Review: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Monday 1 June 2015
Title: Finding Audrey
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Publisher: Doubleday Childrens
Publication Date: 4th June 2015
Pages: 304
ISBN: 9780857534583
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
Meet Audrey: an ordinary teenage girl with not so ordinary problems.

Aside from her completely crazy and chaotic family, she suffers from an anxiety disorder which makes talking to her brother's hot new best friend a bit of a challenge.

But Audrey has a plan to help her face her fears and take on the world again. First stop: Starbucks.

I remember the reaction on Twitter when it was announced that Sophie Kinsella would be releasing a Young Adult novel. I am writing this review in April, early reviews are positive and hopefully come release day Finding Audrey is a great success, because it is a really good book. If I had read it not knowing the author, I would never have guessed it came from the pen of Sophie Kinsella. It is a book that should get a lot of people talking, and is certainly one of the more realistic in terms of its portrayal of anxiety.

Finding Audrey is a bit of a difficult book to discuss, so many of my thoughts about the book focus on the story itself, and the development of the characters and so to avoid spoilers I will have to be as vague as possible. The opening to the book is one of the funniest I have read in a while due to Audrey's over the top mother. A Daily Mail obsessive she believes computers are evil, and we see her throwing Audrey's brother Frank's computer out of the window. In the beginning we get a real sense of family, albeit an at times eccentric one, but one that I think most readers will see parts of their own family in and a family readers can really believe in.

Audrey suffers from an anxiety disorder, a quite severe one given that she only ever leaves the house to attend appointments with her therapist. I don't speak about it often, but I believe I suffer from some form of anxiety, growing up I was told I was shy, yet from experience I know that it's more than that. Even today I allow it to take over my life at times, and regret certain opportunities I have missed out on or passed on because of it. So, despite her being a young teenage girl, and having a more severe case of anxiety, I could definitely relate to and empathise with Audrey. I don't know much about how anxiety is treated but it isn't just something that Sophie Kinsella mentions a couple of times, we follow Audrey on every step of her journey and it is clear that this is something Sophie has researched incredibly well. It shows how to treat anxiety but also that there's no easy fix, and it can be a difficult road.

Audrey and her brother's friend, Linus, start a friendship through the passing of notes with a little help from Audrey's little brother, Felix. There were some truly touching moments between Audrey and Linus, and watching their relationship develop was a joy. What I particularly enjoyed was the way Sophie wrote these two characters and how realistically Linus viewed anxiety. Again spoilers! but often I think people look upon the disorder as something a lot less serious than it is, so the anger and frustration Linus sometimes felt towards Audrey, was a believable reaction and hopefully will show people that it isn't something a person can just ignore and simply 'get over'.

I read Finding Audrey in just a couple of hours, and found myself wishing the story had been longer and certain things did feel a little bit rushed in places. That said, I finished Finding Audrey with a smile on my face whilst at the same time hoping that one day Sophie will return to the character of Audrey as she is somebody I would love to read about again. Either way Sophie has shown that she can write YA just as well as she can write for adults so hopefully we do see more in the future.


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