Trying to be “normal,” anxiety, video games, and an overactive brain–these are common teenage (and might I say human?) attributes. Sophie Kinsella’s Finding Audrey follows one teen girl’s experience with anxiety and a family overcome by her brother’s video game obsession.
Audrey’s family is a bit strange–her dad is easy going, her mother is controlling and anti-technology, her older brother Frank is obsessed with Land of Conquerors, and her baby brother Felix is easy to please. And Audrey herself is no exception to the qualifier of strange: she can’t really talk to people without severe anxiety, and eye contact? Forget it–that’s what dark sunglasses are for. Life continues to go by in the strange pattern that’s been established until Linus, Frank’s gaming teammate, comes over and talks to Audrey. Suddenly she wants to overcome her anxiety issues to reach a functioning normal. With the help of Dr. Sarah, her therapist, and Linus, Audrey works to broaden her horizons beyond the comfort zone that her “lizard brain” permits. And with Audrey’s healing, perhaps her family’s issues can also begin to heal.
The prose is clever and humorous despite the rather touchy subject of anxiety, plus the text was filled with up-to-date gaming and cultural references that made it easy to relate to the narrative. Also assisting with ease of relating to the narrative is Audrey’s over-thinking and over-analyzing things–I am sooooooo guilty of this one and it really struck a chord with me and made me feel for Audrey’s predicament. I rather enjoyed the narrative being broken up and supplemented by the screenplay script sections as it helped to provide a cinematic aspect to the story and made it incredibly easy to envision the various scenarios.
While I read from an ARC and errors are to be expected, there was a rather large number of grammatical issues that needed to be cleaned up. I also thought that the cover cleverly plays off of the title, as well as the literal and figurative meaning of the title “Finding Audrey.” I will say that one thing that bugged me after reading through the story was the lack of clarity of what the other girls had done that instigated such anxiety in Audrey–I mean, I can imagine what might have happened, but teenage girls can be so creatively vicious that they could have done any number of things and the clarity would have been nice.
Overall, I’d give it a 4 out of 5 stars.