The opening prologue of Finding Audrey - the newest novel from Sophie Kinsella - had me hooked. We're quickly introduced to the Turner family - as they attempt to dissuade Mum from throwing her son Frank's computer out the upstairs window. Dad and younger son Felix are outside, pleading with her to not do it. The last family member is Audrey - who is watching from inside the house with her sunglasses on.
The novel is told from Audrey's view. Her voice and the reason for the dark glasses are immediately compelling....
"The trouble is, depression doesn't come with handy symptoms like spots and a temperature, so you don't realize at first. You keep saying 'I'm fine' to people when you're not fine. You think you should be fine. You keep saying to yourself: 'Why aren't I fine?'"
Kinsella does a fantastic job tackling the issues of anxiety and depression. The exact circumstances that led to Audrey's current situation are never fully detailed - which is perfect. Instead the focus is on Audrey and her progress. And that progress picks up speed when she meets Frank's friend Linus....
I loved this book! I found myself laughing out loud many, many times. And just as many spent on sympathizing with Audrey's plight.
The characters are so engaging. It's impossible not to like Audrey. Her brother Frank's strategies and ploys to circumvent Mum's computer ban are epic. Wee Felix has few lines, but his sweetness is tangible. Dad is a bit of a bumbler and Mum is a bit of hard nose. (It was Mum I had the hardest time liking) But what they all share is a love for Audrey and a desire to help her feel better. Each family member is coping and supporting her in their own way. Linus - well, Linus is lovely. And I truly hope there are teen boys like him out there. Audrey's psychiatrist, Dr. Sarah, was also a great addition to the supporting cast. Her quiet advice is full of many truths.
Finding Audrey is about Audrey finding herself - and realizing that "...life is all about climbing up, slipping down, and picking yourself up again. And it doesn't matter if you slip down. As long as you're kind of heading more or less upwards. That's all you can hope for. More or less upwards."
Kinsella injects her humourous style into her first YA novel, but also handles real and serious issues with a realistic eye. Well done.
Read an excerpt of Finding Audrey. You can connect with Sophie Kinsella on her website, on Twitter and on Facebook.