Finding Audrey

Sophie Kinsella (Confessions of a Shopaholic) successfully translates her trademark humor into a warm and thoughtful YA novel dealing with mental illness.

Audrey has been traumatized as the victim of bullying and been taken out of school. The book opens months after her recovery has begun; she still has to wear sunglasses in her home because she can't make eye contact with anyone. Her brother Frank, an online gaming enthusiast, only seems to care for himself, and her baby brother, Felix, is her sole source of comfort. When Linus, one of Frank's gaming buddies, comes to the house, Audrey is at first terrified, but they slowly develop a friendship. Linus is incredibly patient with Audrey, and their friendship blooms into romance.

Often funny, but also sensitive and insightful, Kinsella wisely chooses not to examine the episodes of bullying, but focuses instead on the repercussions and Audrey's slow and painful recovery. The author is most successful when examining Audrey's interior monologue, and demonstrating the fear that paralyzes Audrey in every social circumstance. But she also has created likable and credible characters in Audrey's circle: from Frank, the typical gaming slacker who shows extraordinary sensitivity to his sister when she needs it most, to Audrey's credible and sensitive therapist, and her mom, the wacky neurotic obsessed with the Daily Mail, who has sacrificed much to help Audrey recover.

Kinsella proves that YA is a natural transition for her, and that she can handle weighty and complex themes. --Nan Shipley, literary scout

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