Narrator: Gemma Whelan
Published by Listening Library on June 9th 2015
Genres: Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Marriage & Divorce, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 6 hrs. 36 mins.
From the number-one New York Times best-selling author of the Shopaholic series comes a terrific blend of comedy, romance, and psychological recovery in a contemporary YA novel sure to inspire and entertain.
An anxiety disorder disrupts 14-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 is 14 and dealing with social anxiety after a bullying incident. Now she stays close to home, wears dark glasses, and only ventures out to see her therapist Dr. Sarah. Her brother’s friend Linus takes an interest in Audrey and helps her to find her way again. Finding Audrey is Sophie Kinsella’s (Confessions of a Shopaholic) first book for young adults, and it’s fantastic! Finding Audrey tackles the serious topic of mental illness with respect and sensitivity, and balances it with a heavy dose of laughs provided by Audrey’s siblings and parents.
First off, I would have loved to have read this book as a kid when I was suffering from social anxiety. I felt so alone and didn’t know why I had problems speaking up in class when it seemed so easy for everyone else. I didn’t even know there was a name for it until I was an adult. So, kudos to Kinsella – there are not a lot of YA books about social anxiety and I’m sure Finding Audrey will be a comfort to other sufferers. It’s clear Kinsella did her research in regards to symptoms, therapy and medication.
I liked that the author doesn’t go into specifics regarding the trauma Audrey faced. It makes Audrey that much more relatable, because not everyone’s anxiety is triggered by a specific event.
Audrey’s family provides the comic relief in Finding Audrey. Audrey’s mother Anne decides that her son Frank spends far too much time on the computer (he’s on a competitive gaming team with Linus) and that is a constant battle between them. Anne considers that perhaps the whole family should unplug but then decides she couldn’t give up on watching Downton Abbey and The Killing. There are also funny scenes with Anne trying out new strategies to talk to teens that she found in a parenting book. We get to see the family through a different lens when Dr. Sarah tasks Audrey with filming a documentary about her life.
The romance between Linus and Audrey is sweet, starting with passing notes (with the help of younger brother Felix) and progressing to trips to Starbucks.
I listened to the audiobook, read by Gemma Whelan. She is a really engaging narrator, and plays up the quirkiness of the story. She is great with voices and delivers an energetic performance. It sounded like there was an additional male narrator for Audrey’s father and some of the other male voices but I only see Gemma Whelan credited so I’m not sure. This audiobook is really humorous and I’d recommend listening to this one if you can.
Finding Audrey is funny, sad, informative, and relatable, and offers something for readers of all ages.