Published: June 9th 2015 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Length: 288 pages
Where I got it: Library!
Why I got it: I wanted to join the BOOKSPLOSION Liveshow that you can watch here you want.
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
When I read the blurb of this book, I wasn’t too keen. I didn’t trust the author to handle the topic of severe anxiety and depression well and that’s something that’s incredibly important for me when I read a book like this. There is still so much stigma surrounding mental illness and so it’s extremely important to get the facts right and present it as you would with any other illness. From the summary on Goodreads, I was immediately turned off. There was definitely too much emphasis put on Linus being the reason for her Audrey’s and it just doesn’t work like that. I don’t want teenage girls thinking that depression can be cured with a boyfriend! I want teenage girls to realise mental illness is a huge problem and a single person entering your life will not change that. Fortunately, Sophine Kinsella and I were on the same page here.
Audrey is a 14-year-old that has been pulled out from school after a traumatic event and is living with a severe anxiety disorder and depressive episodes. I repeat: she is 14 years of age. That’s a fact I kept forgetting. Naturally, mental illness and trying to recover from it would make her sound more mature but every time I remembered her age my heart went out to her. She’s only 14! She shouldn’t be dealing with this! As a character and the narrator of the story, I really enjoyed her voice and personality. When she was making progress, her happiness was so infectious I couldn’t help but be giddy and grin with her. I definitely felt like I was attached to her so I spent the majority of the book afraid for her because I thought she would have an attack and that kind of attachment between Audrey and the reader was one of the many beautiful things about this book.
However, this book also made me frustrated. Less so the book and more some comments that were made by the characters, especially at the beginning of the story. I felt like some remarks towards Audrey or about Audrey’s condition were just a bit ignorant. One character told her to “tell yourself to snap out of it” while another put pressure on her to not “freak out” because it would be bad for them/how they look to others. It was ridiculous. At the same time, though, I’m glad those things were said, for the sake of the story. Those characters did end up supporting Audrey in their different ways as the story progressed. When telling a story about mental illness, it would be unrealistic to not present the people that dismiss it or know nothing about it and I think Sophie Kinsella did it just fine.
If you didn’t know, Sophie Kinsella is actually the author of the Shopoholic series, so as you can probably imagine the writing light and easy to get into. Not to mention the whole book was hilarious! This is a story about depression (and anxiety) that’s in no way depressive and I believe books like that will change those serious, heavy topics that everyone would rather avoid into topics that can be talked about and discussed by the teens all over the world.