Finding Audrey, by Sophie Kinsella
Finding Audrey doesn't come out until early June, but I managed to get my hands on an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy). Here's what I thought:
As A Reader: I couldn't put it down. I was instantly taken with Audrey, who narrates the book in the 1st person. It was fascinating to be inside her brain and get a glimpse into the world of someone crippled by social anxiety. Watching her struggle to get well was instructive and touching. A sweet friendship/romance with a boy emerges, and the relationship between them was one of the highlights of the book for me. I would highly recommend this book to late middle grade or early YA readers. Keep your eye out for this one when it comes out in June.
As A Mom: The book touched me on many levels, and scared me a little bit too. I could relate to the mom in this book, and that's not a good thing. While her intentions are good (she's obsessed with her children's wellbeing,) her obsession blinds her to really seeing her children and leaves them feeling alienated from her. Her character was extreme, and my daughter (who read it too) reassures me "I'm not as bad as her," (thank god!!!) but still, it was instructive and made me think.
As A Writer: There were so many things to admire and learn from in this book. I loved the voice she created for Audrey. It felt so relatable and authentic. I also loved the use of the documentary screenplay device (sprinkled occasionally between "regular" chapters), which gave us another view of the family, and gave the text a contemporary feel. It also allowed us to see through the eyes of a different character at a critical moment in the story, revealing important details we could not otherwise know from the primarily 1st person narration she uses throughout the rest of the book. I also loved how she handled the withholding about the events that led to Audrey's illness. Audrey refuses to tell us exactly what happened as the opening unfolds, and that left me curious and wanting to find out more. My journey as a reader being curious about this event led to realizations that mirrored the learning Audrey has as the book progressed. I love how this was done in such a beautiful, subtle way. Loved it. Thank you, Sophie Kinsella!
My Daughter's Perspective: She really liked it, and zoomed through it in about a day and a half (thanks to an up-too-late reading session.) Her favorite part was the relationship between Audrey and Linus, which was just so cute, funny and sweet.