Title: Finding Audrey
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Publication Date: June 9th, 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella was a sweet, heartening, and honest story about mental illness, family, and first love. There wasn’t a moment that I didn’t feel this book in my soul. Sure, Audrey was talking directly at me, but the realness of the story made it feel like Audrey could be me.
I’ve had this book on my shelf for a while, and because I’m getting back into reading I thought it’d be the perfect start: it’s on the shorter side, it’s a contemporary, and I’ve heard only good things, basically the perfect book to ease me back in. Before now, I hadn’t Sophie Kinsella novel, I’d seen the Shopaholics movie but really that was it.
And Finding Audrey was such a nice surprise.
Audrey has been home for a couple months, pulled out of school, after an incident which left her traumatized and that has her experiencing anxiety and depression. We never get the specifics, other than it seems that a group of popular girls at school were bullying her. And Audrey, who at time directly addresses us as the reader, purposefully doesn’t give us the details.
The emphasis put on privacy and it being her story to share whether she chooses to or not was a statement that I could get behind.
The type of anxiety and depression she felt, also really resonated with me. I myself have often felt like Audrey was and seeing that character on paper was super refreshing, the representation felt really real to me.
“The trouble is, depression doesn’t come with handy symptoms like spots and a temperature, so you don’t realize it at first. You keep saying ‘I’m fine’ to people when you’re not fine. You think you should be fine. You keep saying to yourself: ‘Why aren’t I fine?”
Audrey’s family is also a hoot. We have her younger brother Felix who is four and the crazy four-year-old you expect. Then there’s her mom and dad. Her dad is totally under her mom’s thumb. A lot of the book is centered on her mom being obsessed with the Daily Mail and taking it like the Bible. And when they run a story on being addicted to gaming, she sets her sight on her son Frank who is always glued to his computer playing LOC. The fight between Frank and his mom is so hilarious and relatable not only in the family dynamic, but the generational dynamic. Every minute with this family felt like it could’ve been my own.
And Linus! Our loveable love interest. I thought he was so sweet and pushed Audrey in only the best of ways. I think a love interest in a book dealing with mental illness is always difficult, because they need to be sensitive but at the same time strong, and you don’t want that savior trope, and I didn’t get that at all here. Linus just helped Audrey become comfortable with people and interacting again and gave her her space while still getting her to try to move out of it.
I can’t say it enough, just overall a super sweet and meaningful read. I legit read this in one sitting. I really think everyone should pick it up, it’s one of those books that helps connect and shine a light on important issues. You can get Finding Audrey on Amazon or connect with the author here.