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Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shopaholic series comes a terrific blend of comedy, romance, and psychological recovery, in a contemporary YA novel.

Finding Audrey is Sophie Kinsella’s first foray into the YA world. A quintessential chick- lit writer, Sophie Kinsella takes a different challenge in this book touted by the media as essentially a crossover. I have to admit I hadn’t really read any of the Shopaholic series (although I have been curious about it with all the hoopla surrounding its success). And, perhaps because it’s been coined a chick-lit, I veered away from reaching out for it on the bookshelf. But, when Finding Audrey found it’s way to my mailbox, thanks to Penguin Random House Canada, I was inclined to pay attention. I had heard about this book at the bloggers conference back in February, so it was not a complete surprise to learn that Sophie Kinsella was writing her first YA novel.

The story delves into fourteen-year-old dealing with an anxiety disorder. It’s the aftermath of being bullied in school, but Audrey has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah. When life throws you lemons, make lemonade. Audrey’s recovery takes an unexpected upturn when she meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate. As she connects with him, Audrey is able to 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.

I understand wholeheartedly now why Sophie Kinsella has the following that she has and the reason her books make it onto best-seller lists. She is indeed talented. Her ability to tell a story with such humour and authenticity, while keeping you interested in a genre that’s not your preferred niche, says something about her writing ability. Another fact I didn’t know about Sophie Kinsella is that she also goes by the moniker Madeleine Wickham.

Audrey’s voice is authentic and amusing, and despite being unlike other fourteen-year-old girls, she is exactly like a fourteen-year-old girl her age. Her family also resembles a typical wacky family we can all relate to (although I’m not sure if my mom would really throw my computer out the window because I was obsessed with playing LOC). But it all makes for an authentic compelling story, with a lovely first love relationship that rings true for anyone who has experienced the heartbeat of falling for their first crush.

Innocent, cute and downright relatable (despite the protagonist having an anxiety disorder, wearing dark glasses, confined indoors, and feels the constant need to protect herself from recurring scary moments where her lizard brain takes control), Finding Audrey is a story that everyone can read and find a little bit of themselves in.