deaf people.”
Read to deaf people? Can he actually hear what he’s saying?
“Deaf people?” Mum explodes. “Deaf people? I don’t need you to read to deaf people! You’re the bloody deaf one around here! You never hear anything I say! You always have those wretched earphones in--”
I turn to see Dad joining the fray, and a couple of neighbours are stepping out of their front doors. This is officially a Neighbourhood Incident.
“Anne!” Dad calls again.
“Let me do this, Chris,” says Mum warningly, and I can see Dad gulp. My dad is tall and handsome in a car advert way, and he looks like the boss, but inside, he isn’t really an alpha male.
No, that sounds bad. He’s alpha in a lot of ways, I suppose. Only Mum is even more alpha. She’s strong and bossy and pretty and bossy.
I said bossy twice, didn’t I?
Well. Draw your own conclusions from that.
“I know you’re angry, sweetheart,” Dad’s saying soothingly. “But isn’t this a little extreme?”
“Extreme? He’s extreme! He’s addicted, Chris!”
“I’m not addicted!” Frank yells.
“I’m just saying--”
“What?” Mum finally turns her head to look at Dad properly. “What are you saying?”
“If you drop it there, you’ll damage the car.” Dad winces. “Maybe shift to the left a little?”
“I don’t care about the car! This is tough love!” She tilts the computer more precariously on the window ledge and we all gasp, including the watching neighbours.
“Love?” Frank is shouting up at Mum. “If you loved me you wouldn’t break my computer!”
“Well, if you loved me, Frank, you wouldn’t get up at two a.m. behind my back to play online with people in Korea!”
“You got up at two a.m.?” says Ollie to Frank, wide-eyed.
“Practicing.” Frank shrugs. “I was practicing,” he repeats to Mum with emphasis. “I have a tournament coming up! You’ve always said I should have a goal in life! Well, I have!”
“Playing Land of Conquerors is not a goal! Oh God, oh God . . .” She bangs her head on the computer. “Where did I go wrong?”
“Oh, Audrey,” says Ollie suddenly, spotting me. “Hi, how are you?”
I shrink back from my position at my bedroom window in fright. My window is tucked away on a corner, and no-one was meant to notice me. Least of all Ollie, who I’m pretty sure has a tiny crush on me, even though he’s two years younger than me and barely reaches up to my chest.
“Look, it’s the celebrity!” quips Ollie’s dad, Rob. He’s been calling me “the celebrity” for the last four weeks, even though Mum and Dad have separately been over to ask him to stop. He thinks it’s funny and that my parents have no sense of humour. (I’ve often noticed that people equate “having a sense of humour” with “being an insensitive moron.”)
This time, though, I don’t think Mum or Dad has even heard Rob’s oh-so-witty joke. Mum is still moaning “Where did I go wroooong?” and Dad is peering at her anxiously.
“You didn’t go wrong!” he calls up. “Nothing’s wrong! Darling, come down and have a drink. Put the computer down . . . for now,” he adds hastily at her expression. “You can throw it out of the window later.”
Mum doesn’t move an inch. The computer is rocking still more precariously on the windowsill, and Dad flinches. “Sweetheart, I’m just thinking about the car . . . We’ve only just paid it off . . .” He moves towards the car and holds out his hands, as though to shield it from plummeting hardware.
“Get a blanket!” says Ollie, springing to life. “Save the computer! We need a blanket. We’ll form a circle . . .”
Mum doesn’t even seem to hear him.
“I breast-fed you!” she shrieks at Frank. “I read you Winnie-the-Pooh! All I wanted was a well-rounded son who would be interested in books and art and the outdoors and museums and maybe a competitive sport . . .”
“LOC is a competitive sport!” yells Frank. “You don’t know anything about it! It’s a serious thing! You know, the prize pot in the international LOC competition in Toronto this year is six million dollars!”
“So you keep telling us!” Mum erupts. “So, what, you’re going to win that, are you? Make your fortune?”
“Maybe.” He gives her a dark look. “If I get enough practice.”
“Frank, get real!” Her voice echoes around the close, shrill and almost scary. “You’re not entering the international LOC competition, you’re not going to win the bloody six-million-dollar prize pot, and you’re not going to make your living from gaming! IT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A Sophie Kinsella YA novel?! Let’s just say I was ALL over this one!! I adore Sophie Kinsella. Before I started reading YA, I read a lot of adult and chick lit books. I’ve read so many of her books, and I love them all so much. I adore her humor and “light and fluffy” feel, often surrounding a more serious issue. She addresses everything with such grace and sensitivity. So to see she was putting out her YA debut made me a very happy reader. :) Audrey is suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder. An incident happened at school, which resulted in her becoming a recluse. She doesn’t leave her house much, other than to go to therapy. She wears dark sunglasses at all times, even in the house, and has trouble making eye contact with everyone, including her family members. Life is not easy right now for Audrey. She’s making great strides with her therapist, but nothing seems to help as much as meeting her brother’s friend, Linus. He quickly becomes her friend, encouraging her to try new things, including going out in public, physical contact, and even talking to strangers. But can she beat this illness once and for all? “Life is all about climbing up, slipping down, and picking yourself up again. And it doesn’t matter if you slip down, as long as you’re kind of heading more or less upwards.” I adored this book. I often have difficulty reading books about mental illness. Though it’s very interesting to me, I feel myself taking on the emotions of the characters and I’m often left extremely sad and anxious for them. And though I did feel a lot of emotion for Audrey, I also felt a lot of strength and encouragement. She was battling a very difficult disease, and I was routing for her good health throughout. The friendship/relationship between Audrey and Linus was so sweet. Though Linus was a friend of her brother’s initially, he was drawn to Audrey and the two built a beautiful friendship. I love relationships like this. So sweet and touching. Audrey’s family was also a huge part of this story. Audrey’s therapy homework was to create a video where she interviews people to help her address her issue of talking to people. This was such a fun part of the story!! The conversations and incidents she caught on camera were hilarious!! I laughed out loud several times. I just couldn’t get enough! The one and only issue I had with this book was that the “event” which happened to Audrey was never fully revealed. We can all assume it was a horrible bullying event by a classmate, but the actual situation was never discussed. It’s not necessary for the story, so it’s not a big issue… just felt like I didn’t have complete closure on that issue. Another wonderful book by S. Kinsella! I’m so excited that she’s branched out into the YA genre as well. This is definitely a book I would recommend for teens to read, more on the younger side, around 13 or 14 years old. Audrey was 14, and I think a lot of teens around the same age will really relate to her character. I would also recommend this to Sophie fans in general, including adults (such as myself!) since it stays with her writing style and overall good vibe that we always see with her stories. Another great read from Sophie Kinsella!
AMAZIIINNNGGGGGGGG buy this book
This book was very enjoyable. It had some moving parts and well as some funny parts. There are some plots I wish went into more detail. For example you never get the full story of what happened to Audrey. I think it would be a great book for any young adult dealing with depression and anxiety.
Actual rating - 3.5 I'm having a really hard time deciding how I feel about this novel. It took too long for the story to really focus on Audrey, which I thought was who this was supposed to be about. I did find myself chuckling several times though, I really enjoyed the author's humor. It doesn't feel like I wasted my time while reading this, and I certainly don't regret it, but I was expecting a lot more.
This YA book was so unique in that it's very focused on Audrey's family. Truly, the majority of the action takes place inside Audrey's house with her parents and her two brothers. Audrey was the victim of some sort of bullying incident at school that is never fully explained. As a result, she's spending the rest of the year at home. She has extreme social anxiety, she wears dark glasses all the time, and she doesn't interact with anyone outside of her family or therapy. Until... Linus, her brother's best friend, starts spending a lot of time at their house because he is playing on an LOC (think World of Warcraft) team with her brother, Frank. Linus and Audrey develop a friendship through notes and challenges, and their love story is super adorable and sweet. I really loved that part of the story, but there wasn't enough of it. The first half of the book and much of the second half focus on Audrey's brother and her mother and their struggle over video games. The mother is kind of unbearable. I wanted to reach into my car sound system and strangle her! She is very unreasonable. She's been convinced by the Daily Mail that video games are warping Frank's mind or something...even though he's a terrific student and a very nice young man. Because those portions of the story were unenjoyable, I had to give this book a lower rating. There is some good humor in the story, and Audrey's youngest brother Felix (age 4) was super cute. But overall I was expecting more based on the reviews and recommendations I'd gotten about this book. http://www.momsradius.com/2016/06/book-review-finding-audrey-ya.html
‘Finding Audrey’ is about a young teenage girl who has been through a traumatic experience, relating to an incident at school, which saw her in hospital for weeks, and the culprits expelled. Audrey Turner has been finding life difficult since the event. She reacts badly to situations involving people, even though she doesn’t want to. She often finds herself curled up in a ball, or ripping her t-shirt to threads when her ‘Lizard Brain’ takes over. In one of her therapy sessions with Dr. Sarah, she is asked to buy a video camera and start filming everyday life, and then progress on to interviewing people to try and have some contact with others. Throughout the book we get to see what Audrey has been filming, alongside the story. The book is a very clever thought out idea, to get across the message about depression and anxiety disorders to the younger generation and help them understand not only what mental illnesses are like, but also to help those that may be going through the same situation, and to make them understand that they are not alone. Although the book is based around Audrey and her illness, it is told in a comical, light-hearted way, whilst still managing to get the message clearly across. There are plenty of hilarious and bizarre situations, mainly between Frank, Audrey’s older brother, and their mother. Frank is mouthy, sulky and very witty. He also clearly loves his sister and is very protective of her. He has a tumultuous relationship with his mother and they clash over nearly everything. Audrey is a very bright young girl who through no fault of her own, happens to be going through a very tough time. She comes across as a shy, reserved character at the start, who feels that life is hard going. We are with her through the tough moments and get to witness her fight to have a normal teenage life again. Throughout the book we see Audrey change, slowly, nearly back to the girl she used to be. With the help of Linus, Franks friend, Audrey is learning one small step at a time to have contact with other people and go through her first young love. Linus is a wonderful young man, who clearly thinks a lot about Audrey and will do anything to help her get better, even if that means that they communicate through a series of notes, rather than face to face. Throughout the book you find yourself hoping that Audrey can in fact ‘find’ herself. ‘Finding Audrey’ is a fascinating book for those of all ages, even if it is a YA book. Youngsters will be able to relate to the teenagers, whilst I could relate to what her parents were going through. My only issue with the book is that I was hoping to find out what had happened to Audrey, to cause her so much trauma, but we are never fully told details. Written in an easy, comical style, young adults will love this book. Well done Sophie Kinsella on your first YA Book. Reviewed by Stacey at Whispering Stories Book Blog
Finding Audrey is the new YA book released by proclaimed, chick-lit author Sophie Kinsella. Initially, I was intrigued by the concept of a YA novel featuring an anxiety-stricken main character. I myself suffer a severe anxiety disorder so I was thrilled that there was a character that represented this overwhelmingly common affliction. For the most part I felt a connection with Audrey; I could relate to her anxious tendencies and even recognized some of them from my own disorder. However, the major downfall of this book was the helicopter mother in the story; it was stressful reading the majority of her dialogue … occasionally triggering my own anxiety. It was no wonder Audrey was anxious; I would be too in that household. As I mentioned previously, I did connect with Audrey and I believe that the author did a very good job of portraying a character with anxiety; it was done tastefully and accurately. Overall, this was a good, quick read and on a whole I enjoyed "Finding Audrey" ... except for the mom. Although, to be fair the mother's character did develop over the course of the book into a more likable character. I guess parents grow and learn too. I would likely recommend this book to other fans of Kinsella; and to fans of the YA genre.
I really enjoyed this book, However I don't feel completely satisfied. It's like going to your favorite restaurant and ordering your favorite food, It's good but not as good as what it normally was or not as good as what you were anticipating like some ingredient was lacking or something. I feel like there's something missing perhaps details. This book has so many really good reviews both written and on YouTube so I was very hyped to read it but I didn't get what I was expecting so maybe my expectations were a bit too high. I'm actually really struggling whether not I want to give this book 3 or 4 stars. if I could rate it on a scale 1 to 10 I would give it an eight. The last book I read before this one was confess and I fell in love with it. it's actually became my favorite book. I still really haven't gotten over my high with that book so reading other books has been somewhat difficult to get into perhaps that's why I'm at war with myself on whether not I should give this book 3 or 4 stars. Even though it's implied and one can easily figure it out I guess I wanted more details as to what really went down that lead Audrey into depression and isolation. Overall it was a great read and super funny! I Would definitely recommend.
I thought this was an utterly adorable story. Kinsella highlights a very serious condition, showing how it can definitely affect someone’s quality of life while also maintaining the natural sense of humor that Audrey had prior to her breakdown. Although I found Audrey’s mom to be a bit obnoxious when I first started the novel, she quickly grew on me and I found many of her antics really hilarious as the story unfolded. I also felt that the mom’s overbearing concern with computer games, junk food, and whatever else the media says is bad for kids, shows how almost helpless her mom felt. As much as she tried to set her daughter up to have the happiest life possible, factors beyond her control resulted in her having to watch from the sidelines as Audrey worked through her anxiety. All of the characters in this novel supported Audrey in their own way. It was a truly heartwarming story that showed that despite her disorder, Audrey had the strength and support to stand up on her own two feet again.
Mental illness and anxiety disorders hit close to home so I was interested to see how Kinsella would approach the subject. I've never actually read one of her books before, but I know that she is famous for her humour. And Finding Audrey was full of humour. And I am a big fan of dealing with difficult issues with laughter, so I appreciated this about the book. It was an easy to read, entertaining book for teens about a girl named Audrey who, after an incident at school, succumbs to terrible anxiety and depression. These are real issues for both kids and adults, so I am happy to see a mainstream author broaching the subject. I like that Audrey went up and down in her recovery. However, some of the "ups" seemed a bit too easy, especially her relationship with Lionel. I also found Audrey's mother to be a bit over the top when dealing with her brother and during Audrey's doctor appointments. Overall, I did enjoy the book, though parts of it didn't sit right with me. There are still some good messages: that everyone's life goes up and down, bullying has terrible consequences. anxiety is real and needs to be treated as such, most people don't know what to say but being there can help, and support is important. Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book by the publisher for an honest review.
This book was alright. I didn't absolutely love it, didn't hate it. I would say, though, that it did provide me some insight into what people with severe anxiety go through. Can I say it's accurate? No. I don't suffer from anxiety, so I cannot speak to this. However, from what I do know about it, I'd say it's at least close. Sophie Kinsella has a knack for creating characters that push my buttons. In this book, it's the mom. In the beginning part of the book, I couldn't stand her. She was irrational and I hate that. However, there are things that are revealed a little later in the book that made me sympathize with her a little more and, while I didn't agree with the way she handled things, made me better understand her. At the end, she didn't bother me much at all. I would advise anyone who is going to read this book to hang in there if the mother bothers you. If you are empathetic, you will eventually understand her behavior a little more. Sophie Kinsella progressed all her characters throughout this book, not just Audrey. I also kind of liked that she never really reveals what sent Audrey into a tailspin of severe anxiety and only hints at it. It isn't really important to the story. It's more about Audrey's struggle with anxiety. This book is somewhere between 3 and 3.5 stars. I gave it 3 because, to me, it isn't quite up to 4. This is a good story, though, and a quick read.
4.5 stars My first Sophie Kinsella novel and it was such a treasure. I think what I enjoyed most was the characters; no, I think it was the writing. Let me elaborate on each of these and see if I can decide. The characters were actually people, people that could be my neighbors or heck; they could be part of my own extended family if I pulled up the shades and looked closely at their lives. Mom’s obsession with the Daily Mail caused her to be obsessed with computers and their usage in the household. Fearing for her children’s safety, she begins harping on her son Frank and his time spent on his computer. She was relentless on this issue and very extreme on her tactics! Like mother like son, Frank has some of his mother’s traits and this is a battle you never know the outcome until the final pages are turned. Audrey is a fourteen-year old teen with some social disorders she’s trying to manage. I found her fascinating as she’s motivated but her disorders has her closed off to the rest of the world. There is romance inside this hectic family, a family that you begin to feel a part of. The writing: Sophie’s writing flows and the ease at which to read it, becomes almost like you’re not reading at all. The story takes off on its own and the words spill across the page. I enjoyed the subject matter and to be honest, I thought the story was going to be fluffy and corny. I was nervous looking at the cover and I was hesitant picking this novel up but I am glad that I did. Mom was a bit over the top, her tactics were extreme but nothing more than someone who fears for another health concern that hits the air waves. I really enjoyed reading about Audrey; her character sealed the book for me.
http://hulsey2007bookblog.blogspot.com/ I started this book and I really couldn't get into it. The story just didn't capture my attention like I thought it would. But as I kept reading a quarter of the way through I just couldn't stop reading. I love Sophie Kinsella books, her book just capture me. I love how she writes. The stories she puts out there. They are just so funny. The metaphors that she uses in her stories. They are just so funny. One of my favorites in this is about the rhubarb. I laugh everytime I think of it. This story isn't all fun and games. It has a really deep meaning to it. Basically anxiety and how to express how people think and look at you. Having a fear of not liking who you are. This story is just so beautiful. I loved that this is her first YA book. And she told such a powerful story with it. Its a very deep and emotional if you can somehow understand these emotions. I also like that during the story she took awhile before the romance factor kicked in. It wasn't all instalovey. It was more than 150 pages in before the feelings come into the story. That really stood out to me. I love how the story progresses. How Linus and Audrey are together and then throw the brother Frank into it. How Frank was Linus's friend first. I love how the friendship didnt fall apart just because of Linus and Audrey together. I love how the story ended it just ended on a really good note. Not the way I was expecting from how crazy Audrey's mom is. I just really love this story. Being her first YA novel I didnt really know what to expect of it. But its just so enjoyable. 4.5 stars.
I found this book to be particularly charming. Audrey’s family seemed very real to me, especially a family that is trying to cope after their daughter has been ill, not really sure how to handle it. At first I found her mother to be quite dramatic, but as we come to see, she really just diverts all of her frustration and anger at not knowing how to help Audrey on to Frank. It all felt extremely plausible and strangely relatable. Even though no one in my family has personally gone through an episode or illness like Audrey had, there are times when someone in the family requires more attention than others, and tensions can run high when making those kinds of sacrifices. The road to Audrey’s recover was also extremely relatable. We all need to be reminded now and again that our life is a big up and down graph. There will be set backs, no matter if you are ill or not. My only wish is that Linus hadn’t been the one to help her out of her shell. I feel like there are too many books/ movies/ television shows based around mental illness right now that depicts a sweeping romance to be their turning point. Yes, it is nice to have support and someone to help you through it. But, assuming that someone needs to rescue you romantically in order to feel better is a bit dangerous to teach young readers. Since Audrey is 14, I wonder if other 14-year-olds might read this and think the same thing. It was a fun, quick read and I did enjoy myself.
Did you ever watch the 2006 indie film Little Miss Sunshine? Finding Audrey has a lot of those same dynamics. Dysfunction, family conflict, mental illness, disappointment and setbacks, and all ending with a goal that brings everyone together. But it's funny and sweet and just makes you want to smile and cheer everyone on. In my opinion, Sophie Kinsella successfully incorporates comedy in a pretty sensitive setting. Our sweet female lead: Audrey is struggling big time, and readers will get to know her (or as much as she is willing to share) and her family through her first-person perspective. Although Kinsella writes with classic indie-film humor, I still felt incredibly empathetic towards Audrey and her concerns. Sophie Kinsella's first young-adult novel Finding Audrey is a winner, and I have no doubt it will be adapted to film...hopefully very soon! Check it out! My favorite quote: "Episodes. Like depression is a sitcom with a fun punch line each time. Or a TV box set loaded with cliffhangers. The only cliffhanger in my life is 'Will I ever get rid of this sh*t?' and believe me, it gets pretty monotonous."
This is such a sweet story about a family learning and growing together and a young girl finding her courage, with a little dash of a love story. Sophie Kinsella did an amazing job at bringing to life the struggles many young girls face, with bullying, anxiety, family, boys etc., and turning it into a story that everyone can relate to. Just an absolutely phenomenal read.
The opening prologue of Finding Audrey - the newest novel from Sophie Kinsella - had me hooked. We're quickly introduced to the Turner family - as they attempt to dissuade Mum from throwing her son Frank's computer out the upstairs window. Dad and younger son Felix are outside, pleading with her to not do it. The last family member is Audrey - who is watching from inside the house with her sunglasses on. The novel is told from Audrey's view. Her voice and the reason for the dark glasses are immediately compelling.... "The trouble is, depression doesn't come with handy symptoms like spots and a temperature, so you don't realize at first. You keep saying 'I'm fine' to people when you're not fine. You think you should be fine. You keep saying to yourself: 'Why aren't I fine?'" Kinsella does a fantastic job tackling the issues of anxiety and depression. The exact circumstances that led to Audrey's current situation are never fully detailed - which is perfect. Instead the focus is on Audrey and her progress. And that progress picks up speed when she meets Frank's friend Linus.... I loved this book! I found myself laughing out loud many, many times. And just as many spent on sympathizing with Audrey's plight. The characters are so engaging. It's impossible not to like Audrey. Her brother Frank's strategies and ploys to circumvent Mum's computer ban are epic. Wee Felix has few lines, but his sweetness is tangible. Dad is a bit of a bumbler and Mum is a bit of hard nose. (It was Mum I had the hardest time liking) But what they all share is a love for Audrey and a desire to help her feel better. Each family member is coping and supporting her in their own way. Linus - well, Linus is lovely. And I truly hope there are teen boys like him out there. Audrey's psychiatrist, Dr. Sarah, was also a great addition to the supporting cast. Her quiet advice is full of many truths. Finding Audrey is about Audrey finding herself - and realizing that "...life is all about climbing up, slipping down, and picking yourself up again. And it doesn't matter if you slip down. As long as you're kind of heading more or less upwards. That's all you can hope for. More or less upwards." Kinsella injects her humourous style into her first YA novel, but also handles real and serious issues with a realistic eye. Well done.
I guess I should have read the reviews before reading, but if I wanted a YA novel, I would have gone to YA author. I love Kinsella in her typical Brit Chick genere. I was not impressed with Finding Audrey.
This certainly could be considered a YA but I am not a young adult and I enjoyed it from the first page to the last. I found myself looking to steal a few minutes here or a few minutes there just to get a few more pages read. I actually started it while eating my lunch and finished it shortly after dinner, I just could not put it down. The characters were amazing. The mother cracked me up. I feel like I can sometimes be like her. I read something in the paper, on line, or where ever and immediately think oh my gosh, is that happening at my house. Although, I do hope that I do not go to extremes like she does. I know that I have never threatened to throw my daughters computer out the window but I have threatened to close it down on her. I feel like the mother just wanted to do all she could. She felt she let one of her kids down, Audrey, and was making up for it by trying to do everything she could for them now. The dad also cracked me up. He was so into his own zone, maybe by need to get away from the chaos in the house. He answers how he thinks he should to keep his wife happy. The kids…. I loved them all. Although this was Audrey’s story, Felix and Frank (the brothers) were amazing. Felix, the 4 year old, had the best personality. He spoke what was on his mind, was stubborn, and just made the story a little lighter. Frank was a typical teen. As a teenager he wanted to play online games, he walked around with headphones in 24/7, in short he was typical. The sarcasm he had with his parents was portrayed perfectly. Sophie Kinsella hit the nail on the head with these kids. I have to talk about Audrey. What a rough life to live. Rarely leaving the house, not being able to handle changes in life, and not being able to be around people cannot be good. She struggles, yet she never gives up. She talks to herself, in a good way, building herself up, talking through tough situations, and making the best with what she can handle. There is one other amazing character in this book, Linus. His patience, understanding, and care while being around Audrey was amazing. He got her. He understood that she could not function in the same way he did, yet he believed that she would be able to. Linus understood her limits and sometimes pushed her just a little past them, but somehow he always knew her limit. I believe he is the true hero in this story. He is the one that made her realize that she was going to be okay, she was going to be “normal”, and that he would be by her side. Wow, this is a long review. I just can’t say enough about how great the book is. Pick it up. Read it on the beach. Share it with you teenagers, boys or girls alike.
Something bad has happened to Audrey Turner. It has left her an absolute mess. She’s fourteen years old, practically housebound, and wears dark glasses all the time. Other than her immediate family she has almost no contact with the outside world. This is Sophie Kinsella’s first foray into YA fiction and I found it to be just as enjoyable as her previous work. She takes a very serious subject and treats it with sensitivity and a touch of humor. The story never reveals exactly what happened to cause Audrey’s breakdown, but little clues are revealed as the plot progresses. I like the way Audrey’s thoughts, feelings and reactions are given center stage. I think it’s good that the reader is shown that actions have consequences. On the lighter side, the interactions between Audrey’s Mum and older brother are at times laugh out loud funny. It’s good to know that although Mum can be aggravating at times, her heart is always in the right place.