Wednesday, August 5, 2015

[Review] Finding Audrey - Sophie Kinsella

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"Finding Audrey" by Sophie Kinsella tells the story of teenager Audrey who suffers from an anxiety disorder.

If you asked me who my favorite author was, I'd usually say Sophie Kinsella.

There are very few people that haven't received at least one recommendation from me that was a Kinsella book. With "Finding Audrey", Kinsella makes her YA debut. As a fan of Kinsella's work, I am absolutely disappointed with this.

Over the Top - Not in a Good Way..

Writing about mental illness is not a game. You have to do lots of research. It's very obvious that Kinsella used Audrey's illness as a plot device.
Kinsella's writing style is usually upbeat, funny and sometimes even a little over the top. Paired with a teenager whose anxiety is so severe that she can't even take her sunglasses off at night because she can't stand eye contact, Kinsella's writing makes the story sound ridiculous.
The entire novel just feels like joke. Audrey is defined by her illness and oh surprise, she is miraculously cured when a cute boy enters her life.

This isn't what happens. Mental illness isn't cured instantaneously. Weren't I such a fan of Kinsella, I wouldn't even have bothered to finish it. I read the whole book hoping to receive some kind of explanation, but there simply is none. In general the novel feels very directionless. The first third is about her brother Frank's video game "addiction" and could have just been summed up in a single chapter. There is no common thread in the plot at all.

Target Audience: ????????

After about one chapter I realized that "Finding Audrey" is extremely reminiscent of Kinsella's old works written under her real name Madeleine Wickham. These books are also contemporaries and just like this one lack direction (The Gatecrasher, The Wedding Girl).

The novel may be advertised as a YA contemporary, but to me it's an adult novel. The focus isn't even on Audrey, but on how her family deals with her illness, especially her mother. I think the novel would have been better off having the parents as the protagonists instead of Audrey.

The romance is as instant-love-y as it gets and I don't think it's appropriate for YA, it's more of a MG romance. They meet, they kiss, they fall in love. It's very dull.




Overall: Do I Recommend?

I read this in about a day. The writing is flawless - it's Kinsella. The plot however just made me upset because of the poor inaccuracy and I imagine that this might be pretty offensive to actual mentally-ill readers. I wouldn't recommend it, simply because I don't support poor research when writing about illness.

Additional Info

Original Title: Finding Audrey
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Published: July 27th 2015
Pages: 384
Medium: Paperback
Publisher: cbj
Cover: cbj, 2015
Genre: YA / Contemporary
ISBN:  9783570171486

"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."
(Source: Goodreads)

Have you read good books about mental illness lately?

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