The one-sentence summary of Finding Audrey is: Teen girl uses video camera to heal from depression and anxiety disorder. But while that description is certainly accurate, there is no way to put all the wit, humor, and love in this book into just a few words. In her first foray into young adult literature, Sophie Kinsella has crafted an entertaining story that is quick to read but difficult to forget.
Audrey may have suffered from depression and an anxiety disorder, but she is blessedly free from Main Character Malady, an unfortunate syndrome in which the storyline consists of a protagonist essentially chanting me-me-me-them-me-me. Not once did I feel that Audrey was bratty, whiny, or self-centered. Her health issues were dealt with appropriate gravity, but they did not weigh down the novel. Kinsella dedicates plenty of time to other characters, making sure that Mum and Dad were not just people who served dinner and drove cars.
The subplot of her older brother, Frank’s, video game obsession was amusing and added comic relief. His love of Land of Conquerors is slightly blown out of proportion, but it’s all in good fun. And if the author can add a little message about balancing your time wisely, why not? Of course, the video game competition also introduced the romantic interest, Linus. The “older-brother’s-best-friend” twist is a common trope, but it made sense given that Audrey didn't go to school or hang out outside. Plus, given that there was no angsty love triangle, I can easily overlook the cliche.
One of the book’s brightest charms is its sense of familiarity. Audrey often speaks directly at the reader in a casual tone, so it seems like you’re having a conversation with a friend. British words like “Mum” and “trainers” remind readers of the UK setting. Pop culture staples, like Harry Potter, The Big Bang Theory, and Scott Pilgrim, also fill the story. Those references make it easy to imagine the characters as real people: Mum watching Downton on Sundays; the family munching Doritos and guac; four-year-old Felix adorably singing the songs from Frozen. Either it’s shameless advertising, or Kinsella really knows how to make her readers feel at home.
Finding Audrey is a gem that is perfect for teen girls looking for a realistic yet romantic read that’s packed with laughs, love, and the power of you.