Mundie Moms

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella: Book Review

By: Sophie Kinsella
Published by: Delacorte Press
Released on: June 9, 2015
Order from: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | Book Depository
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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - I LOVED IT!

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.

First off, I adore Sophie Kinsella's story, and when I say ADORE, I really mean, it's like she's writing with me in mind. Years ago, I devoured her Shopaholic series and have pretty much read every single story she's ever written. Imagine my complete surprise when I heard that she wrote a YA book. I knew right away it would contain her magic formula:

- Likeable, flawed, quirky heroine
- Swoony guy
- Interesting side characters
- A plot that leaves you wondering hmm, what will happen next (or in this case, what happened first)

Let me start my review by discussing the side characters. In this case, they are Audrey's parents. I was so relieved to see that parents are present in the story. Sorry, I know we can be pesky, but it's much more real to me to see parents around their kids. Especially when they are going through something that can safely be labeled traumatic.

The Hmmm-What-Happened-Here plot. Sophie loves to up the stakes, and in this book, she doesn't give us the reason for Audrey's anxiety disorder. Not at first. It's what keeps you turning pages. You need to find out why is Audrey feeling the way she does and why does she use certain coping mechanisms.

Don't worry, just like almost all of Sophie's heroines, Audrey has her quirky side. She's surrounded by her family including an all-too-adorable four-year-old brother, and a gaming-obsessed older brother. A quick aside, as the mother of a sixteen-year-old I could completely relate to Audrey's mother wanting to banish, from their home, everything related to a competitive e-sport game (if my son is reading this, yes, yes, yes, I realize that DOTA 2 is a multi-million prize pool game played in arenas, but homework is always more important -- ahem). The brother's game obsession brings a friend, the ohsosweet Linus, into Audrey's home and into her protected, little world, and Audrey's life begins to change.

Linus is everything Audrey needs, although she doesn't recognize this at first. He's patient and understanding of her social anxiety. With his help, Audrey begins to move forward, slowly. Now, it wouldn't be fair if Sophie didn't speed things up by throwing in a few OHHECKNO moments, which force Audrey to deal with the cause of her anxiety.

I adore how idea of the subject matter was handled in the story. This isn't a book about bullying or even social anxiety. It's a story about a girl making her way through her "lizard brain" moments and finding herself once again through the kindness and support of her family and friends. I wish there were more stories like this out there. Selfishly (for me and for my teen daughter who also loved it), I hope Sophie continues to write more YA books.