Author: Sophie Kinsella
Published by: Doubleday Children's on 4th June 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mental Heath
Source: Publisher, NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Wordery | Hive | Kindle
Audrey can't leave the house. She can't even take off her dark glasses inside the house.
The 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 the real world seems achievable.
This was my first Sophie Kinsella novel.
Nearly everyone I knew who had read this book, absolutely loved it. A LOT of people loved it. A YA book solely focusing on social anxiety? YES. BRILLIANT. SIGN ME UP.
So how did I end up in between loving it and wanting to rip the hairs out from my head? I'll explain.
Finding Audrey started off quite well. It was a standard run-of-the-mill contemporary opening with a curious element as we are briefly informed something happened to Audrey in her past and she doesn't want to talk about it. The book was funny - no, it was HILARIOUS. I instantly took a liking to Frank - Audrey's brother - because let's face it, sarcasm and gamer are two traits that most people have and are traits that I like. We all know someone like Frank, or we are a Frank. I could relate to him in more ways than one. This was no doubt, a quirky and fast read and I almost wished it wasn't. Fast, I mean.
Audrey is suffering from high levels of social anxiety after, what I assume, she was bullied or physically attacked by a group of girls at her former school. This was mildly excruciating because we never actually get to know what happened to her, so I wouldn't know how traumatizing it must have been. She wears sunglasses both indoors and outdoors, avoids eye contact and the outdoors. She's even anxious around her family, save for her little toddler brother, Felix. It was going great, I was beginning to understand just how trapped and hopeless she felt and how difficult it is to treat anxiety because there is no medication that can make it go away instantly. Sadly.
But then the second half of the book just went downhill for me. Quite literally. You know when you go down the stars and it's much quicker than going up? Yeah. It was like that. The story just zoomed by and jumped from scene to scene which made the whole Audrey recovering thing go awry. It just happened way too fast for me to actually believe she got better. We're told the event that caused her illness was huge and affected her in a bad way, I actually thought we'd never get to see her recover fully and that was a good thing.
The Audrey/Linus relationship was cute and fluffy. I won't lie, I enjoyed that quite a bit so it's definitely a positive! It was like reading Violet and Finch's story all over again in a way, without the angst and pain. Obviously. Niven is a heartbreaker. I guess the highlight of the book was Frank. His character was just so enjoyable and entertaining. I love how despite knowing Audrey's illness, he doesn't tiptoe around her and baby her, instead treating her like any other person. He's just cautious not to set off her anxiety when he has people round. Considerate Frank.
All in all, I really did enjoy it, just not as much as I hoped I would. There were just a few disappointments but the humour and romantic fluff was worth it. Some good character development and it was good to see the impacts anxiety can have on a person's life. I'd still recommend this to everyone.