By: Sophie Kinsella
Published Year: 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
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Summary (Provided by Goodreads): 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.
This cover immediately caught my eye (love the cover and the minimalistic vibe!) but when I saw it was by Sophie Kinsella I was hooked. I didn’t even need to read the summary before I grabbed this book. I have loved the majority of Kinsella’s adult books, although her most recent ones have been a bit of a miss for me. However, Finding Audrey is her first YA book which meant I could count it towards the Debut Author’s Challenge!
What I thought
I really enjoyed this book. It is unique and refreshing and done in a very good way. I think that this is the kind of book that will connect with a lot of teenagers and it will help them feel like they are not alone.
Finding Audrey follows Audrey, a 14 year old girl, through her fight with anxiety and depression. The book takes place in the aftermath of some event that occurred at school. While the reader never finds out exactly what happened, it is implied that there was a lot of heavy duty bullying that caused a nervous breakdown. Following a stay in the hospital, Audrey is now at home and learning to deal with her anxieties and depression in everyday life. She wears dark glasses all day every day to help cope with her social anxieties.
I think what I loved most about this book is that it really gets inside the head of someone who has anxieties. Kinsella does an amazing job at writing Audrey’s thoughts and not making the reader feel as though Audrey is overreacting to certain situations. Audrey refers to her fight or flight part of her brain as her lizard brain, and often will say things along the lines of “my lizard brain is telling me to freak out.” I thought this was such a unique take on explaining anxiety and I think that it’s perfect. It really shows the medical side of anxiety, without being over the top and still relatable.
I also love all of the secondary characters in this story. Frank, Audrey’s brother, is my absolute favorite. His sense of humor is wonderful and really got to me a few times. However, he is still a 15 year old boy and, not only does he have 15 year old boy problems, he isn’t the perfect brother. He loves Audrey and tries his best to understand her illness, but he’s not perfect and that makes him more lovable. None of the characters in the book are perfect and that’s what makes this story work so well.
At the beginning of the book Audrey’s therapist gives her the assignment of creating a documentary to work through her social anxieties. As a result, the book has some chapters that are written in a script format. This was fun and allowed for the characters to be seen as they are and not necessairily through the eyes of another character. Considering that Audrey’s brain has a pretty intense filter, I think that this helped with the story telling. It allowed for another dimension and an unbiased view of certain events.
By: Sophie Kinsella