26 June 2015
Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Sophie Kinsella writes young adult. I don't know if I ever thought this would be a possibility or not, but I am so glad she branched out. I love the Shopaholic series, even if I wasn't all that impressed by her stand alone adult fiction novels. But Finding Audrey is in a class of its own, Kinsella like you've never read her before.
Audrey has all the classic charm and wit that readers are used to from Kinsella. She has a crazed out mom who picks up trends obsessively from the Daily Mail. Her brother Frank (who actually reminds me quite a bit of my own brother at that age) is into online gaming, hard, which becomes the topic of never ending bickering in the household. Her dad, the accountant - which also hits home for me - tries to stay out of it, letting the mother get all huffy puffy over the kids. And Audrey? Well, her ordeals aren't quite as comic. In fact, Audrey's family serves as the comic relief to the root of the story - Audrey herself.
Audrey, recovering from an incident at school that she does not really want to talk about - thank you very much - is suffering from severe bouts of social anxiety and depression. And though her family and her shrink are all very supportive, no one really understands what Audrey is going through. Audrey is a beautiful narrator, weaving her POV and her documentary film script together in a simple but charming story about one teenage girl's attempt to get her life back on track, and to kick her sunglasses to the curb. Though I do feel that the ending is rather rushed, the rest of Audrey's story is heart breaking but beautiful. It shows that normal people can have difficult problems, the same as everyone else who likes to be brash about it and publicize it.
Not only is the plot touching, but Audrey's character will stay with you as well. Though I've never gone through anything as extreme as Audrey, I can definitely relate to her. I have mild bouts of depression once in a blue moon, and I suffer from a mild case of social anxiety as well. And some of the antics that Audrey's family get up to? If you subtract the youngest brother, it feels a bit at times like reading an autobiography (except for the fact that now I can laugh at it).
Perhaps not a book I will read again, but definitely the deepest, most heartfelt writing I've seen from Kinsella. I hope there are more like this one coming from her. A definite gem in the YA new releases this year.