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Finding Audrey

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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.

286 pages, Hardcover

First published June 4, 2015

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About the author

Sophie Kinsella

112 books38.1k followers
Sophie Kinsella has sold over 40 million copies of her books in more than 60 countries, and she has been translated into over 40 languages.

Sophie Kinsella first hit the UK bestseller lists in September 2000 with her first novel in the Shopaholic series – The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic (also published as Confessions of a Shopaholic). The book’s heroine, Becky Bloomwood – a fun and feisty financial journalist who loves shopping but is hopeless with money – captured the hearts of readers worldwide. Becky has since featured in seven further bestselling books, Shopaholic Abroad (also published as Shopaholic Takes Manhattan), Shopaholic Ties the Knot, Shopaholic & Sister, Shopaholic & Baby, Mini Shopaholic, Shopaholic to the Stars and Shopaholic to the Rescue. Becky Bloomwood came to the big screen in 2009 with the hit Disney movie Confessions of a Shopaholic, starring Isla Fisher and Hugh Dancy.

Sophie has also written seven standalone novels which have all been bestsellers in the UK, USA and other countries around the world: Can You Keep A Secret?, The Undomestic Goddess, Remember Me?, Twenties Girl, I’ve Got Your Number, Wedding Night, and My Not So Perfect Life, which was a Goodreads Choice Awards finalist for Best Fiction in 2017.

In 2014 she published a Young Adult novel Finding Audrey about a teenage girl with social anxiety and her madcap family, and in January 2018, Sophie published her first illustrated book for young readers about the charming adventures of a mother-daughter fairy duo, Mummy Fairy and Me (also published as Fairy Mom and Me).

Sophie’s latest novel, Surprise Me, published in February 2018, presents a humorous yet moving portrait of a marriage—its intricacies, comforts, and complications. Surprise Me reveals that hidden layers in a close relationship are often yet to be discovered.

Sophie wrote her first novel under her real name, Madeleine Wickham, at the tender age of 24, whilst she was working as a financial journalist. The Tennis Party was immediately hailed as a success by critics and the public alike and became a top ten bestseller. She went on to publish six more novels as Madeleine Wickham: A Desirable Residence, Swimming Pool Sunday, The Gatecrasher, The Wedding Girl, Cocktails for Three and Sleeping Arrangements.

Sophie was born in London. She studied music at New College, Oxford, but after a year switched to Politics, Philosophy and Economics. She now lives in London, UK, with her husband and family.

Visit Sophie's Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/SophieKinsell...

* Shopaholic

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5 stars
18,411 (23%)
4 stars
31,476 (39%)
3 stars
21,886 (27%)
2 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 9,748 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,964 reviews294k followers
March 17, 2016
Sophie Kinsella used to be such a guilty pleasure author for me. I haven't read one of her books in years but I always enjoyed reading about the hilarious, ridiculous and unfortunate situations her shopaholic protagonist found herself in.

Finding Audrey, though, could be Kinsella's strongest work to date. It's funny, sweet, heartwarming but also - I felt - an honest look at a teenage girl living with social anxiety.
“They talk about “body language,” as if we all speak it the same. But everyone has their own dialect. For me right now, for example, swiveling my body right away and staring rigidly at the corner means, “I like you.” Because I didn’t run away and shut myself in the bathroom. I just hope he realizes that.”

One of my favourite things about this book is that it's about one of those families - loud, crazy, often torn apart by arguments, but ultimately very close and loving towards one another. The dynamics Kinsella creates between the members of Audrey's family make this book very funny (and sometimes touching too).

Audrey's mother is a neurotic Daily Mail fan who constantly tries to improve her family's lifestyle after reading articles like "The Eight Signs Your Child is Addicted to Computer Games". She's comical, infuriating, but still lovable. Audrey's Dad reluctantly tries to enforce the rules his wife establishes, but he really just wants to keep the peace and watch Downton Abbey. Audrey's older brother Frank is obsessed with a game called LOC (similar to World of Warcraft) and this causes many hilarious arguments with his mum. And then there's Audrey.

Audrey is suffering from a severe anxiety disorder. She can hardly bear to leave the house and gets upset whenever Frank's gamer friends come around. However, she does begin to establish a way of communicating through paper notes with one of Frank's friends - Linus. Who, by the way, is so freaking adorable.

One of my main concerns when I started this book was that it would turn into another "love cures mental illness" tale. I hate that damaging and untrue message. But, though Linus offers support and friendship to Audrey, the author doesn't allow that message to seep through. Kinsella shows recovery from mental illness as a long process of two steps forward and one step back. Even at the novel's close, Audrey has not been miraculously cured.

I liked that. I liked that the book was a good balance of light-hearted silly humour and hard realism. It was really effective.

Very enjoyable and touching book.

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Profile Image for Jesse (JesseTheReader).
468 reviews169k followers
August 27, 2015
THIS WAS SUCH A GOOD BOOK. I appreciated the fact that it was a light hearted book that still dealt with a serious topic like mental illness and did it in a respectful way! BLESS YOU SOPHIE KINSELLA.
Profile Image for Hailey (Hailey in Bookland).
611 reviews87.5k followers
July 28, 2017
Update: I reviewed/finished this a few days ago after having read it all in one day but as I sit here and plan the review and think about it more I realize it's not a 3 star read, but more of a 2 star read for me so I have lowered my rating accordingly.

This was okay. I found it didn't really get going for a while and that sometimes the focus was more so on the brother than on Audrey. But overall the writing was good, the characters were alright, so it was just an average read. Didn't love it or hate it.
Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
317 reviews116k followers
February 13, 2018
I did enjoy my time with this book, but I feel I did not enjoy it as much as my peers. I have had Finding Audrey on my radar for an immensely long time due to it being one of the only YA books I've found to deal with social anxiety, specifically, and while I was pleased with the mental health rep, I found the majority of the rest of the book to be lacking.

The glowing element of this story is absolutely the representation for social anxiety. Audrey is diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder and clinical depression. As someone who has dealt with anxiety and depression for most of my life, I can happily say this book contains an accurate depiction. I love how true of a portrayal this novel is - Social anxiety is not only being afraid to talk on phones, not feeling comfortable in crowds, or having trouble making new friends. It affects all of your interpersonal relationships and makes daily tasks like making eye contact, eating in front of others, or leaving the house almost impossible. (As a note, I've seen a few reviews suggesting Audrey also deals with agoraphobia because she does not leave her home often. As we are given Audrey's official diagnosis in the beginning on the novel and the fact that the fear of leaving her home is not due to a fear of not having an escape in case of disaster but rather her fear of social interaction & judgement from others, I would not consider this book to have representation for agoraphobia, though many who do live with this illness may find some comfort in Audrey's story regardless.) I liked the focus on that an event may have triggered Audrey's anxiety, but it is primarily a chemical imbalance that she has always lived with - it's not only tied to an incident at school. Though this book perfectly displays what it is like to have social anxiety and depression, Audrey is still more than just her illnesses and I feel this book properly showcases the struggle that million of people go through. I also loved that Audrey's treatment was a central theme of the story, and although I'm always unhappy to see YA books demonize the use of medication to treat mental illness, this novel left a strong enough positive message that I can accept it. I've seen a lot of reviews suggest that Audrey recovers "too quickly" which I personally disagree with. I feel this book follows her struggle, her efforts to take control of her anxiety and work past her issues, and ultimate progress. Audrey is in no way "cured" by the end of this novel, she is still struggling despite her improvements and I believe those improvements would be inspiring to make teens in similar situations. If you're looking for a book that deals with social anxiety, I can't recommend Finding Audrey enough.

I liked the romance - I don't feel it is anything special, but I was happy to see a supportive love interest that helps the main character in their recovery, yet isn't attributed to as the sole reason they begin to get better. Linus was probably my second favorite character for that reason. I also liked Audrey's brother, Frank, but I don't feel he had a huge contribution to the story. I struggled very hard with Audrey's mother; She is the type of helicopter parent that believes they are doing what is best for their child while simultaneously harming them, and while this is absolutely a real parental role that many teens have to live with, she made the majority of the book extremely unbearable. I don't feel we had enough development on Audrey's father for me to have strong feelings, and apart from being the cute younger brother who acts as comic relief, Felix also isn't a memorable character for me.

On the other hand, I didn't love many other aspects of this book. The plot was really lacking - other than it being the story of Audrey dealing with her illnesses, not much happens in this book. I found it very boring at times with a weak driving force. If you are looking for a book with a well-developed plot, I don't believe this is the book for you. I also felt there was too large of a focus on being addicted to video games - At times, it felt as if their mother's obsession with Frank's video game usage overtook the focus on Audrey's story. It wasn't enjoyable and felt gimmicky, making a large portion of the story to be very hard to get through.

Additionally, the incident that mostly triggered Audrey's illnesses was never really addressed. We can assume it has something to do with her past classmates and bullying. It is built up to be this huge issue that the school failed to take control of, yet we are never exposed to what it actually is. I understand some authors choose to not include information like this as "the actual event doesn't matter", but it made the book extremely anti-climatic and left me very unsatisfied. It felt lazy and unfinished, I think an actual anecdote about what happened would have strengthened the story.

Overall, I'm very pleased I read this book because of the mental health rep, but I can't find any other notable elements of praise. If you're looking for books with social anxiety, I think it's worth giving a shot. If you're not, I'm sure you'd find more enjoyment in a different read.
Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
593 reviews3,541 followers
March 3, 2016
4.5 stars

"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 upward."

Sophie Kinsella is on my auto-buy list. Her books are like literary sunshine. They're sweet, heartwarming, and never fail to coax a laugh out of me.

Finding Audrey is no exception—with a twist.

The critical reader in me hates it. At the beginning of the book, Audrey needs to wear sunglasses and can't leave the house because of her anxiety. When a stranger walks into her room, she immediately has a panic attack:

"My chest is starting to rise in panic. Tears have already started to my eyes. My throat feels frozen. I need to escape. I need-- I can't--"

But halfway through, with no loved ones by her side, she's able to make the 20-minute walk from her house to Starbucks. Busy, bustling Starbucks with its lines and irritable screenplay writers hogging seats.

Can you guess how Audrey does it? Yup, you guessed it:

Motherfucking love. Because love is the answer to everything. We don't need no food or money as long as we have love! Love can solve mental illness because fuck reality.

Now I'm even more mad at this book because it made me look up Justin Bieber gifs.

Linus, the love interest, feels like a Maniac Pixie Dream Boy. His romantic interest in Audrey has no base. They meet a handful of times in which Audrey flees from him like a startled deer and exchange a few cute notes and then he's utterly head over heels for her.

Let's be realistic: being in a romantic relationship with a mentally ill person is a lot of work, especially since Audrey's anxiety is quite severe. I'm not saying it's not possible or they don't deserve happily ever afters, but the way it's presented in this book makes me cringe. Black Iris does a fantastic job of charting the highs and lows of falling in love with a bipolar person, while Finding Audrey sugarcoats it.

That aside, I enjoy the overall message that anxiety is not something that can be footed in a day. It takes time and hard work and often, one step forward results in two steps backward. Kinsella accurately demonstrates how anxiety can weigh on familial relationships, which is lovely.

Let's not forget the humor:

Dad (Voice-over): A PARTY? Are you serious?

Mom: Why not? It would be fun. We used to throw him some lovely parties.

Dad: When he was EIGHT. Anne, do you know what teenage parties are like? What if they knife each other and have sex on the trampoline?

Basically, my thoughts towards Finding Audrey can be summed up in one Taylor Swift gif:

I know I shouldn't, but I love it anyway.


An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life.

Damn, Kinsella foraying into YA and writing about a serious subject at the same time?

Profile Image for Ryan.
51 reviews376 followers
December 10, 2016
"The trouble is, depression doesn't come with handy symptoms like spots and a temperature, so you don't realize it 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?"

This is going to be one long-ass review, everyone.

Let me just preface this by saying one reason why I love this book so much is because of how personal the topic is to me. Some of this review will be a ramble-y description of my experiences with anxiety (which I will put in a spoiler tag at the very end).

"To put you out of your misery, here's the full diagnosis: Social Anxiety Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder, and Depressive Episodes.
Episodes. Like depression is a sitcom with a fun punch line each time. Or a TV box set loaded with cliffhangers. The only cliffhanger in my life is "Will I ever get rid of this shit?" and believe me, it gets pretty monotonous.

Finding Audrey is a book that I didn't expect to love as much as I did. I was expecting a typical mental illness contemporary, where the MC has something "wrong" with them, meets some love interest, is miraculously cured, and then goes to make-out or have sex, or whatever the fuck with their insta-lover. This was nothing like that. This was a humourous, hard-hitting story about the realities of living with a mental illness. Not the romanticized, bullshit versions authors keep putting out.


Can we just take a moment to appreciate the accurate portrayal of anxiety and mental illness here? Like:

"Eye contact is a big deal. It's the biggest deal. Just the thought makes me sick, right down to my core.
I know in my rational head that that eyes are not frightening. They're tiny little harmless blobs of jelly. They're, like, a minuscule fraction of our whole body area. We all have them. So why should they bother me? But I've had a lot of time to think about this, and if you ask me, most people underestimate eyes. For a start, they're powerful...They're like vortexes, too. They're infinite. You look someone straight in the eye and your whole soul can be sucked out in a nanosecond. That's what it feels like. Other people's eyes are limitless and that's what scares me."


"It's all my fault, my stupid, stupid fault...
My thoughts are speeding up and my pace is speeding up too, and I'm pulling at my arms, pulling at the flesh of my forearms, trying to...I don't know.. I don't understand it. I glance in the mirror and flinch at my own wild stare. I can feel a weird sparking all over my body, like I'm more alive than I should be, like my body is
over-loaded with life force. Can you have too much life stuffed into one body? Because that's what this feels like. And everything's too fast. My heart, my thoughts, my feet, my clawing arms..."


I applaud you, Sophie Kinsella.

"I'll do anything. I'll stack the dishwasher. I'll phone Grandma every night. I'll..." He casts wildly about. "I'll read to deaf people."
Read to deaf people? Can he actually hear what he's saying?"


Even though this book deals with such a heavy topic, it is still incredibly funny. I'm a fairly easy person to make laugh, so I don't know how credible my word is, but I found this book nothing short of hilarious.


"Parents have this way of asking really dumb, obvious questions.
Are you going out in that skirt?
No, I'm planning to take it off as soon as I get out of the front door.

Do you think that's a good idea?
No, I think it's a terrible idea, that's why I'm doing it.

Are you listening to me?
Your voice is a hundred decibels, I can hardly avoid it."

Audrey's family is another thing I loved. Her anti-video game mom, her lovably naive little brother, her clueless father, and her video game obsessed brother were absolutely wonderful. Not only in their endless support of Audrey, but in their dynamic. They seemed like a real family. Hell, they kind of seemed like my family, and in more ways than one.

"I've gone up a level. That's the only way I can describe it. (...) Yes, I've had one bad episode, but I didn't sink quite as low. Things weren't quite as dark."

Linus and Audrey *fangirls* They're so fucking cute. I loved how Linus wasn't the cure-all end-all to Audrey's anxiety. Sure, he helped a bit, but meeting him didn't "save her life." She helped herself, with the aid of her family and therapist. Even in the end, Audrey's not 100% fine, and that's okay. No one's fine, really, if you think about it. After all, "I'm not okay, you're not okay, and that's okay." - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

"I guess Mum was right about the jagged graphs thing. We're all on one. Even Frank. Even Mum. Even Felix. I think what I've realized is, 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 that you can hope for. More or less upwards."

Profile Image for Warda.
1,154 reviews18.4k followers
April 7, 2020
So I think my feelings have slightly changed towards this book. The initial fondness or attachment I had isn’t there anymore.

But it was hilarious, it was messy, the parents were irritating beyond belief but I adored them. The social anxiety rep was okay. I did want more focus on it, but I appreciated that we also got to see Audrey in her own messy element, with her family and challenging her social anxiety.


[4.5] This was amaaaazing! I wasn't expecting to actually love it. Just like it more or less. But I couldn't help but actually fall in love with this book.

In true Kinsella style, it was hilarious! Throughout the whole book I was actually laughing out loud to myself. Way too many times. I loved the family. They were genuine, real, supportive and a mess.

The main character suffers from social anxiety and it follows her journey of trying to overcome it. I loved the overall message, the writing and in general, the whole story. We get to see the protagonist progress but also suffer from a few setbacks and learning to deal with her situation.

I wish there was more. More development to the anxiety Audrey deals with, the story and the characters, but it does make for a lighthearted read with a message.

Definitely recommend this.
Profile Image for Lindsey Rey.
286 reviews2,705 followers
June 9, 2015
Sophie Kinsella does it again! If you want a great mental health book, THIS. IS. IT. So therapy and medication positive, along with being positive in general, I love it!
Profile Image for emma.
1,823 reviews48.6k followers
April 21, 2018
this was, like, the weirdest ever.

who knew that sophie kinsella would write YA? who knew that sophie kinsella would write YA, and then it would follow a 14-year-old girl suffering from immense social anxiety?

one thing we did know, though, is that if sophie kinsella were to write a YA contemporary it would, of course, have a massive romance. that goes without saying.

i liked the mental health rep in this a lot. it was everything else that was kind of meh for me. the romance was very insta-love-y, and almost...manic pixie dream boy? like this kid linus comes in from out of nowhere and is very flat and we know very little about him and then he just HEALS audrey and like. that's it. she has a bit of a flare up but that's it, and everything is very quickly wonderful.

so audrey has social anxiety, right, and she wears dark sunglasses pretty much all the time in order to avoid eye contact. and linus, boy wonder/boyfriend of the year, is like. "just take them off!" and she's like, it's not that simple. (which, good. in real life it's not.) and he's like, can't it be that simple if you want it to? and she's all, no. (correct answer.) but then by the end of the book it's like wait actually?? yes.

is any of this making sense? i'm full on rambling.

anyway. the family was very cartoonish (obsessive mom, out of it dad, very very childish four year old brother, video game-obsessed elder brother). the whole thing felt very disconnected, like a series of vignettes? it was really short and weird.

bottom line: i liked audrey's voice. i liked the mental health rep. everything else FAILED THOSE TWO THINGS IMMENSELY.
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,030 reviews1,046 followers
March 22, 2016

Adorable alert! And I’m not even talking about the romance because although there may be a little romance, it’s not really romance-romance. It’s still more about friendship. You’ll understand what I mean (although I still would have better appreciated it had the main characters been a bit older) when you read the book.

The novel made me laugh so much from the first page till the very end. I enjoyed everything about it which is a wonderful surprise because this is a story about a girl (Audrey) diagnosed with SAD aka Social Anxiety Disorder and it’s supposed to be depressing or just sad but because the story focuses on how Audrey conquers her depression which becomes less of a challenge everyday with a loving (even though chaotic), hilarious family and a very helpful, cute boy called Linus behind her every step of the way, the overall tone of the story is really light and comfy and the message very inspiring too. The creative writing format is also a huge contributor to the overall bright and positive impact of the novel.

More than anything, it’s the perfect picture of a regular mess of a family (complete with a 14 year old queen of overreaction who always wears a pair of dark glasses, a computer game 15 year old addict but a real genius called Frank, the cutest, fluffy four year old boy Felix, a loud, overly involved, hyper mom and a handsome but comic dad who always agrees with the hyper mom) that I loved the most about the novel. Stereotypes much? Maybe, but they don’t make the story less true!

This is too cute! The contemporary references, the hilarious parent-child confrontations/battles, everything is just so current and spot on! Sophie Kinsella is an expert on teenagers and the crises that both parents and teens confront during this formidable stage in a person’s life. You can’t help but adore the way the subject was tackled and how it impresses upon the reader that everyone goes through a state of depression. But as in any case, we have a choice and when our choices are steered by how they will affect the people we love, we’re usually guaranteed to choose for the better.

Quote highlight:

“Eyes are like vortexes. They’re infinite. You look someone straight in the eye and your whole soul can be sucked out in a nano-second.”

Thanks to my young and sweet friend Ricah for her lovely review that inspired me to read the book. Also, happy birthday, young one! Enjoy your special day! <3
Profile Image for April (Aprilius Maximus).
1,093 reviews6,577 followers
December 1, 2015
Watch my video review or read on for the written review :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mD7V...
Thank you so much to Doubleday Children's for sending me this book!
I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book! At first I was so excited for it because it sounded perfect for me because when I was Audrey's age, I had actually gone through something freakishly similar to her in this book! But then again, I had issues with it that I was hoping wouldn't arise but unfortunately I couldn't ignore.
I'll start off by saying that a lot of things about Audrey and this book were so similar to me that I was freaking out a little bit. Like, Sophie Kinsella, did you steal my diary from when I was 14 or what? When I was 14, I was bullied and had a really rough time in high school, so much so that I couldn't go to school, or even leave my own house (all of which happens to Audrey). I also developed a relationship with a boy who helped me greatly and moved schools (like Audrey plans to do). IS THAT NOT FREAKY?
Anyway, Sophie Kinsella's writing style is great because it reads like one of those comedy tv shows and it also contains film scripts and notes that speed up and enhance the reading experience!
Moving on to the many things that I had issues with:
- The fact that you never find out what happened in detail to cause her anxiety to dictate her mind.
- The unrealistic and stereotyped parental figures. Her mother was the typical "video games are bad for you and you need to play outside because that's what I did when I was younger" except exaggerated TIMES A THOUSAND. Her father was a classic 'always on his blackberry and never hears what his wife says and just agrees with everything she says' kinda guy and I found them to be REALLY unrealistic. I mean, I'm sure there are parents out there that are like this, but to the extent where I found myself questioning how exaggerated these stereotypes were was ridiculous.
- The insta-love. Now, I understand that at Audrey's age, you get into a relationship and you're telling each other you love them straight away (I know, because I did that too. Oh how silly I was!) but I thought it was a bit strange that one minute Audrey was having such bad anxiety that she couldn't look him in the eye or even face him and the next minute they're making out? It just didn't make that much sense to me, especially coming from someone who has experienced severe anxiety at that age and throughout my entire life.

It had its cute moments but I wouldn't recommend it. I really wish I could have loved it :(
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
916 reviews13.9k followers
September 5, 2016
I'm impressed with how much I enjoyed this! I've heard so much praise about Sophie Kinsella's writing, and I adored it! It's very reminiscent of The Fault in our Stars with the entire sassy "omg whatever" teenager type narration, a sarcastic YA trope that I thought I was hate but ended up actually chuckling at a couple of times. The characters in this book were phenomenal. Audrey's family is hilarious and every character was so well-written and real; I adored them all even though everyone had their own quirks! But Audrey's anxiety disorder rubbed me the wrong way. The book says that a certain event at school triggered it, but it never told us what that event was. There was a huge build-up and never a reveal of what happened. The aftermath was so severe, I'm having trouble putting together the pieces of what happened. Furthermore, I'm baffled that she is able to recover so quickly and spontaneously as soon as she and Linus become friends. I've heard people complain about this book saying anxiety can't be fixed by a relationship, and I have to agree. I think her recovery was too quick-- and the pace of this book just went too fast in general; there was a very unrealistic jump from "omg don't enter the same room as me" to "omg let's make out."
I'm just left confused because i'm not entirely sure what disorder she had, why, and how she was able to recover so quickly. Nevertheless, I'm excited to try other Sophie Kinsella books that don't butcher mental health issues.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Kat Kennedy.
475 reviews16.2k followers
July 5, 2015
The story is about Audrey who suffers from Social Anxiety Disorder. Audrey is convalescing at home after a particularly bad episode brought on by some bullying at school when Linus enters her life and helps to drag her out of her cage.

At least, that’s what the blurb would have you think. But the truth is it’s Audrey, her doctor and a bit of prodding from Linus that really sees Audrey on the path to recovery – and for someone who keeps dark glasses on and can’t stand to speak to anyone outside her family, that path is very, very steep.

Where this book really shines is Audrey’s family and their day-to-day interactions. Believe me when I say they are hysterically funny and add a much needed character and charm to the story.

It’s heartwarming, sweet and very readable with good writing and a solidly paced story.

Get into it, people!

This is just a short review since I did a video review of it. But I'm not going to tell you where because it's horrible.
Profile Image for Grace (BURTSBOOKS).
153 reviews354 followers
January 23, 2018
This is the worst book I’ve ever read.

Okay, objectively I know that I’ve read much worse books. The writing and plot of this book are not the worst I’ve ever read and it’s readable unlike some other books I’ve read but I didn’t hate those as much as I hate this. I hate this book. And yes, I know hate is a strong word and I shouldn’t waste my energy on hating a book when that energy could go to reading books that I will end up loving but this book hurt me. This book offended me so deeply and there’s no other word to use. I hate it. I hate the way it’s made me feel.

Finding Audrey is about a girl who is so crippled by her anxiety that she can’t leave her house. She hasn’t been to school in months because of extenuating circumstances, hasn’t talked to any of her classmates or friends, can’t even look her family members in the eye… until she meets her brother’s friend, Linus and then she magically gets better…. Or something.

I really thought I was going to relate to this book.

Tragically, I was recommended this book by my therapist, who I was seeing for anxiety…. So, yeah, I was expecting this book to be good rep and hopefully give me some sort of comfort and a story to look to for hope when my anxiety got the best of me. I didn’t get that. This book is a sorry excuse for representation and I can not believe how atrociously the author handled this topic.

I think it goes without saying that the ‘boy fixes girl’ trope is over done and highly problematic and just unrealistic. Not to mention in this book it makes absolutely no sense. It all happens so fast; you can’t even call what Audrey goes through development. The plot progression is stilted and the character development suffers because of it. For example, one minute, Audrey can’t talk to Linus at all, doesn’t want him in the house and has to write notes in order to speak to him and the next they’re making out. I’m not joking, on the same exact page she can’t look at him and then one paragraph later they are swapping spit. Or, she can’t leave the house and then she’s going to Starbucks. Granted she does panic over this. The whole way to Starbucks she’s panicking and then we get to Starbucks and she can easily talk to the barista without so much as a batted eye…. I don’t get it. Or even better, Linus tells her to go talk to random people at Starbucks and she just does it…? And then feels better afterwards and can do it again and again. I’m sorry but that’s not how anxiety works. Just because you manage to do something that causes you anxiety once doesn’t mean the anxiety goes away the next time you try to do it… it’s always there and portraying it as this thing that can be so easily overcome is really insensitive.

Not to mention, we don’t get to know Linus at all. I’m not kidding, I couldn’t even tell you if he has any siblings. All we know is that he plays video games and he’s Audrey’s brothers friend. His literal only purpose is to “fix” Audrey. He’s only there to kiss her and tell her to talk to random people and congratulations, she’s cured.

I really don’t understand why people like this book…. Not only is it terrible representation, it’s just not interesting and the writing is bland. Yes, this is just my opinion and you can like what you like but why?

So yeah. I wish I never read this book. Even though I understand that this book is unrealistic and wrong, it really pains me that a lot of people younger than me will go into this book expecting representation and a form of hope and come out with 1) an unrealistic expectation that one person can cure you 2) an even more unrealistic expectation that recovery will be fast and seamless.

This is just so so wrong. 1) Romance is already so toxic in a lot of media forms and the idea that a romantic interest (in this case, like most cases, a man) can fix something as ingrained as anxiety is a terrifying and damaging idea to be perpetuating to young girls. 2) Anxiety, like all mental illness, is life long struggle and it doesn’t just go away. Our anxieties will always be there, they are a part of life but as we recover, we learn how to deal with our anxieties more and I wish YA authors understood this better. Just once I want a book about a realistic recovery. I want to read about a character learning how to live their best life and learning ways to deal with their mental illness in healthy and careful ways… I don’t want to read about someone being fixed by some dude. I want them to learn how to help themselves and in turn help readers learn to help themselves.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
August 20, 2020
Finding Audrey, Sophie Kinsella

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.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز هفتم ماه آگوست سال 2018 میلادی

عنوان: در جست‌و‌جوی آدری‏؛ نویسنده سوفی کینسلا‬‏‫؛ مترجم: سپیده پوراکبر‬‏‫؛ ویراستار نسیم بذرافشان؛ تهران‏‫: ابوعطا، کتاب‌های بادبادک‏‫، 1396؛ در 344ص؛ شابک 9786001702870؛ چاپ دوم 1397؛ موضوع: ‬داستانهای نویسندگان بریتانیایی - سذه 21م

در جستجوی آدری؛ با طنزی هنرمندانه، دلبستگی، و بهبود شرایط روانی شخصیت اصلی داستان را، به تصویر میکشد، به نحویکه میتواند برای تمامی خوانشگران الهامبخش و سرگرم کننده باشد.؛ «آدری» دختریست چهارده ساله، که اختلال اضطراب، زندگی روزمره ی او را، مختل کرده است.؛ او به یاری روانپزشک خویش، «دکتر سارا»، پیشرفتی آهسته، ولی پیوسته، به سوی بهبودی داشته است، ولی وقتی با «لینوس»، دوست برادرش، دیدار میکند�� این پیشرفت دوچندان میشود.؛ «آدری» میتواند در مورد ترسهایش به «لینوس» بگوید، و او را در جریان مشکلات خویش بگذارد.؛ راهکارهایی که «لینوس» به منظور مواجهه با ترس، در اختیار «آدری» میگذارد، سبب میشود روند بهبود او سرعت بیشتری پیدا کرده، و او بتواند گام به گام از محدوده ی امن خود خارج شده، و با دنیای خارج، که روزی برای او بسیار مخوف و هراسناک بود، ارتباط برقرار کند

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 29/05/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Irena BookDustMagic.
617 reviews499 followers
August 7, 2020
4,5 stars!

Once again, Sophie Kinsella reminded me why am I still so in love with reading books.
If you didn't know, Kinsella is the one who got me into reading in the first place. With her Shopaholic series she showed me reading can be fun and now, years after reading her first book, I still enjoy spending my free time with a good book in my hands (or on my Kindle).

When I first heard she was about to publish a novel in my favorite genre, I just knew I had to read it immediately.
I had a great feeling about Finding Audrey and I was not wrong.

In her recognizable style that consists humor, Kinsella writes about serious topics such as anxiety and abusement.
I imagine it must have been hard work to touch those serious topics and stay true to her writing style without overdoing the fun parts and diverge from the direction the story was going to. She managed it very well.

Audrey, our main character, was a great narrator. She talked about her problems not quite openly but opened herself one step at the time trough the story. I liked that a lot. Even though she had some serious things on her way, it didn't suppress her sense of humor.
I think the reason she was hiding behind the dark glasses was justified and I liked that part about her.

What I liked the most in this story were Audrey's parents. They were like a fresh scent in the air in the YA genre which is full of dysfunctional families.

Frank was my favorite. I liked his obsession with video games and his adaptability when it comes to playing them.

Linus was an okay character. Very patient and likeable but I wish there were just something more about him that would make him more distinguish from all of love interests I was reading about in other books. I feel like I'm still missing that final touch that would make him get under my skin.

I also wish there were more situations with Felix.

The reason I didn't give this book a full five star rating is (HERE COMES THE SPOILER PART)

If you like Sophie Kinsella's previous work, and if you like YA genre, you will (probably) definitely like this book.

It was a quick, easy read, perfect to read in one sitting for those who actually can read the book in one sitting.

I wish you all A-GREAT-TIME reading it!! :)

I got a copy of this book via Netgalley for free in an exchange for an honest review. Thank you Penguin Random House UK Children's.
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
841 reviews3,774 followers
February 15, 2021

Okay, first : I love Kinsella's works (thought it was important to say write). Now, her books are the first ones I read in English, so, you know, I might need to reread them some day (I mean duh. I'm not a language snowflake). Anyway : Kinsella? She gets my humor. I mean not me me, but you get it right? Her books make me laugh. They're refreshing. Like candies. Okay, maybe not like candies - Well, let's say that they put me in the Kinsella bubble.

What is it? Just look, it's just like life, but it's fun :

Because what I love even more in them is the undercurrent of reality they hide behind the laughs. This is something that works for me, because I'm not (well, rarely) a full-angst girl. I just can't. I read a book filled with angst and I just want to bang my head on the wall you know? So, Kinsella? Perfect. I know that some readers found shocking that she could deal with such a heavy issue - Audrey's anxiety disorder - in a funny way. I'm not, not one bit, because it stays respectful. Full of empathy. Honest. True. And it shows something that I find necessary : people aren't their disorder. They're not entirely defined by it. Yes, it's important.

Audrey suffers from an anxiety disorder : she can neither leave the house nor stare into people's eyes. Actually I'm with her on this : eyes scare me too. I mean, she does have a point : when you look carefully at people you give them the power and the means to stare back. I hate when strangers stare right into my eyes. I'm not shy or anxious. My eyes are just my personal space. Leave it. I also hate when people I don't know touch me. Like for real. Did you need to touch my arm to ask me what time is it? Hell no you didn't. It's not that I don't like people - I'm comfortable enough - but I like my personal space more. Anyway. Audrey. I loved her. She was witty, realistic and relatable. She made me laugh and yeah, tear out a bit at some point. Even if it's not always easy, she fights, she never gives up and I loved that about her. For me, she's brave.

► It's not a secret that I love family dynamics when they're done well. SPOILER ALERT : They are. Every member of the family is flawed but so endearing and supportive, I spent such a great time following them.

● Felix made me miss my Kindergarten teaching years : 4 years old is such a great age. Really. They're happy all the time (except when they're not, but then, it's short).

● Frank the gamer : I feel you. Go explain to people that no, gaming doesn't make you crazy. Sigh. He completely won me with his witty comments.

● By the way, I'm so going to throw this book at my mum. Yes, kindly (is that what you think of me? Come on). Indeed Audrey's mum Daily Mail obsession cracked me up, and yes, I can relate. Here's how our mother-daughter phone calls go :

Mum : Have you bought curcuma/vitamines/royal jelly/magical product as I told you?
Anna : [awkward silence when I try to remember why the fuck I'm supposed to buy that] Hmm not yet (I mean, come on)
Mum : But you need it! There's plenty of [add some information about how it's gonna boost my health] in it. I saw this [show/paper/documentary] the other day and [add some descriptions about how freaking amazing this stuff is]
Anna : Okay. I'll do it. (not really)

Two days later

Mum : Have you bought [add magical product sub-mentioned] as I told you?
Anna : Yes (not really)
Mum : I'm sure you're already feeling better right?
Anna : I guess. So, [add some topic changer - You name it. Any word, really]

I love my mum. But yeah, that's kind of exhausting. And the magnesium. OMG, the magnesium. But reading about this kind of character? Hilarious. Mum, I'm writing a book about you (not really).

Love interest? Adorable. Smile-inducing. I have no idea why I'm writing one-word sentences. I might be lazy. Major information : he write notes. End of story.

Just a thing : Linus? What's this name? I kept thinking "Linux" and that was just so weird *shakes head*

● I already stated that I loved when authors used different writing formats and lucky me! Kinsella does it all the time : messages, notes, movie script : I eat that stuff, and Finding Audrey was right up my alley.

● Oh, and - the dialogues are fantastic and feel real. Hilarious. I know, I have to stop using that word. Someday (not when I talk about Kinsella)

Let's have a little brainstorming okay? (God. I hate that word. My fellow French use it all the freaking time for no reason. Hello, remue-méninges, you people)

That's it. Is that really a brainstorming? Fuck if I know (in fact I do. It's not. Not really. I mean. Who cares?)

"I think what I've realized is, 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."

Such a great journey to follow. And sorry for the messy review but I did warn you didn't I?

For more of my reviews, please visit:
Profile Image for ✨ A ✨ .
427 reviews1,727 followers
October 22, 2021
“But I'm sick of this bloody jagged graph. You know, two steps up, one step down. It's so painful. It's so slow. It's like this endless game of snakes and ladders." And Mum just looked at me as if she wanted to laugh or maybe cry, and said, "But Audrey, that's what life is. We're all on a jagged graph. I know I am. Up a bit, down a bit. That's life.”

Audrey struggles with many things. The after effects of something that happened at school has left her unable to brave the outside world, or talk to strangers and she wears sunglasses even indoors. The day she's set to return to school is soon approaching and now Audrey wants her life back. With the help if her therapist and her brothers friend Linus she starts to break out of her comfort zone.

I absolutely loved the humour and family aspect of this book. The mother was intense and annoying sometimes, but mostly I found her arguments with Audrey's brother, Frank, supremely funny.

There were parts that made me laugh so hard, I almost cried. I loved Felix and Audrey's dad most.

As I said, I adored the humour but I also wished more of the story was concentrated on Audrey and her struggles. I couldn't fully connect with Audrey because we don't actually know what happened to her. An incident which started all this keeps getting referred to, and even Audrey hints at it, almost tauntingly, but it's never explained!??!

I'd totally read a book about her families shenanigans. They're just too funny.

This was my first Kinsella book, and I kind of get why her books are so popular. This was quick and fun. I highly recommend the audiobook, the narrator did a fantastic job.

I've been assured that this book will make me laugh. Buddy reading with this crew: Warda, Türkan, Fares and Karima — so we can all laugh together!
Profile Image for Chantal .
337 reviews826 followers
September 6, 2015
There are two things I think we can all agree on when it comes to books dealing with mental health:
1) We want more of them because it is such an important issue and isn’t talked about enough
2) Mental health books will ALWAYS be polarizing

There are two reasons for the second point:
a) A book deals with the heavy issue in a very serious manner and appears to be quite “dark”
b) The author decides to take a more humorous approach and pairs a heavy topic such as mental health with a writing style and story that is more fluffy

Which of these you prefer completely depends on your personal interpretation of a book and your experience with the topic that the story is dealing with. In my opinion, both choices are equally valid, as long as the author stays respectful.

In Finding Audrey, Sophie Kinsella chose to take route b and for me personally this worked very well. I found the novel to be heartfelt and charming, at times funny, at others poignant and always honest. It is a feel-good novel that will make you laugh out loud; certainly fluffy and light but never offensive.

The story follows 14-year-old Audrey who suffers from severe social anxiety which results in her not being able to leave the house or interact with anyone outside of her immediate family. She constantly wears sunglasses (even inside her own house) because making eye contact with people triggers panic attacks.
Interestingly, it isn’t a story about bullying or what caused her to feel this way, but instead it focuses on healing and recovery.

All the characters in this novel were delightful. Audrey’s family was so lovable and realistic, kind of crazy at times but that made them even more relatable. The family dynamics were extremely well done and Audrey was a great protagonist. Being inside her head was fun while still giving some insight into the thoughts of someone who is suffering from an anxiety disorder
“I’ve come to think of my lizard brain as basically a version of Felix. It’s totally random and makes no sense and you can’t let it run your life. If we let Felix run our lives, we’d all wear superhero costumes all day long and eat nothing but ice-cream. But if you try to fight Felix, all you get is wails and screams and tantrums, and it all gets more and more stressy. So the thing is to listen to him with half an ear and nod your head and then ignore him and do what you want to do. Same with the lizard brain.”

If you are looking for a novel that teaches you about anxiety disorders this is not it. You will not learn a huge amount, but you will enjoy the ride.

There is a romance in here but fortunately it really takes the backseat. It isn’t a book that tells us that you need a boyfriend/girlfriend to become healthy. Instead, Linus offers his friendship and supports Audrey but he certainly doesn’t solve all her problems.

Another thing I loved about the novel was how well therapy and progress was portrayed. It was a very therapy positive book and I loved how it was made clear that progress isn’t a straight line upwards, but instead you will have setbacks and it is up to you how you want to proceed from there.

I really enjoyed this novel and highly recommend it to everyone. It is a very quick and easy read that will leave you with a smile on your face.
Profile Image for Pavlina Read more sleep less blog  .
2,434 reviews4,575 followers
May 25, 2015
3,5-4 STARS

What a sweet, funny and fast paced story! I loved the Shopaholic series,even thought I have read only the first three books I enjoyed all of them and I was excited to see a new book from her which was so different This is a young adult book where she covers sensitive subjects such as anxiety disorder, addiction with computers and bullying.

This story is about Audrey,a fifteen year old girl suffering from anxiety disorder after an experience of school bullying that has led her to going to therapy. Now she stays at home and interferes with her family and her therapist as she tries to regain her confidence! She will meet her brother's friend Linus a funny boy, who will help her live again.

Audrey the main character is cute and funny!I liked her and I felt sorry for her and what she had been through!There was a little bit of romance in this and it was sweet!I really liked Linus,I loved the messages he wrote with Aubrey they were cute and I like that he helped Audrey to overcome her anxiety.Her family is so unique and funny! I loved their hilarious interactions.

I truly enjoyed this book !I can’t wait to see more books in this genre from Sophie Kinsella!!


Arc provided via Netgalley for an honest review!
Profile Image for Charmel.
179 reviews407 followers
May 11, 2021
"It won’t be forever. You’ll be in the dark for as long as it takes and then you’ll come out."

Finding Audrey is a funny, lighthearted, and predictable YA book by Sophie Kinsella. It follows Audrey, a young girl with social anxiety who always wears dark glasses even inside the house. She doesn't talk to people and she doesn't leave her house. Then, she meets her brother's friend, Linus. As they get to know each other, Audrey starts taking steps into the outside, social world.

First off, the plot sounded so predictable and yes it was. The plot was more centered around Audrey's brother, Frank than Audrey herself. They were always talking about Frank. Frank being obsessed with his computer. Frank playing LOC. Frank who's sleeping late just to play his video game. The parents are mad at Frank. Frank.. Frank.. Frank..

"Well, if you loved me, Frank, you wouldn’t get up at two a.m. behind my back, to play online with people in Korea!"

lmao frank. waking up at 2 am? i relate

Half of this book was Audrey's mom and brother fighting over a video game. Honestly, it was funny and hilarious but as time goes by and their yelling keeps on going, it was annoying. Imagine you're this family's neighbor and everyday you can hear their fights, wouldn't that be a bit irritating?

"You adults. You think teenagers lie. You assume teenagers lie. That’s the starting point. It’s infinitely depressing."

The problem on Audrey's illness was introduced in the middle of the book. She has Social Anxiety Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder and Depressive Episodes. The mental health rep was great and I was glad how things were resolved in the end.

Audrey and I have the same young age, but she already has a boyfriend, and that her boyfriend, Linus, was the one who kinda cured her. Even though this sounded utterly ridiculous, I can't help laughing.

"Are you sleeping well?" Mum peers at him anxiously. "You teenagers need sleep. You should be sleeping fourteen hours a night."
"Fourteen hours?" We both stare at her.
"Mum, even comatose people don’t sleep fourteen hours a night," says Frank.

Overall, this book was funny, light, humorous, and a very quick read. I only liked the mental health rep here and the family dynamics which were somehow honest. 2.25 stars.
Profile Image for emily.
192 reviews501 followers
July 14, 2016
i'm physically crying because i loved this so much. will 100% have a full review up soon
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,728 reviews1,279 followers
May 10, 2015
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Penguin Random House UK Children’s and NetGalley.)

“To put you out of your misery, here’s the full diagnosis. Social Anxiety Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder and Depressive Episodes. Episodes. Like depression is a sitcom with a fun punchline.”

This was a cute story a girl suffering from an anxiety disorder, and her crazy mother!

I liked Audrey in this story and I felt really sorry for her. What she had been through had obviously been traumatic, and being unable to even look at people without panicking was really limiting for her.

“But I think it’s time, Audrey. I think you can do it. Call it project Starbucks.”
Starbucks? Is she kidding?
Tears have started to my eyes. My blood is pulsing in panic. I can’t go to Starbucks. I can’t.

The storyline in this was really funny! Audrey’s mother was quite crazy about the possibility of Audrey’s brother Frank being addicted to video games, and went to ridiculous lengths to try and stop him from playing. I loved Audrey’s take on her mother’s addiction to The Daily Mail, and the way this book made me laugh!

“I’ll do anything. I’ll stack the dishwasher. I’ll phone Grandma every night. I’ll…” He casts about wildly. “I’ll read to deaf people.”

There was a little bit of romance in this, and it was quite sweet! I really liked Linus, and he really helped Audrey to overcome her anxiety.

“Had to give you this before I go.”
For a few moments I don’t dare read it. But at last I open it up and stare at the words inside. My head is prickling all over with disbelief. My breath is jumpy as it read it. He wrote that. He wrote that. To me.
“It’s a kiss.”

The ending to this was pretty good, and I liked that we got a happy ending.
7 out of 10
Profile Image for Lisa Mandina.
1,869 reviews418 followers
June 11, 2015
First thanks to Delacorte Press and Edelweiss for allowing me to read an egalley of this title. But then when an actual ARC showed up at the bookstore where I work, I grabbed it. And I'm glad I did, because I loved this book. Sophie Kinsella's first foray into YA is a huge success in my opinion. Only issues I had were the same ones I have with her adult books, and they're not bad things, just some products or foods that are British, and as an American I had to Google them to make sure they were what I thought they were. But Kinsella has definitely brought her wonderful sense of humor with the characters and the way they interact. Witty dialogue, hilarious parents and the way their teen son deals with them, so realistic, yet hilarious. I was laughing out loud so many times as reading this, in restaurants and the break room at work as well.

You can read the rest of my review at my blog, Lisa Loves Literature on Saturday, June 13th.
Profile Image for Jay.
514 reviews369 followers
June 9, 2015
This was such a fun book! I honestly didn't expect any less from Sophie Kinsella but I was a bit hesitant because of two reasons, one being that this is her first try at writing middle grade books, and another being that I never really enjoy middle grade books. The first reason is that I really hoped Kinsella's humor will translate through such a young protagonist (and oh boy, did it ever!) and the other is that I often find MG characters too immature for my taste, but Kinsella's magic did it again and totally made this book and character relatable, fun, and all with an important message delivered to the readers.

Anxiety disorders are actually more common than what we think. Unfortunately many people aren't aware of the actual clinical term and brush it off as a personality defect. Mental and psychological illnesses are unfortunately treated as a second class citizen in relation to physical illnesses. I really applaud and admire Kinsella for picking such an important topic and simplifying it and relating it to young teens. Audrey went through a traumatic event in her school that caused her to develop severe anxiety. She wears sunglasses at all times and now never leaves the house (she is in the middle of transferring to another school).

The story isn't just Audrey's story, but it is her whole family's story. One thing Kinsella did brilliantly is the family dynamic and relationship. Audrey's older and younger brothers will remind you of your own siblings. Her mother worries constantly and her dad backs her up in the parenting department just to keep the peace. We all have the bad cop good cop labels for our parents right? I just liked how relatable the whole family dynamic was. Also, A Kinsella book isn't one if it isn't laugh out loud funny, which Finding Audrey totally is. Her brother plays an online RPG game that he's preparing with his friends to enter a global tournament.. and that requires countless hours of playing, something that has turned red flags for their mom... and commence the crazy acts, from finding inventive ways to get around the ban from playing, to restoring to the most extreme actions, like his mom throwing a €1,100 laptop out the window to finally get her son's attention (This isn't the spoiler, the book opens up with this exact scene). If I could choose one word to describe Finding Audrey, it would be fun. I can't wait for Sophie Kinsella to venture more into the non adult world (YA book next? please?), as well as more adult books. Basically I will read anything Sophie Kinsella writes. I definitely recommend it to all Sophie Kinsella fans as well as readers who want to try her writing but aren't interested (yet) in her adult books.
Profile Image for Christina.
262 reviews225 followers
February 27, 2016
4 stars!

"We're just looking and looking at each other. And I can feel something new between us, something even more intimate than anything we've ever done. Eye to eye. It's the most powerful connection in the world."

This book just reminds me about how much I love Sophie Kinsella's standalone novel's. This book is about a 14 year old girl named Audrey, who after an unpleasant incident, develops an anxiety disorder. She's stopped going to her school, rarely leaves her house and wears dark glasses as a way to protect herself.

"I know in my rational head that eyes are not frightening. They're tiny little harmless blobs of jelly. They're, like, a minuscule fraction of our whole body area. We all have them. So why should they bother me? But I've had a lot of time to think about this, and if you ask me, most people underestimate eyes. For a start, they're powerful. They have range. You can focus on someone a hundred feet away, through a whole bunch of people, and they know you're you're looking at them. What other bit of human anatomy can do that? It's practically being psychic is what it is. But they're like vortexes too. They're infinite. You look someone straight in the eye and your whole soul can be sucked out in a nanosecond. That's what it feels like. Other people's eyes are limitless and that's what scares me."

She's on medication. She has regular visits with Dr. Sarah, who describes her progress as a graph chart, with a bit of a jagged line...a little up, a little down. As part of her treatment, Dr. Sarah has Audrey start filming a documentary. First just the things around her...then slowly working up to doing interviews, with the theory that maybe eye contact with someone through the camera would be easier. The book switches between dialogue and film transcripts. And it worked really well.
While Audrey was the MC, the book focused not just on her, but on her family and their ups and downs together as well. She has 2 brothers, an older one named Frank and a 4 year old named Felix. I both adored and was very annoyed by Audrey's parents. They made for some hilarious conversation.
Things really start to turn around for Audrey when she begins to have contact with Linus, Frank's friend who begins to come around the house often to play a video game with him. They eventually develop a relationship and Audrey finds that after some initial visits and awkward encounters, she can feel somewhat comfortable with him. She can talk through her fears with him and he gently challenges her to push her boundaries and comfort zone a bit.
I thought that Sophie Kinsella handled both the matter of Audreys disorder and the way people can react to it really well. A lot of people had misconceptions and thought Audrey was crazy because of her disorder, but of course that wasn't the case.

"Here's the full diagnosis : Social Anxiety Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder, and Depressive Episodes. Episodes. Like depression is a sitcom with a fun punch line each time. Or a TV box set loaded with cliffhangers. The only cliffhanger in my life is ' Will I ever get rid of this shit? ' and believe me, it gets pretty monotonous."

The only thing I didn't like was that we never quite found out what happened to Audrey to spark all of this...there are little hints here and there and names mentioned, but no specific details are given, which just leaves you to use your imagination. But still, this is a very cute, but touching book. I really enjoyed going on Audrey's journey with her.

"But I'm sick of this bloody jagged graph," I said in frustration. "You know, two steps up, one step down. It's so painful. It's so slow. It's like this endless game of snakes and ladders."
And mum just looked at me as if she wanted to laugh or maybe cry, and she said, "But, Audrey, that's what life is. We're all on a jagged graph. I know I am. Up a bit, down a bit. That's life."
Profile Image for Daniella.
165 reviews331 followers
February 15, 2016
So this book gives you two main subjects. Anxiety and Video Games. Audrey had anxiety. And her brother Frank (and his friend Linus) were addicted to this one video game. Let me start out by saying that these two concepts are initially extremely well researched. Some of the anxiety lines made me tear up out of accuracy, and Frank's video game obsession mirrored how actual hardcore gamers are. So good on Kinsella right?
Now what I thought this was going to be was a marriage between the two, because the subjects were so involved and set up in the beginning of the novel. I thought Audrey was going to be inevitably dragged into this gaming scenario, which would've been very easy for Kinsella to do. I mean it worked with her anxiety. She wouldn't be getting out of the house and she wouldn't have to take her glasses off. She wouldn't even have to do anything besides play. So I think a storyline where frank needed another gaming teammate would've been easy to integrate.
Backstory: i am a gamer who has anxiety. So no one saw more promise in this than me. I'm absolutely terrified of speaking to strangers through my mic, even people who i've known for years and years. And i've actually never done it in the 10 years i've played WoW (which is very similar to the game in the book).
I feel anxious about a lot of other things too, like making sure I'm as good as my male friends so I don't fall behind. Making sure I'm doing the right mechanics so strangers don't yell at me. Making sure I maintain a "fun" disposition to whoever was typing to me.
So this scenario would be a PERFECT place for Audrey's anxiety because it would show that yes it's a real thing with real symptoms BUT, RPGs are a good place to lessen it. Because in an MMO RPG, everyone's experience is their own, and you can play the game however you want. Here's how ingame-Audrey would've progressed throughout the book:
First step, type to people that you know IRL (Audrey can't send emails in the book or text, so this is a good first step). Second, type to strangers. Third, do a dungeon or match or whatever with a group. Fourth, master it. Fifth, talk to people through the mic once you feel confident with your team and the dungeon. Sixth, lead your own group. Seven: compete professionally (for the game in the book, this seems like the natural final step because it seems like a very tournament-heavy game. Plus Linus and Frank's main goal is to compete in a tournament).
It's all a gradual and realistic situation that, again, blends together the two topics brought up (and well researched) portions of this book: Anxiety and Gaming. PLUS, you could easily introduce a romance into this scenario, especially since it could be done very similar to how Linus and Audrey's romance began in the book.

Yeah Sophie Kinsella didnt do that.

Instead we got one dimensional stereotyped characters, a manic pixie dream boy who changes the girl, jokes that missed their mark SO BAD that it would make you look away, prose that was blatantly written "for YA" (which never works), anxiety being "fixed" by bullshit external ways, an "incident" that was never explained (whether this was because Kinsella didn't actually know herself, was unclear), and a story with no core.
And if you're wondering how the gaming and anxiety connected, it didn't. The two subjects went on their own path until probably the last ten pages of the novel, in which it didnt even matter anymore.

What a dead, disappointing novel. 1.5/5 stars
Profile Image for غيث الحوسني.
248 reviews540 followers
March 3, 2018
لم أجد مراجعة لأي أحد من القرّاء العرب لهذه الرواية التي تصنف ضمن أدب اليافعين برغم تحقيقها شهرة كبيرة في وسط القراء البالغين، فقد صدرت الترجمة العربية في العام الماضي عن دار العربية للعلوم ناشرون بترجمة بسام شيحا
تبدأ الرواية بلغة ساخرة ومضحكة على لسان الشخصية المحورية أودري واصفة مشهد وقوف الأم تيريز عند نافذة غرفة نومها في الطابق العلوي المطلة على الشارع ، وسط صخب وضجيج أُسرتها المؤلفة من زوجها كريس وأولادها فرانك وأودري والصغير فيليكس، لقد قررت رمي كومبيوتر فرانك وتحطيمه، ويبدو أنّ لا عودة ولا رجعة عن قرارها !!

كان فرانك يحب ألعاب الكمبيوتر وتحديداً لعبة أرض الغزاة، يقضي معظم أوقاته عليها، الشيء الذي تعارضه والدته وتحلم بأن يكبر ويهتم بالكتب والفن والطبيعة والمتاحف والحياة المثالية، ولكن فرانك كان عكس ذلك تماما، كان يعتبر لعبة أرض الغزاة هي الحلم، وكان دائما يخبرها بمنتهى الجدية بالمسابقة الدولية لهذه اللعبة والتي تبلغ جائزتها ستة ملايين دولار فهل يستطيع فرانك تحقيق ذلك؟

أما أودري التي لا تنزع من على عينها النظارة الشمسية حتى في وقت المطر والسماء رمادية، تبلغ من العمر 14 عاماً، تعاني من اضطراب القلق ورهاب اجتماعي حاد، إثر صدمة تعرضت لها في المدرسة تضطرها لمغادرتها ولا تكشف عن هذه الحادثة إلا في صفحات الرواية الأخيرة، فقد تسبب لها ذلك بضعف شديد لإجراء اتصال بصري مع الغرباء، وتنتابها موجة رعب كلما حاولت التواصل مع الآخرين، وعلى الرغم من كونها تخضع للعلاج تحت إشراف الطبيبة المختصة سارة إلاَّ أنها لا تحرز سوى تقدم بطيء. ولكن، عندما تجتمع مع لينوس زميل أخيها عن طريق الصدفة في غرفتها مما سبب حالة من الفزع والانتكاسة، إلا أنها تبدأ بالتحدث إليه بعد ذلك عن طريق كتابة الرسائل على قصاصات فتخبره عن مخاوفها، وتتعمّق الصداقة والثقة بينهما لتتطوّر إلى حالة رومانسية.

الرواية هي بمثابة تذكرة دخول غير قانونية إلى عالم اليافعين المثير، المثير بأفكارهم المجنونة وكلماتهم الخاصة وطرق معالجتهم للأشياء وعلاقتهم بمن هم ليسوا من هذا العالم ومغامراتهم الخطرة. هؤلاء اليافعين الذين كانوا ينظرون إلى البالغين بصورة سيئة ومتعالية، ينظرون إليهم باعتبارهم حمقى يمسكون بزمام الأمور، مسؤولون عن كل الأشياء مثل التكنولوجيا في المنزل والرقم السري للواي فاي وقضاء الوقت على الحواسيب وغير ذلك، هؤلاء الحمقى البالغين عندما يطرأ عطل ما على الكمبيوتر يبدأون بالسؤال عن وثائقهم وصورهم كالأطفال بالصراخ والضجر!

أحببت هذه الرواية على بساطتها ووقفت عند كثير من الأحداث ضاحكا بصوت مرتفع
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