Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Rating 4 out of 5
Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 7 and up
Publisher: Delacorte Press (June 9, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0553536516 ISBN-13: 978-0553536515
ASIN: B00QDGVFDG (June 4, 2015)

A laugh-out-loud romance from the bestselling author of the Shopaholic series. 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 have to confess I am not a big Kinsella fan. I have read a few of her adult books and found them hit and miss. However I was intrigued to learn she had written a Young Adult novel and that it dealt with mental issues. For me this book was a hit and I think this is one of my favourite Kinsella books.

Personally I think mental issues is a topic that needs to be address more in the media and in publications and not in the "they are mentally disturbed so there for a serial killer" kind of way. Awareness is growing within community but there is still a lot of stigma surrounding people who suffer mental illness. Sophia Kinsella has done a good job of writing about a difficult and poorly understood issue and she made it non-threatening, light hearted and relatable to teens.

Through Audrey's eyes we learn about her life, her struggles to over come her anxiety, and accept who she is. We also learn about the impact her illness has had on her family and how they adjust to her recovery.  It is not a smooth road they are traveling. Kinsella has done a good job of showing how mental illness impacts everyone around the sufferer.

I think this is the major strength of this book. Through Audrey's eyes and her recovery she becomes aware of the impacts on her family. This in turn allows the reader to really understand how mental illness impacts everyone. We also get a good insight into how someone withe anxiety and depression thinks and its not rationally. The reference to 'lizard brain" I thought was prefect as Audrey's way of dealing with her anxiety (it is also a psychological term). I have never suffered from anxiety or depression. However a few of my friends have, and some of the ways they expressed themselves I saw written on the pages as Audrey's thoughts.

The summary makes this book sound a lot lighter then it is. However this is not a heavy or depressing book, it is a positive book, and I will confess to giggling a couple of times. The "laugh-out-loud" part comes from her families antics and dealing with the issues that they are presented with.

While there is a romance of sorts it is a very sweet element to the story. It is also not the main theme of the story but is one of Audrey's drivers. Linus is a good fit for Audrey and I liked their relationship.

I would be curious to learn why Sophie Kinsella chose to write this topic for her Young Adult debut.

This is a great book which tackles a difficult subject in a light-hearted,positive and sensitive way. I think this could be a book that all teens should read to give them a better understanding of people who live with mental illness. I do recommend this book for teenagers and anyone who wants understand mental illness a bit better.

If you would like to read an extract then head over to Sophie Kinsella's website for more.

This review book was provided to me by Netgalley.

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