Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

“I’ve often noticed that people equate ‘having a sense of humor’ with ‘being an insensitive moron.’” –Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Genre: Contemporary YA
Format read: audiobook
Content warnings: bullying (implied), anxiety attacks
Positive rep: mental health (social anxiety, depression
Rating: planchet-5

Audrey has always been a bit quiet. Reserved. Shy.

But after an Incident in March, she’s left unable to function in society. She doesn’t leave the house except for therapy sessions, wears dark glasses even indoors, and has panic attacks at the thought of using the phone, texting, or even emailing.

Her world has shrunk down to the size of a pin, encompassing just her parents and two brothers. Since The Incident, not even her best friend tries to talk to her anymore.

But when her older brother decides to enter a videogame competition and his teammate Linus starts coming over regularly to practice, it turns Audrey’s safe place upside down. Suddenly there’s a stranger in the house, and he’s not familiar with all the unspoken rules the family has adopted to help her cope–like not mentioning her dark glasses, or that the den is off limits to everyone but her.

As Linus starts coming over more often, however, Audrey starts to think he might not be so bad. Certainly not so bad as the people who caused The Incident and left her terrified of people in the first place. In fact, Linus has been challenging her boundaries–in a good way.

The thing I really loved about this book is that while there is a romantic subplot, it’s extremely minor–the story focuses more on the friendship between Linus and Audrey. And while they do get together, it’s not a case of “I’m in love, I’m cured!” Linus helps Audrey build a support system, which then allows her to heal.

I wish I’d had this book back when I was in high school and college. It’s the sort of book I wanted when I was writing The Evie Cappelli Series.

I loved all the characters, including Audrey’s wacky family. With such a closed set, the story really has to be character driven, and Sophie Kinsella does a great job of creating funny, distinct, realistic people to populate Audrey’s life.

My only complaint about this book is that we never get any information about what exactly The Incident is, though in the long run the details don’t really matter. What matters is that Audrey has suffered a trauma, and it is taking her a long time to recover from it.

If you are struggling with mental health, this is a great, light-hearted book to pick up on a bad day.