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.
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Format & Pages: Hardcover, 286
Published: June 4, 2015, Delacorte Press
Source: The Bennington Bookshop
I absolutely adore Sophie Kinsella. I have read almost all of her Confessions of a Shopaholic series, and they are the funniest and cutest little books. This one only just came out on June 4th; can you believe my luck in snagging it at a bookstore? I had the HIGHEST expectations for this, and I’m happy to say that I was totally satisfied.
Audrey is our main character. An incident at school has caused her to develop severe anxiety disorder, and she now wears dark glasses and hides in her room. This has damaged her entire family, but they’re pushing through with life. Frank, Audrey’s brother, is obsessed with competing in an online gaming tournament for six million dollars, and therefore spends almost all of his time on the computer. Every once in a while, he invites his gaming teammate Linus over. Linus finds Audrey quirky and fascinating, and helps her overcome her disorder. But when Linus gets banned from coming over to play with Frank, and Audrey meets one of the oppressors from her school, will she be forced to go back to the drawing board? Or will she win this battle once and for all?
Audrey was a fantastic protagonist. She had the right amount of spunk and strength, but her weaknesses made her extremely easy to empathize with. She had a defined opinion, a real certainty about what she needed in life, but also a fear of starting on her path. Her musings were also intensely interesting to read, for example:
Eye contact is a big deal. It’s the biggest deal…I know in my rational head that eyes are not frightening. They’re tiny little harmless blobs of jelly. They’re like, a minuscule fraction of our whole body area. So why should they bother me? For a start, they’re powerful. They have range. You focus on someone a hundred feet away, through a whole bunch of people, and they know that you’re looking at them. What other bit of human anatomy can do that? It’s practically being psychic, is what it is.
But they’re like vortexes too. They’re infinite. You look someone straight in the eye and your whole soul can be sucked out in a nanosecond. That’s what it feel like. Other people’s eyes are limitless and that’s what scares me.
Her family was totally adorkable. And no, that was not a typo. They were all such cute little nerds in their own special ways. Frank was a funny, snappy computer geek. Felix, the younger brother, was a cute little toddler and he really helped Audrey calm down after meeting new people. Her mum was just so into her children; she couldn’t have cared more for them. Sure, she may have expressed it the wrong way by dropping Frank’s computer out a window, but she really thought it was the best thing for him. Her dad was pretty taken up with work, but he had his funny moments. For instance, when Audrey was making a movie of her family, this was in one of the film transcripts:
Mum: “Well, I want you to go through your shirts. I don’t know what happens to them. Chris, we can go through yours too.”
Dad is working on his BlackBerry.
Mum: “Chris? Chris?”
Frank: “Dad? Family? Communicate? Family?”
Finally looks up.
Dad: “No, you CANNOT go out tonight. You are grounded, young man.”
He looks at the blank faces. Realizes he’s got it wrong.
Dad: “I mean…stack the dishwasher.”
“I mean, put your laundry in the right basket.”
Dad: “Whatever your mother says.”
Now, what the blurb says is NOT the main point of the story. Do not be taken aback by this supposed copy of The Fault in Our Stars! Linus was an intelligent, sweet boy who really liked Audrey and took a stand for her. He encouraged her to start meeting and talking to new people. He played a crucial role as the kick starter for Audrey.
But this was her story. She worked through her illness, not him. She came to terms with herself. She got her life going. The whole thing was a really delicate little treasure of hope and funniness, and maybe Sophie Kinsella’s strongest piece so far.
I will definitely read this again. It was so silly, and yet at the same time thought-provoking, that it will always bring a smile to my face. I definitely would recommend this if you’re looking for a chick-lit that’s a little more interesting than the typical high-school cat fights.
Sophie Kinsella is a bestselling writer and former financial journalist. She is the author of many number one bestsellers, including the hugely popular Shopaholic series. She has also written seven bestselling novels as Madeleine Wickham. She lives in London with her husband and family. Visit her online.