*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Title: Finding Audrey
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Publication Date: June 2015
Synopsis from 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.
Audrey struggles with severe anxiety disorder. There was an incident, a secret that Audrey keeps to herself, but it left her unable to make eye contact, unable to speak to anyone who wasn’t her immediate family, and isolated in her house. Then she meets Linus. His doesn’t treat her like a patient, or someone with an illness, but he treats her like a friend, communicating in a patient and comfortable way. He pushes her and encourages her. With his help, Audrey begins to bloom.
First of all, I loved Audrey. I thought she was really real and relatable. Right off the bat, she mentions that something happened with the girls at school that lead her to this lower point in her life, but I loved that she comes right out and says, “We don’t have to reveal everything to each other. That’s another thing I’ve learned in therapy: it’s OK to be private. It’s OK to say no. It’s OK to say, ‘I’m not going to share that.’ So, if you don’t mind, let’s just leave it there.” Audrey knows we, the readers exist. She constantly addresses us, letting us know that she’s ok with us being there. So, I guess you could say we’re right apart of the process with her. We’re a friend that Audrey is able to open up to about mostly everything. But because the reader is a confidante, we only get to know the things that Audrey tells us. I loved that she kept some secrets.
Audrey’s journey through her story is one of highs and lows. It’s a learning experience for her as she desperately tries to get to a place in her life where she can be content. She wants to laugh and she wants to smile. It’s maddening at times that she craves these positive emotions, but she can’t quite get there. You witness her struggle up close and personal, and it’s that connection that will have you rooting for Audrey and willing her to succeed. But in her own time of course. Audrey experiences first hand, the setbacks that can occur with pushing too far too fast.
I’m loving this dialogue about mental illness. Kinsella opens up a conversation about anxiety disorders and what it can be like for someone who experiences severe anxiety, particularly social. Audrey is suffering, but she’s so very strong, although she doesn’t always feel that way. Audrey isn’t afraid to share her thoughts and feelings, her fears and her insecurities, with us. It’s a hard path that she’s on, but her story is one of success. I thoroughly enjoyed Kinsella’s YA novel. I’ve never read any of Kinsella’s other books, but I can say that she’s done a great job in the young adult genre.
How does Audrey’s story compare to other stories of mental illness? Do you think that Kinsella opens up a conversation about anxiety?