Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella, published by Doubleday Children's Books on 4th June 2015
Audrey can't leave the house. she can't even take off her dark glasses inside the house.
Then her brother's friend Linus stumbles into her life. With his friendly, orange-slice smile and his funny notes, he starts to entice Audrey out again - well, Starbucks is a start.And with Linus at her side, Audrey feels like she can do the things she'd thought were too scary. Suddenly, finding her way back to the real world seems achievable.
'Finding Audrey' is Sophie Kinsella's first young-adult novel. I love all of her other books, especially the Shopaholic series, so I knew immediately that I wanted to read this title. I wasn't sure what to expect, as I didn't know a lot about the subject matter but I ended up thoroughly enjoying it and laughing a lot as I was reading it too.
Wonderfully funny and heart-warming, the story centres around fourteen year old Audrey. Audrey is a fantastic character who I instantly liked. We learn throughout the course of the book that she is suffering from social anxiety disorder after an incident at her school. She can't leave the house, she wears dark glasses all the time and she struggles to make eye contact or even to talk to people she doesn't know. All in all, she is finding things hard going and is struggling to get her life back on track. I actually don't think I've read a book before which deals with this subject matter. I thought that Sophie Kinsella did a great job of portraying Audrey's emotions and feelings and I felt much more informed about the disorder itself and the effect it can have.
Audrey's family are absolutely brilliant. I adored her computer mad brother Frank and I loved the constant battle her Mum has to separate Frank and his beloved computer games. She certainly goes to some extreme lengths but it's always clear that she is doing it because she wants the best for him. Audrey's Mum is quite a larger than life character in the book and is often at the centre of some of the funniest moments in the book. Ultimately, you can see what a close knit family they are and the subtle ways that they are there to support each other.
Frank's friend Linus also helps Audrey to face the world again and I enjoyed seeing the progress that she makes to try and overcome the emotions that she is struggling with. By the end of the story she has undergone a lot of positive changes. Her message is one about facing life's ups and downs and trying to always have the courage to deal with the good and the bad. It's an uplifting story which teaches us to the importance of living without fear.