Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Title: Finding Audrey
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Genre: Young Adult
Length: 286 pages
Published: 9th June 2015

I first heard about Finding Audrey when I was on holiday this time last year. My dad had the TV on in the background whilst we were getting ready to go out and Sophie Kinsella was on a programme (something on the BBC idk)  talking about her new book, which focused on a girl named Audrey that had anxiety. I instantly bookmarked it in my mind but then I realised it was only out in hardcover (and you guys know I hate those) so I pushed it from my mind and didn't really think about it again. Until recently when I saw that the paperback had been released and picked it up in Tesco! 

It's quite a short book, so I finished it very quickly, within a day or two. What first struck me whilst I was reading was how young it was. I feel like I've reached that age where some Young Adult books really are a bit too young for me (sob) so I didn't feel I enjoyed it as much as I would have if I'd picked it up at age 14 or so. I still liked it though and found it cute.
The main focus of the story is on Audrey, who is suffering with extreme anxiety. She finds it terrifying to go outside and can't even make eye contact with anyone, which is why she always wears a pair of dark sunglasses. I thought this aspect of her anxiety was really unique as I've personally never come across another person or character who has suffered with this kind of anxiety, but it was still realistic and believable. We follow Audrey as she stumbles through recovery and experiences successes and failures.
In all honesty, though, I think that Audrey's anxiety isn't showcased as much as it should have been in this book. I understand why it was written this way - it's definitely more accessible and less intense - and I appreciate that it will help younger people ease into understanding anxiety. But I also feel like it was kind of smoothed over a lot. It's sugar-coated.  Often Audrey will simply tell us that something has happened instead of walking us through it whilst she's experiencing it, for example her first time on a bus or to the park. I feel like a lot of the positive recovery moments were skipped over in order to make more room for other storylines, including the big storyline with her brother (that I feel took up more page space than it probably needed to).
Audrey's romance with Linus was sweet but was an obviously huge factor in her recovery process, which disappointed me. I just... ugh. I still can't quite find the words to express how I felt about the romance other than.. yeah it disappointed me. The fact that Linus was essentially Audrey's 'key' to recovery. Another book where teens experiencing anxiety will see that the apparent only way to recover is to find a boyfriend. There's no real basis for the connection and Linus is a pretty generic 'dream boy'.
Overall this book was... okay. It was a quick, light read that gives a little look into the world of mental health but it's definitely not as ground-breaking or insightful as it could have been. I feel like younger readers (perhaps between the ages of 11- 14) would enjoy it a lot more as it is quite happy and shiny. I definitely prefer my mental health books to have a lot more grit and realism.
I've decided to award Finding Audrey 2/5 stars.
If you liked Finding Audrey, I think you'd enjoy Girl Online by Zoe Sugg and To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han.

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