The Mayor’s Review of Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Age: YA (7th and up, or more mature 5th-6th graders okay with language and reference to s-e-x)
I read this book in about a day and a half sitting on the back porch of a cabin in Tahoe. It’s a perfect summer vacation read – engaging storyline, relatable characters, deep themes but wrapped up in a ‘made for TV movie’ kind of feel. It’s told partly in prose and partly like a screenplay from the main character’s video blog.
The book centers around Audrey, a British teenager living with a diagnosed anxiety disorder, her older, video game addicted brother Frank, his cute best friend Linus, her younger brother Felix, and her parents who are trying to cope with all the craziness of raising 3 kids in a less than ideal way. There is an overarching plot about a gaming competition that Frank and Linus are trying to participate in despite Frank’s mother’s constant forbidding that he play video games. But, the real story is the growth of Audrey in her pursuit to overcome the anxiety disorder resulting from a “big incident” that led her to take a leave of absence from high school. Audrey’s budding romance with Linus is a major part of her journey to become “normal” again and has a positive effect on her entire family.
The author, Sophie Kinsella, is widely known as the bestselling author of The Shopaholic series.
My Favorite Part:
As a mom, I love the parts where the Mum reads the Daily Post to get new parenting tips that she quickly puts into effect with her kids like “Let’s go gluten free!” or “I’m making you watch Shakespeare plays so that you’ll be cultured.” I pull these things all the time on my kids, usually with a negative impact and reaction from my family, similar to the result of Mum’s actions in this story.
I also loved the sweet relationship between Linus and Audrey. Especially when he would write her notes when he knew she was unable to make “normal” conversation. Nice to see a high school relationship painted through a lens of kindness and tenderness.
Why It Mattered to Me:
I mostly found this to be an entertaining, indulgent read like watching old episodes of Felicity. However, there were some poignant moments about the importance of nurturing the mental health of our youth (and all of us.) I know I’ve felt isolated and neurotic in moments just as Audrey does, and I loved the scenes between Dr. Sarah (her psychologist) and Audrey that offered solutions and reminders that we all matter and that we often think others think about us more than than they actually do. So, we should quit worrying what others think and just live life! There are also great themes about the importance of family and sticking together to help each other without judgement or blame.
Who Should Read This Book:
This is definitely a YA book that is best for 7th graders and up, although mature 5th and 6th readers who are okay with some bad language and talk of sex could be OK with it. I highly recommend it to readers who like coming of age, relationship based realistic fiction stories. It’s a bit more on the girly side since it is mostly from Audrey’s point of view, but there are good boy characters and lots of video game scenes that might interest stereotypical young male readers, too.