“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.” – Goodreads.
Audrey is suffering from a severe anxiety disorder, she cannot make eye contact with anyone other than her four year-old brother and she cannot speak or hardly be in the same room as anyone other than the close circle of people she considers safe i.e. her family and her therapist. This novel tracks Audrey’s recovery process as she takes on new challenges to kick her anxiety to the curb with the help of her new friend Linus.
The key characters in this novel are Audrey, Mark, Anne, Frank, Felix, Linus and Dr Sarah.
Audrey as a character really worked for me, I felt for her, I related to her thoughts, feelings and actions and felt that she was a very real character. The only area of her that I felt may have been a little off was her snowball recovery. It may be accurate in some (rare) cases but her recovery did feel very idealised, not that I’m complaining – this is a novel and I understand that sometimes things need to be written in a certain way to keep things interesting. I do however think it is important to be aware going into this book that most anxiety recoveries (especially from an illness as severe as Audrey’s) are not usually as speedy and flowing as this.
Linus as a character I liked very much. Possibly my favourite part of the novel was him understanding Audrey’s need for space enough to simply write notes back and forth instead of forcing her to talk. I thought this was a very generous act and if more people in day to day life were as understanding it could make a lot of people’s lives that little bit easier.
Lending itself to themes such as mental illness, teenage drama and family issues; Kinsella’s depiction of anxiety, panic attacks and overwhelming thoughts feels as accurate and relatable as it gets. Every time a moment of anxiety was described I felt myself thinking, “YES! That’s exactly it!” I couldn’t have put the thoughts and feelings of an anxious mind into better words if I had tried.
I definitely found this book hard to put down, I started reading it Monday afternoon sat on the grass at Fourteen Locks, and I finished it at 12:30pm on Tuesday. I always wanted to know what was going to happen next, and what progress Audrey was going to make next, what would happen with Linus, Frank and everyone else. I definitely found it to be a page-turner and it was written well enough that even though the main character is a 14 year-old girl, the book never felt childish.
I could have done with a little more information as to what caused Audrey’s anxiety, but I came to understand that this novel is very much about the past being irrelevant and the present being important. So this missing puzzle piece could be overlooked on this occasion.
Something unique about this book was the short movie transcript excerpts that were littered throughout. I did like them as they related well to the story and was an inventive way of showing Audrey’s documentary project. However, sometimes during these moments I found myself wanting a little more information than the style of writing could allow, such as Audrey’s thoughts and feelings in that moment. I think I would have enjoyed the book with or without the small changes in style.
If you are a sufferer of anxiety who wishes to better inform those around you of what you are going through – give them this book. Obviously one novel cannot describe every in, out, up, down, inside and out of anxiety disorders. But it is a damn good start.
However, tell them to take it with a pinch of salt. The novel is very good descriptively, but the main character makes huge strides in a very small space of time and by the end she is basically cured. This is not accurate for most people. For novel purposes I understand why it was done, but remind your loved ones that in reality anxiety is not as easy to cure as a few trips to Starbucks and a new bae.
So yes, if you have anxiety and want to inform others or if you know someone with anxiety and want to better educate yourself, I highly recommend this novel. To be honest whoever you are Finding Audrey, in my opinion, is well worth the read.
Hardback | 286 pages
Goodreads rating: 3.83 Published: 09/06/2015 | Delacorte Books for Young Readers
My rating: 4.5