Friday, 29 May 2015

Finding Audrey- Sophie Kinsella

The Blurb
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 . . .

The Review

I really wanted to love this book.  Firstly, because it's a YA book about mental health, and the more of those that are out there, the better.  So many young people (and not so young people too) experience anxiety and depression and it's really, really important that protagonists also face these challenges, and overcome them.  The second reason I wanted to love this was because of Sophie Kinsella.  I've been a fan of her writing for many years and thought her fast-paced narrative and distinctive voice would translate well to the YA market.

Audrey is a likeable character.  She's definitely slightly kooky, and not purely because of how her experiences have affected her outlook.  She's part of a crazy family for one thing.  Her Mum lives her life by how the Daily Mail portrays 'normal' and her elder brother Frank believes he can make a living as a professional gamer on the international circuit. 

It's through Frank's love of gaming that Audrey begins to gain confidence.  Slowly and cautiously, she befriends Linus, one of Frank's 'team'.  He understands her, patiently giving her the time and space to reach out when she feels able.  It's touching to read their story and see how Audrey grows in her ability to communicate, trust and, ultimately, love.

So, the story itself was fine.  And I found myself racing through the book, so it obviously had plenty of the trademark zippy dialogue, off-beat characters and slapstick humour for which Kinsella has made her name in the romcom market.

Unfortunately, I just couldn't get past one rather annoying feature- although Finding Audrey is set in Britain, it really does read as though it's American, particularly in the dialogue.  If it was only in some sections, I might have been able to look beyond it, but there were times where I really had to remind myself that this was UKYA.  Maybe it's deliberately been given an American feel to appeal to the US market, I don't know.   But it didn't sit right with me, and to some extent spoilt my enjoyment of Sophie Kinsella's otherwise successful journey into a new genre.

Overall, I'd probably still recommend this book, especially to teen readers.  However, I can't help but wish it had a strong British identity and a traditionally English voice to match the plot.  I didn't love this one...but I'm sure it'll do well.

Finding Audrey is released on June 4th, published by Doubleday.

With thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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