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.
Be prepared to laugh, dream and hope with Audrey as she learns that even when you feel like you have lost yourself, love can still find you . . .
Finding Audrey is such an adorable, funny and heartwarming story. I was hooked from the very first page and I couldn’t put it down. The opening of the book just captures your attention – it’s comedic and just perfect. I genuinely laughed out loud so many times while reading this book. I finished it in one sitting.
Audrey is a 14 year old girl who suffers from severe social anxiety and isn’t able to leave the house or make eye contact even with her own family. This book is about her recovery and finding herself again. What I loved most about this book is that it’s not only about Audrey getting better, but her whole family getting better together.
“So we’ll make it work,” I said, as robustly as I could. “Mum, there’s no point in me getting better if things don’t get better for all of us. I mean, we’ve all had a bad time, haven’t we?”
The family elements were my favourite part of the book. Audrey’s family is so supportive of her and they never pushed her or forced her to get better faster. Even her 15 year old brother is very caring and supportive of her, which I find a little bit rare in YA fiction. I loved reading about Audrey’s family and all of the dramas they go through. They have a great family dynamic and I could relate to so many of the things that they went through because my family went through those things too. Such as me sneaking out of bed to chat to my friends on MSN, and my parents threatening to throw out my brother’s computer because he was addicted to computer games 🙂 Audrey’s family was chaotic but so heartwarming to read about.
While the book is about anxiety and recovering from anxiety, I liked that it was still lighthearted and fun. I don’t feel like the book was too focused on the social anxiety – of course it’s still present throughout the novel because that’s what Audrey suffers from but it didn’t focus on the darker aspects of the disorder. There were times when I even forgot that Audrey had anxiety because I was enjoying the family drama so much (It also helped me forget everything I knew about anxiety and just enjoy the story). We also never fully learn about the events that happened to Audrey to trigger her anxiety, but I kind of liked it that way. The book was more about recovery and moving forward than it was about dwelling on the past, which was refreshing, and I didn’t think we needed to know about her past. There were a couple of instances where I thought the book made treatment of anxiety seem very easy, when in fact it isn’t. But at the same time I was really rooting for Audrey and I just wanted her to get better without relapsing.
I know a lot of people have concerns about Audrey recovering from anxiety because she found love (ie. love cures all)… but that was definitely not what happened in this book. She starts to come out of her shell because she is forced to talk to Linus who comes over to her house to game with her brother. They fall in love but it wasn’t the act of falling in love that treated her anxiety. It was the fact that Linus was supportive of her recovery process that pushed her to get better. I also don’t feel like the book was focused on the romance. For me, it was more about recovery and family.
But I have to say, the romance between Audrey and Linus was just the cutest. They are adorable together and Linus is so perfect. He sends her virtual kisses and gives her the nickname Rhubarb. Which brings me to an excerpt that I really want to share – this was probably my favourite scene in the whole book. It had me on the floor laughing. In this scene, Audrey and Linus are at Starbucks but she feels uncomfortable with her name being called across the coffee shop, so he tells her to give a fake name to the barista.
“Yes, that’s my name. Rhubarb.”
“You’re called Rhubarb?”
“Of course she’s called Rhubarb,’ chimes in Linus. “Hey Rhu, do you want anything to eat? You want a muffin, Rhu?”
“No, thanks.” I can’t help smiling.
“OK, Rhu. No problem.”
“Fine. Rhu-barb.” The girl writes it down with her Sharpie. “And you?”
“I would like a cappucino,” says Linus politely. “Thank you.”
“I’ll spell it for you,” he says. “Z-W-P-A-E-N-”
“What?” She stares at him, Sharpie in hand.
“Wait. I haven’t finished. Double-F-hyphen-T-J-U-S. It’s an unusual name,” Linus adds gravely. “It’s Dutch.”
I’m shaking, trying not to laugh.
The Starbucks girl gives us both evil stares. “You’re John,” she says, and scrawls it on his cup.
I loved all of the characters in this book. Even though Audrey is 14, I found it so easy to relate to her. Her voice is very mature and I never saw her as juvenile or immature. I loved reading about her parents. Her mother is obsessed with the Daily Mail and her dad is just wants to keep the peace. Audrey’s 4 year old brother, Felix, is also hilarious and I loved every scene he was in.
I also really liked the formatting of this book. As part of her journey to recovery, Audrey’s psychologist gets her to film a documentary of her family and her life. Because of this, some of the chapters in the book were written as a transcript (kind of like in Me, and Earl, and the Dying Girl). These chapters were a great change in pace and kept the book interesting.
Overall, I really loved Finding Audrey. I thought it was a very heartwarming story about family, love and finding yourself. It was a very hopeful book, with some really great characters that will stay with me for a while.