Published by Delacorte Press on June 9, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Illness, YA
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shopaholic series comes a terrific blend of comedy, romance, and psychological recovery in a contemporary YA novel sure to inspire and entertain.
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.
Finding Audrey is a book I knew I’d have a hard time reviewing. But here we go anyways.
I really enjoyed Kinsella’s take on mental illness…Okay, that sentence sounded bad. I like how she presented it in a way that someone without anxiety can understand. I didn’t realize until I finished this book how little I actually knew about severe anxiety and mental illness. How it takes over yourself. It’s more than just making yourself smile until your happy. It’s your chemical make-up, how you react to crises in your life. Kinsella presents this topic in a light way, though. This is not a book that’s going to make you feel sad and depressed about how hard it must be. It’s a book that will show you how hard it is but also show you that there is hope. There’s that light at the end of the tunnel. Though someone suffering from anxiety may feel like there’s not, they can move forward and progress, despite perhaps having some bumpy setbacks on the way.
Along those lines, Kinsella teaches that it’s okay not to always be on a straight path upwards in your progression. In fact, it’s necessary. It’s impossible to keep moving forward, forward, forward, with no glances back, without eventually falling further than ever. Minor setbacks are okay and they happen. You just need to learn from them and then stand up, brush yourself off, and get moving again. And this is a moral that anyone, suffering from a mental illness or not, can understand.
What drove me crazy, though, are the parents. They’re the reason it’s hard for me to rate this book. I hated them. The mom drove me up the wall. Like this car drove up a wall, Audrey’s parents drove me up one too. When you watch that car go up, imagine me in the backseat with Audrey’s parents driving up, up, up. Except I never came back down.
They just are the stereotypical YA parents. The mom is supremely overprotective and rage-y while the dad is laidback and doesn’t really notice when things are going on. And while Audrey was struggling, her brother was also struggling and no one seemed to notice. And that never got addressed satisfactorily.
But overall, this book is good and I think it’s important that youth read it. It’s not too heavy but it teaches us about the people around us. How their minds work. How we should react to people suffering from mental illnesses. One quote struck me in this way:
‘But you thought I was a bipolar homicidal maniac.’
‘I don’t even know what bipolar means,’ admits Natalie. ‘I mean, it’s just one of those words.’
“Just one of those words.” How true is that? If you don’t have the illness or are not affected by it in someway, it’s just one of those words you don’t really understand and don’t take the time to try to understand. We need to stand up and be sympathetic. Don’t assume things. Ask questions, take the time to learn. That message is powerful.