Original Title: Finding Audrey
Year Published: 2015
Published by: Penguin Random House UK Children’s (an arc was kindly provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)
Number of Pages: 288
First Sentence: “OMG, Mum’s gone insane.“
Goodreads Rating: 3/5
An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can 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 must say I enjoyed this book despite its flaws. It wasn’t a bad read, but there were definitely things in it that made the overall feeling of the book less than ideal.
First things first, Audrey is lovely. I did like her and did sympathise with her and what she had been through. I felt that she was a good main character that any teenager, mental health issues or not, can somewhat relate too.
There are in fact several interesting and fun characters in this book, that work perfectly with Audrey and give the story depth. Her brother is a typical angsty teen but also a sass-master that I adored. Audrey’s father is the type of dad that fumbles around the house and does his best to please his wife whilst siding with the kids.
The mom, on the other hand, is a complete psychopath and ruined parts of the book for me. I have an overall issue with mom’s feeling like they need to control their children’s every waking moment and there is a line between being a concerned parent and being a control freak. This mom is not just a concerned parent and to be honest, I would say that her relationship with her son, Audrey’s brother, almost borders on being abusive. She wasn’t the fun or quirky character Kinsella was aiming for, at least not for me (and no, my mom is an angel if you are wondering). Sure, she has some redemption in the end but it wasn’t enough for me to like her.
I don’t have any experience with mental illnesses, especially not the type Audrey is supposed to suffer from, so I can’t say whether it is realistically portrayed or not. I did feel that it was portrayed as something rather silly at times and that it was more used as a fun plot point rather than educating and showing people what mental illnesses can look like. I did see people on Goodreads comment on this, so if you think that reading about mental health issues might be a problem for you then I recommend reading through the reviews over at GR first. What I did love about how Kinsella portrayed Audrey’s anxiety was that she didn’t magically get better when she met a boy. Now, she slowly recovered, having just as many setbacks as she had successes.
Do I recommend it?
Sure, why not?